International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

Anthropologist and Africanist ethnologist Michel Izard (1931-2012) occupied an eminent place in French anthropology in the years 1975-1990. From 1957, for some twenty years, he conducted ethnographic and historical surveys among the Moose (Mossi) of Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso). He is the author of books on the political and historical anthropology of this region of Africa which inspired the new generation of French Africanists in the last quarter of the twentieth century: Gens du pouvoir, gens de la terre. Les institutions politiques de l’ancien royaume du Yatenga (Bassin de la Haute-Volta Blanche) (1985); Le Yatenga précolonial. Un ancien royaume du Burkina (1985); L’Odyssée du pouvoir. Un royaume africain: État, société, destin individuel (1992); Moogo. L’émergence d’un espace étatique ouest-africain au XVIe siècle. Étude d’anthropologie historique (2003). A founding member of the Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale directed by Claude Lévi-Strauss, he led a seminar, ’Comparative Social Anthropology’, which was a high point of exchange for this generation of anthropologists.

Keywords: History | Political anthropology | Ethnohistory | French Ethnology | Structuralism | Historical Anthropology | Africanism | Colonialism | French colonialism | Second half of the 20th century | Burkina Faso | Mossi | Initiation rituals | Power | Colonial situation | Ritual

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