EASA2018: Staying, Moving, Settling

(P049)
The role of learned societies and associations in the creation and building of European anthropology [History of Anthropology Network]
Location
Date and Start Time [TBD] at [TBD]
Sessions 2

Convenors

  • David Shankland (Royal Anthropological Institute) email
  • Aleksandar Boskovic (Institute of Social Sciences) email

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Short abstract

This panel invites submissions that will consider the role of learned societies and association in the creation of anthropology in Europe. The panel is open to papers which consider the historical importance of learned societies and associations, as well as their contemporary significance.

Long abstract

We are accustomed to the main arena of the generation of anthropological knowledge being the university. However, it is not entirely so, even today, and historically universities have developed departments of anthropological rather recently, certainly after what was recognisably anthropology had begun to be practiced. Instead, learned societies and associations throughout the nineteenth century, and for a good part of the twentieth century were the main locus of anthropological thought. Though they gradually have given way in some respects to universities, it is important to think in terms of a scholarly symbiosis that operates within a wider ecology of knowledge. Though some societies may no longer be active, many today, such as the AAA, EASA and the RAI continue to flourish and expand even as university departments are established, pointing toward mutual synergies which are important to explore and understand. Papers are therefore invited that reflect upon the creation of modern anthropology within learned societies; the role of associations in securing the profession, and the way that today these different forms of incorporation of knowledge operate and support each other.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Anthropology and Europe: the role of the RAI

Author: David Shankland (Royal Anthropological Institute) email
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Short abstract

This paper begins with the basic consideration: what was the institutional framework for the founding of anthropology in Europe? It argues that associations and societies were of paramount importance in this respect.

Long abstract

Modern anthropology has, almost by default, assumed that its rightful base is the university. This, however, has always been rather a simplification and, when we look at the history of anthropology, probably not justified at all. I argue in this paper that societies and associations were vital across Europe to the creation of anthropology as a discipline, and that they often had good contact with each other - thus we need to conceive of anthropology as a pan-European intellectual movement that crystalized in various centres which, however, were never entirely closed off from one another. The RAI is taken as a case study to illustrate these points.

Lithuanian Science Society in European Anthropology

Author: Vida Savoniakaite (Lithuanian Institute of History) email
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Short abstract

Learned societies such as the 'Lithuanian Science Society' issued new ideas in the domain of the theory of anthropology in early 20th century. The paper deals with the historical importance of this learned society's ideas in strategies of universal belonging notions in European anthropology.

Long abstract

Learned societies such as the 'Lithuanian Science Society' issued new ideas in the domain of the theory of anthropology and ethnography in Lithuania. These ideas deal with interconnected approaches in Baltic, German, and Russian ethnography and anthropology of the early 20th century. In some aspects the ideas of culture representation were universal in Europe, and they still remain important now. Lithuanian Science Society existed in 1907-1940. The members, as Eduardas Volteris and others, cooperated with different European ethnographers. Data on this scientific cooperation with institutions of related disciplines is available in German archives. Meanwhile, the concepts of culture representation correlate with the current notions on the sense of human security. According to contemporary scientific discourses, own culture representation encourages 'security feelings' in coexistence with the Other. I argue, that the Lithuanian Science Society's approach on culture representation is significant in current anthropology as ideas in motion for concepts of 'belonging' in Europe. This paper deals with the historical importance of Lithuanian Science Society's ideas in strategies of universal notions in European anthropology and beyond. The analysis will focus on the following questions: what notions of belonging to a nation were constructed in Baltic ethnography and anthropology at the early 20th century? How did the Baltic, German, Russian societies cooperate? What universal ideas of Lithuanian Science Society are as knowledge in motion in European anthropology?

19th century Triestine Learned Societies: Embracing, Ignoring or Resisting the Challenges of Nationalism?

Author: Daša Ličen (Scientific Research Centre - Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts) email
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Short abstract

The paper explores the 19th century Trieste learned societies. In particular the midpoint these associations often found themselves in, namely the increasingly tricky balance between becoming more and more national, on the one hand, and remaining somewhat cosmopolitan or even global, on the other.

