Focusing on the interconnections between geographical and social mobility, academic policy, forms of family and the gendered division of work, this panel examines the careers of early anthropologists — above all women — who were on the move in order to professionalize.
Almost a century ago, particularly during the interwar period, many young intellectuals moved to those academic centers, in both Europe and North America, where modern anthropology was growing. They were generally young men, but increasingly also women. They not only left home to study and professionalize, but also travelled to take part in scientific expeditions or to carry out intensive fieldwork. Moving became the condition of their profession and career. In search of academic positions, some of them went from one institute to another living in different countries, others returned home to advance the new discipline. Finally, many had to flee because of the Nazi-Fascist persecutions and the war. For many of these early anthropologists, travelling and continuing their career was not easy, especially for women and for young students from the colonies and peripheral regions. What conditions and relations did (or did not) help them to move, stay, settle, and move again? What networks of academics, sponsors and institutions made their professional travels and their careers possible or impossible? What was the actual role of their colleagues, collaborators, informants, friends and partners who supported them in fieldwork or at home? This panel aims to discuss the interconnections between academic policy, geographic and social mobility, forms of family and gendered division of work in the early anthropologists' careers. Papers are welcome that focus on both individual trajectories and collective networks, according to different methodological approaches and diverse theoretical and historical perspectives.