International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

Karl Edvard Laman (1867-1944) belonged to the first generation of Swedish missionaries who established themselves in the independent state of Congo in 1881. He stayed there for more than a quarter of a century, from 1891 to 1919. Laman gradually asserted himself as a great scholar, linguist and connoisseur of Kongo culture, which he documented, including its material expressions, at a time when its foundations were breaking up under the shocks of the colonial enterprise. His scientific work was coupled with a humanist project: the emancipation of the population through popular education, the two vectors of which for him were access to the Bible in the Kikongo language (its translation appeared in 1905) and the promotion of Kongo cultural values. This enhancement of the Kongo language and culture is the basis of his scholarly activity.

Keywords: Linguistics | Missionary | Ethnographic photography | Translation | Colonialism | Missiology | Last quarter of the 19th century | First quarter of the 20th century | Belgian Congo/Democratic Republic of the Congo | Kikongo | Kongo | Material culture | Colonial situation | Missionary Anthropology | Dictionary

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