Accepted Paper:

Once again about the native anthropology: the case of "Descriptio Moldaviae", by Dimitrie Cantemir (1716)   

Author:

Gheorghita Geana (Academia Romana)

Paper short abstract:

In 1716, as a work of reception in the Academy of Berlin, Dimitrie Cantemir published "Descriptio Moldaviae" (orig. in Latin). This was a genuine ethnographic monograph for the achievement of which the author was invested just as a native (and ex-voivode) of that country.

Paper long abstract:

A few decades ago, one of the most epistemologically interesting themes in the anthropological debates was the distinction "we / the others". In those circumstances, some authoritative voices asserted that the specific of the anthropological science consists in the study of "other cultures". Accused for the lack of objective distancing, the so called "native (or at home) anthropology" was placed under the cone of tolerance. In the present paper, a historical counter-example is pointed out in which such a mistrust appears as fallacious. In 1716, as a work of reception in the Academy of Berlin, the Moldavian prince Dimitrie Cantemir published "Descriptio Moldaviae" (orig. in Latin). Before any disciplinary denomination being invented, this writing was a genuine ethnographic monograph for the achievement of which the erudite author was invested by the Berlin Academy just on behalf of his status of native (and ex-voivode) of that country. And, to his praise, Cantemir asserts that he describes in his work not only the good customs, but also the vices of his compatriots. As a matter of fact, by this way he anticipated the phenomenological "epoché".

Panel P060
Themes in the history of anthropology and ethnology in Europe [Europeanist network]