EASA2014: Collaboration, Intimacy & Revolution


Topics in the social history of anthropology, in Europe and elsewhere (Europeanist Network)

Location S-233
Date and Start Time 01 August, 2014 at 09:00


David Shankland (Royal Anthropological Institute) email
Andrés Barrera-González (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) email
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Short Abstract

This panel invites papers on a wide range of topics, authors and institutions relevant to the history of anthropology; including topics in the field of visual anthropology. The papers should preferably derive from studies and research carried out within a sociology and history of science framework.

Long Abstract

Although there are a number of authors, like Henrika Kuklick and Thomas Patterson, who have contributed significantly to a history of anthropology which is situated within the framework of the sociology and history of science, there is still a long way to go in this regard. Besides, a more comprehensive account of the discipline's development is called for; which would reach beyond the more prominent figures in the field, associated with the central and hegemonic schools. Moreover, means and tools for doing anthropology other than the textual should be taken into account. Thus contributions to the advancement of anthropological knowledge made by the use of unconventional means such as ethnographic film or photography are worth considering.

This panel makes an invitation to present and discuss studies on topics in all relevant dimensions of a comprehensive history of anthropology. Papers are welcome which deal with authors, institutions and national traditions in theory and practice the importance of which may have been neglected or downplayed, because of its peripheral character or due to its belonging outside the academic boundaries of the profession; studies about a wider range of practitioners of ethnography and anthropology, which incorporate a sociological or philosophical point of view by situating theory and practice in their particular spatial, social and political contexts.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Conquest and conversion of the Indians: colonial regimes and missionary practice in 16th century New Spain

Author: Andrés Barrera-González (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)  email

Short Abstract

The paper will examine the principles and methodologies Spanish missionaries put to work in pursuing the conversion of the Indians in New Spain. In parallel, it will consider the theological debates triggered by the discovery of such a diversity of peoples and mores.

Long Abstract

Among the Franciscan friars who were sent to Mexico immediately after the fall of Tenochtitlan, summoned by Cortés yet under the direct authority of the Pope, there were a number of extraordinary individuals: Andrés de Olmos, Francisco de Toral, Toribio de Benavente 'Motolinea', Bernardino de Sahagún. In their zeal and dedication to the conversion of the Indians of Mexico, they learned their languages, compiled the first vocabularies and grammars of Nahuatl and other local languages. With the invaluable help of the Aztec elite's children educated in their colleges, they produced detailed descriptions of their cultures, wrote the first histories of the pre-hispanic peoples and civilizations in the region. They were true pioneers in what today would be called ethno-linguistics, ethno-history, ethnography through fieldwork and native informants!

There are on the other hand the theological, doctrinal and moral debates conducted by leading figures such as Francisco de Vitoria, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, and the renowned Bartolomé de las Casas. In some important aspects these verge upon contemporary debates and theory building within ethnology, or indeed socio-cultural anthropology, as the historian Anthony Pagden (1982) avows in his thoroughly researched study.

In revisiting such an extraordinary 'ethnographic-ethnological occasion' (Pels and Salemink 1999), in the context of colonial New Spain, I will examine the complex interplay between the diverse agents, forces and factors that impinge in this particular socio-political and historical arena: Crown, Church, Conquistadores, Missionaries, the Indians. The theologians back in Salamanca, the officials of the Inquisition brought in the colonies.

From colonial times to the present: understanding the Criollo identity of the bullfighting aficionado of Lima, Peru

Author: Regina Andreassen (James Cook University)  email

Short Abstract

This paper analyses the history of the Spanish style of bullfighting in Lima, Peru, especially bullfights performed in the plaza de Acho of Lima. This paper also examines bullfighting’s role as a valuable tradition, as social unifier, and also as one of the greatest symbols of Peruvian Criollismo.

Long Abstract

The capital of Peru, Lima, was founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, historians affirm Lima's foundation was celebrated with a bullfight. Lima's culture is deeply grounded in old Spanish customs and values, and on European and Mestizo aesthetics.

Initially bullfights or corridas de toros were performed to commemorate special events such as viceroys' appointments, religious festivities, and national celebrations. Later, in the 18 century, when the Plaza de Acho of Lima was built, bullfights became even more popular, and even though the Limeña society was -and still is- elitist, corridas in Acho attracted a very heterogeneous crowd. In Lima, bullfights have a particular atmosphere, for they show a fusion of Peruvian and Spanish elements that make the bullfighting Feria of Lima very unique. In 1946 the famous Feria del Señor de los Milagros was created, this feria is celebrated every year and now is considered one of the most important bullfighting ferias in the world.

Taking this into account, this paper explores the socio-historical processes that shaped and strengthened the role of tauromachy in Lima and its relation to the Criollo identity. It should be noted that since most papers written about Peruvian society focus on indigenous communities, there is not much research on Criollismo and Criollo practices, thus my research draws on my own ethnographic work, and on the works of Peruvian intellectuals, historians, aficionados, painters and other artists, who carefully recorded their experiences and who initially established the relationship between corridas de toros and Criollismo.

