David Shankland, The Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
‘On the roots of international co-operation in Anthropology’, Poznań i Warszawa
This lecture concerns the roots of international co-operation in anthropology. It is based on the presentation of an unpublished - indeed unknown - archive from the RAI. This detailed series of letters and papers are devoted efforts to found a unified standing world congress of anthropology before the Second World War, one that would be based on agreed inductive principles. This effort was led by Myers, and his attempt was greatly complicated by the difficulty of persuading the French and the German academics, still estranged from the first war, to meet upon an equal footing. Myers’ prescience at seeking to persuade anthropologists in Europe to unify across national and disciplinary boundaries, even if unavailing and cumbersome in its conception, was indeed confirmed by the subsequent tragic fate of anthropology in Germany and Austria. His efforts, even if totally unknown today, deserve revisiting, because they are a small but significant chapter in our discipline, showing how anthropologists were caught in a Europe torn between nationalisms, a failed peace and rising fascism. It is also historically important from the point of view of later institutional building in anthropology, because this initiative proved to be the precursor to the IUAES, which is about to hold a major world conference in Manchester.
David SHANKLAND is Director of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and Reader of Anthropology at the University of Bristol. He studied anthropology at the Universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge, and conducted fieldwork in Turkey. Former Acting Director of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, he has written and lectured extensively on the overlaps between archaeology and anthropology, the history of social anthropology, and on politics, religion and state in modern Turkey, where he specialises in particular on the Alevi community.