Long abstract

From the second half of the 19th century on, the urban milieu and liberal political framework enabled voluntary associations to emerge not only in places like London or Paris but Trieste too. The city of Trieste became in the course of the 19th century the fourth-largest in the Habsburg monarchy and its vital access point to the sea but was also a city without a university. Learned societies thus represented public spaces making it possible for many well-educated noble and bourgeois men, among them also Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890), to discuss, organize lectures, excursions, read, and even publish their own work.

My research takes into consideration the period until 1918, when none of the Triestine associations was anthropological per se, yet many dwelled on early anthropological questions. Above all, the members of the Adriatic Society for Natural Science regularly discussed the progressive development of humans. My presentation, however, aims to put emphasis on the midpoint these associations often found themselves in, namely the increasingly tricky balance between becoming more and more national, on the one hand, and remaining somewhat cosmopolitan or even global, on the other. Put differently, similar to many places across Europe in the second half of the 19th century, Trieste experienced a growth of national sentiments, yet this did not necessarily mean that non-national debates and networks had to disappear. My research examines precisely these tensions between national and non-national (or cosmopolitan) currents affecting 19th century Triestine learned associations, which by extension also nurtured anthropological thought.

The Role of the Russian Geographical Society in the Creation of a Russian Ethnographic Tradition, 1845-1870.

Author: Nathaniel Knight (Seton Hall University) email
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Short abstract

The Ethnographic Division of the Russian Geographical Society was the first institution in Russia specifically dedicated to ethnography as a discipline. Ethnographers in the Geographical Society defined the theoretical and practical parameters of distinctive tradition in the human sciences.

Long abstract

From its establishment in 1845 and in the decades that followed, the Ethnographic Division of the Russian Geographical Society played a key role in the establishment of a distinctive Russian tradition of ethnographic research. The Geographical Society facilitated the convergence of diverse disciplinary traditions around the key concept of narodnost'-- the totality of features endowing a population with a distinct ethnic identity. Ethnography drew on a tradition of geographical exploration extending back into the eighteenth century that defined peoples as objects of scientific description. It incorporated the study of folklore and mythology, languages and dialects, material culture, and the interconnections between ethnic communities and the natural environment. The Ethnographical Division organized expeditions staffed by professional scholars to locations throughout the Russian empire, while also relying heavily on surveys drawing on the expertise of local informants. The writing produced and published by the Ethnographic Division tended to be rich in detailed description and poor in theoretical abstraction. Whether studying eastern Slavic peasants or the numerous non-Russian peoples of the Empire, mid-nineteenth century ethnographers tended to avoid hierarchical schemes of civilization progress as well as racially informed methodologies that placed organic limits on the capacities of peoples and individuals to develop.

The proposed paper will outline the constituent elements that informed the work of the Ethnographic Division and describe how these elements came together into a distinct scholarly tradition through the expeditions, surveys and publications carried out by the Geographical Society in its first two and a half decades.

Ethnographic museums as anthropological laboratories

Author: Han F. Vermeulen (Max Planck Institute of Social Anthropology) email
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Short abstract

Early ethnographic collections functioned as anthropological laboratories before anthropology came of age. Founding fathers like Tylor and Boas also worked on material culture in Oxford and Berlin. What role did early ethnographic museums play in the formation of anthropology?

Long abstract

The history of anthropology is increasingly being divided in two stages: before and after Malinowski invented participant observation. The emphasis on long-term fieldwork is so strong that anthropology prior to 1918 is fading in the distance. Morgan, Tylor, Frazer and Boas have credit, but hardly play a role in current discussions. This has undesired consequences for a realistic view on the development of anthropology. Morgan and Tylor designed methods for arranging and evaluating data within their evolutionist frameworks, and this also holds for Boas and the anti-racial, relativist anthropology he developed. During large-scale research expeditions of the eighteenth century discussed in Before Boas (2015), the main data collection was by empirical observation and the interviewing of key informants. Of added importance was the acquisition of material culture, which was studied within collections that grew into ethnographic museums during the nineteenth century. Examples of ethnographic collection analysis include the Kunstkamera in St. Petersburg (founded in 1714 and renamed Ethnographic Museum in 1836), the Academic Museum of Goettingen, which from the 1780s on held important collections from the Pacific and Siberia, and the private collections of Gustav Klemm that formed the basis of the Museum of Ethnology founded at Leipzig in 1869-70. Tylor and Boas also worked on ethnographic collections and reached valuable insights by studying artefacts. The role of ethnographic museums in the creation of anthropology may have been more limited than that of learned societies, but in its early stages it was key, next to fieldwork.