Stories of the anthropology in Portugal: the case of the Portuguese Society of Anthropology and Ethnology (SPAE [1918])

Author: Patrícia Ferraz de Matos (Universidade de Lisboa)  email

Short Abstract

This presentation focuses on the creation of SPAE (1918) and the way it sought to deal with the study of Man in different dimensions. SPAE promoted partnerships, and also the exchange of works with schools and institutions, having developed efforts towards the internationalization of knowledge.

Long Abstract

This presentation aims at reflecting on the creation of SPAE (1918) and the way this organisation has sought to deal with the study of Man in different dimensions (biological and sociocultural). SPAE was born following the steps of other scientific societies created in Europe and the USA that gathered specialists with common interests. The dynamism of the people that brought it to the light of day allowed it to turn into a privileged space for scientific debate. One of its main goals was the struggle for Anthropology to be recognised as an university discipline and its institutionalization in the faculties of Sciences and Medicine, although some of its topics might also be taught in the faculties of Humanities.

SPAE has offered its cooperation in the organization of several initiatives, such as the creation of an International Institute of Anthropology, idealized by the Paris School of Anthropology. It promoted several partnerships, on a national and international level, besides the exchange of journals and works with several schools and institutions, partly abroad. The edition of its periodical (Trabalhos de Antropologia e Etnologia) reveals the broad nature of the topics it dealt with, as well as the diversity of the contexts reviewed and the diversity of methods used. SPAE, which helped creating the then future Porto School of Anthropology, perseveres even today and possesses a valuable estate of precious scientific journals from all-over the world, as a consequence of its exchanges and its efforts towards promoting the internationalization of scientific knowledge.

Monsanto, pride of Portugal

Author: Stanley Brandes (University of California, Berkeley)  email

Short Abstract

This paper concerns a contest, initiated in 1938, to select ‘the most Portuguese village in Portugal.’ More than the search for a single winner, the contest—in which ethnologists collaborated closely with the Salazar regime--was essentially a Portuguese response to the threat of Spanish invasion.

Long Abstract

This paper concerns a contest, initiated in 1938 under the Portuguese regime of António de Salazar, to select 'the most Portuguese village in Portugal.' The winning village would be presented with a 'Galo de Prata' [Silver Rooster], a prize by which the contest became known. The paper describes the rules and organization of the Galo de Prata contest—mainly focused on a search for the purest Portuguese cultural and architectural features--and questions the essential validity and feasible application of contest guidelines. It also shows the close collaboration between professional ethnologists and musicologists, on the one hand, and the fascist government of the day, on the other. Unlike earlier academic studies, this analysis places the Galo de Prata contest within the context of the turbulent international affairs of the late 1930s. The contest, which ended with the selection of Monsanto of Beira Baixa, was largely an attempt on the part of the Salazar regime to define and assert sovereignty over its territories, in reaction to the imminent threat of a Spanish invasion. Rather than the selection of a single triumphant village, it was the nearly year long, much celebrated search for the most Portuguese village in Portugal, chronicled in detail in the popular press, that enabled the government to achieve its nationalistic goals.

Life courses of Israeli anthropologies: motives, anthropological knowledge and nation building

Author: Orit Abuhav (Beit berl College)  email

Short Abstract

Life courses of contemporary Israeli anthropologists yield a dynamic portrait of production of anthropological knowledge and its involvement in nation building. Of their voices we learn of diverse metaphors to present their professional careers: "Nomads", "curious" and "Committed".

Long Abstract

This presentation is about life courses of the careers of Israeli anthropologists: Their identities, motives, drives, choices, values and their perceptions of the disciplinary identity. The interviews yield a dynamic portrait of the acquisition, production, and ongoing modification of anthropological knowledge. Through them, we learn of diverse understandings among Israeli anthropologists at the individual and institutional levels, and of continuous evolution in response to changes in the discipline and within Israeli society.

Analyzing the anthropologists' voices, those are the metaphors and images that emerged from the life courses of the anthropologists: The anthropologist as "immigrant", in the sense of a nomadic, marginal sojourning in a multicultural society; the anthropologist as "committed", in the sense of engagement, identification with the other people, and social reform; the anthropologist as one who is "curious" about the other cultures.

Thus emerged a generally argument that ties together the personal stories of anthropologist, with a macroscopic view that looks at the place of anthropologist in the processes of nation building in Israeli society, and later at the development and shaping of Israeli society after the establishment of the state.

The roots of international co-operation in anthropology; Myres, the RAI and the founding of the IUAES

Author: David Shankland (Royal Anthropological Institute)  email

Short Abstract

This paper outlines for the first time the founding of the Congress which led to the creation of the IUAES. Drawing on archival material, it illustrates the conflicts, tensions and approaches of the various European and North American actors.

