Accepted Paper:

has pdf download "Three long rows of empty shelves…": Curt Nimuendajú as collector and researcher for the Ethnological Museums of Hamburg, Leipzig and Dresden  

Author:

Peter Schröder (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco)

Paper short abstract:

This paper is about the influences of German ethnology on the academic environment of a pre-institutionalized anthropology in Brazil, exemplified by a current research project about the relations of the Brazilian anthropologist Curt Nimuendajú with German Museums in the 1930ies.

Paper long abstract:

In 1928/29 and 1930, the Brazilian anthropologist of German origin Curt Nimuendajú (1883-1945) was twice contracted by German ethnological institutions (above all, museums) for organizing ethnographical collections and carrying out anthropological research among indigenous, principally Gê speaking, peoples in various regions of today's Maranhão and Tocantins states in Brazil. This is not only a less-known part of Nimuendajú's biography, but also an example of a kind of academic cooperation difficult to imagine nowadays. The collections arranged, partly destroyed during World War II, are still deposited in the ethnological museums of Hamburg, Leipzig and Dresden along with a great number of letters and other documents linked up with them, but were only published in part. Besides the collection of ethnographic objects, Nimuendajú's field work activities rendered points of departure for several ethnographic texts about Gê speaking peoples, which not only became classics of Americanist ethnology, but also indispensable references for the study of social organization in Lowland South America. This paper is about some results of a current research project regarding Nimuendajú's relations with German Museums in the 1930ies mainly based on unpublished material. It reveals influences of German ethnology on the academic environment of a pre-institutionalized anthropology in Brazil, which later became increasingly independent of foreign, especially German, inputs.

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