The Ethnographic Department of the Gothenburg Museum and the establishment of International Americanist Ethnology

Author: Erik Petschelies (Unicamp) email
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Short abstract

This paper aims to investigate the role of the ethnographic department of the Gothenburg Museum in the establishment of international Americanist science during the administration of its director Erland Nordenskiöld (1877-1932).

Long abstract

When the Swedish ethnologist Nils Erland Herbert Nordenskiöld (1877-1932) became head of the ethnographic department of the Gothenburg Museum (Sweden) in 1913, this institution focused mainly on botanical and zoological collections. By purchasing numerous collections, especially from the Americas, by bringing to the museum collections Nordenskiöld gathered during his five expeditions to South America, as well as by reorganizing museum exhibitions, the ethnographic department of Gothenburg was considered a model for other ethnographic museums at the time of his death. The Gothenburg Museum financed numerous ethnological expeditions and archaeological excavations in Brazil. Nordenskiöld's ethnological, linguistic and archaeological studies were highly estimated by foreign colleagues such as Theodor Koch-Grünberg, Franz Boas and Paul Rivet. He used to do lecture tours through Germany and France, and many of his articles and books were translated into German. Nordenskiöld was a key figure in the organization of the International Congress of Americanists, which took place in The Hague (Netherlands) and Gothenburg in 1924. This paper aims to explore the central role of Nordenskiöld and the ethnographic department of the Gothenburg Museum in establishing an international network of Americanists by analyzing documents held in archives in Germany and Sweden. I argue that ethnologists from peripheral anthropological traditions made important contributions to the establishment of anthropology as a science by forming an international network of scientists and by producing vital ethnographic knowledge, which remains important today.

Pushing through to the other side: The emergence of psychotherapeutic lines of investigation in the unfinished business of anthropology

Author: Salma Siddique (University of Aberdeen) email
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Short abstract

W. H. R. Rivers leader of the Anthropological Expeditions to Torres Straits and Todas of South India. Leaving Cambridge as a psychologist and returning as an ethnographer of a newly recognised genealogical method of investigation to inform observation as a new scientific method.

Long abstract

W. H. R. Rivers´ work at Cambridge has established in the modernising europe of the early 20th century. The intention of this paper is to explore the relationship between anthropology and psychotherapy (including psychoanalysis), informing the emerging ecology of knowledge of 'the other' a whole new perspective, informed by the creation of modern anthropology within learned societies. incorporating different forms of incorporation of knowledge and practice , as an important tool of helping people to make sense of the rapidly blurring boundaries and borders. A sense of displacement and marginalisation helps interdisciplinary mutual synergies of an important place to explore and understand psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in the creation of modern anthropological thinking within learned societies; the role of associations in securing the psychotherapeutic profession.

The Role of the British Psychoanalytic Society in the Establishment of Social Anthropology

Author: Aleksandar Boskovic (Institute of Social Sciences) email
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Short abstract

The presentation will offer some insights about the role that the emerging discipline of psychoanalysis had in the establishment of social anthropology. A particular attention will be paid to the role of the London (later British) Psychoanalytical Society.

Long abstract

Anthropology and psychoanalysis were both established as scholarly disciplines in the late 19th and early 20th century, and they both developed an interest in understanding how human societies function. Furthermore, some of the founders of anthropology in the UK (like W. H. R. Rivers) were well aware of psychoanalysis, and developed some of their own theories in relation to it. The present paper will offer some insights about the role that the London (later British) Psychoanalytical Society played in the development of social anthropology, since it was founded (by Ernest Jones) on 30 October 1913.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.