Long Abstract

In 1934, the Royal Anthropological Institute organised the largest gathering of anthropologists that had, until that time, taken place. Known as the International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, it was intended to become a permanent structure through which scholarly agreements within anthropology could be made, and of course, disagreements resolved. Put in place by John Myres, the President of the Institute, it appeared to run entirely smoothly, as the many letters of thanks in the archive attest. However, there was significant controversy within the congress, largely surrounding the question of race, which although already part of the intellectual thought of the time, was brought sharply into question by the strong presence of a German delegation. At its head was Fischer, the German biological anthropologist, who was to become a leading supporter of the Nazi Party. Equally, though all went well on the day, putting together the Congress had taken more than two decades of international dispute, dispute in which rising European nationalism played a significant part. How the RAI steered its way through this troubled time, and how Myres - aided greatly by Miss Tildesley - managed to hold the Congress at all, forms the subject of this paper. It concludes by asking to what extent the Congress - which eventually became the IUAES - met its goals.

Continuities and ruptures in the history of anthropology in western Germany (1945-1990): a path-dependency perspective

Author: Bernhard Martin (University Halle-Wittenberg)  email

Short Abstract

In a path-dependency perspective the long continuity and stagnation until the late 1960s of western German anthropology can be interpretated as path-continuity and lock-in situation. Strategic action of reformers (path creation) provoked the reform of the discipline.

Long Abstract

The history of anthropology in western Germany is characterized by a first long phase of continuity, but in which it lost the contact to the international evolutions of the discipline, and a second phase, beginning in the 1970s, of renewal of university teachers and an opening for international theoretical discussions.

The paper aims to analyze this splitted evolution by using path theoretical concepts. In this perspective the first phase can be seen as path continuity, i.e. the widely unchanged continuation of the existing development path of the discipline, increasingly degenerating during the 1960s into a lock-in situation, i.e. a critical contraction of the development path. In the first part of the paper will analyze - according to the path dependency concept - the immanent self-reinforcing mechanisms and power structures of the path.

In this theoretical perspective the transition from the first to the second phase can be understood as a path rupture realized by strategically acting agents, espacially students and young scientifistics, who became aware of the self-reinforcing mechanism and power structures of the existing paths and developed strategies to overcome them. At the same time it is important to stress the resistance of advocates of the existing path and the long-lasting persistence of existing structures. The beginning of second phase can be interpretated as path creation, i.e. the conscious creation of a new development path by strategically acting agents. The second phase itself can be seen as path plasticy, i.e. an established path that is nevertheless open for innovations and experiments.

Post-war Polish ethnology and anthropology: from non-Marxist orthodoxy to post-socialist pluralism

Author: Michal Buchowski (Adam Mickiewicz University)  email

Short Abstract

Under communist regime Polish ethnology was definitely non-Marxist, In the period of 'late socialism', various theoretical orientations developed, and pluralism intensified after 1989. All these changes are discussed in relation to socio-political determinants and intra-disciplinary dynamics.

Long Abstract

Post-war Polish ethnography/ethnology, as the discipline was called until 1980s, underwent a complex intellectual trajectory. Its actual practice differed from stereotypical Western images about social sciences under communism. In the first period, ethnography was definitely non-Marxist. It did not have anything in common with dialectical materialism as a normative theoretical explanation. In the 1970s and 1980s, in reaction to the naïve realism and empiricism of ethnography, ethnologists began to search for methods of interpretation and of theories going beyond those positivist schemata. By the end of the 1980s, Polish anthropology formed a self-conscious discipline representing various theoretical orientations. In terms of disciplinary origin and academic affiliation, it was comprised of two major pillars, ethnological and sociological. The increasing pluralism of Polish anthropology since mid-1970s intensified after 1989. Changes in the discipline are seen in the socio-political contexts, in relation to social and economic changes in the region, and more recently as a function of the global flow of anthropological ideas. The diversification of paradigms leads to an intellectual entropy and a creation of certain discursive monads. The paper attempts to find a unity and common denominators in diversity.

Towards a sociological history of recent anthropology: Gerd Baumann, EASA and Catalan nationalism

Author: Damian-Omar Martinez (University of Tuebingen)  email

Short Abstract

Following a case study on the emergence of Baumann’s ‘Grammars of Identity/Alterity’, this paper aims to shed light on the role of institutions and academic networks in the development of intellectual productions. It also envisages debating the suitability of researching contemporary anthropology

Long Abstract

The social sciences in general -and sociocultural anthropology in particular- seem to receive little or no attention in the history and sociology of science. In addition, recent theoretical developments in anthropology (and the social and institutional contexts where they take place) are rarely analyzed within the little historical research made about the field. I believe, nevertheless, that it is both possible and desirable to construct a historical-sociological narrative of contemporary anthropology.

Following that assumption, and framed within a sociology of academic networks, this paper aims to investigate a very recent chapter of the history of contemporary anthropology. It envisages showing how one author [Gerd Baumann] developed a research hypothesis [the 'grammars of identity/alterity'] through one transnational institution [EASA] after confronting with a process of boundary creation in Catalonia. Theoretically, this contribution to the panel aims to shed light on the role of institutions, academic networks and intellectual biographies in the development of intellectual productions. I also would like to contribute to a methodological debate with the colleagues about the suitability of researching recent theories and events in the history of anthropology.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.