Harvesting the archive: historical explorations of early 20th century physical anthropology in Greece
(The Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology)
Paper short abstract:
The paper reflects on the multiple dimensions of the archive's importance in writing anthropological history by engaging with earlier accounts of the history of physical anthropology in Greece.
Paper long abstract:
The encounter with the archive affects our historical knowledge, our ways of seeing people and institutions, our understanding of our practices and selves, and the archive itself. This paper reflects on the importance of the archive in writing the history of anthropology. By engaging with several earlier histories of physical anthropology in Greece, the emphasis is on the nuances and reappraisals facilitated by archival work from a history of science perspective. The case study allows us to appreciate how historical analysis reveals early 20th century physical anthropology in Greece as a field moving from French to German traditions, while trying to establish its own institutional and intellectual space. But the paper also considers the affective dimensions of harvesting the archive. The emphasis here is on how the historian becomes enchanted by the archive and its custodians, historical and contemporary. Finally, it addresses the kinds of commitments generated by leaving the archive behind in a state of precarity by inverting the lenses and looking at the writers of anthropology's history as people in motion.
Writing the history of anthropology in a global era [History of Anthropology Network]