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Ethnographers Before Malinowski: Pioneers of Anthropological Fieldwork, 1870-1922

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Volume 44

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Ethnographers Before Malinowski

Pioneers of Anthropological Fieldwork, 1870-1922

Edited by Frederico Delgado Rosa and Han F. Vermeulen

Foreword by Thomas Hylland Eriksen

540 pages, 29 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-531-6 $179.00/£132.00 / Hb / Published (June 2022)

ISBN  978-1-80539-148-7 $45.00/£36.00 / Pb / Published (February 2024)

eISBN 978-1-80539-566-9 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This volume, its contributing authors, and the fieldworkers and ethnographies they restore constitute a creative, necessary resistance to iconoclastic, postcolonial assaults on anthropology. Highly recommended.” • Choice

Ethnographers before Malinowski provides a valuable contribution on the work of those ethnographers who formed the broader mosaic of the disciplinary evolution of professional anthropology. The contributors provide visibility to those pioneers who were discarded during the historiographical sifting of the Malinowskian Revolution. Ultimately, this volume provides the historical substance that can counter the disciplinary trend”. • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

“This collection is an important event in the subfield of history of anthropology. Its editors, two well-known European scholars, have assembled an impressive collection of essays … It should be in the library of every major university.” • Andrew Lyons, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo


Focusing on some of the most important ethnographers in early anthropology, this volume explores twelve defining works in the foundational period from 1870 to 1922. It challenges the assumption that intensive fieldwork and monographs based on it emerged only in the twentieth century. What has been regarded as the age of armchair anthropologists was in reality an era of active ethnographic fieldworkers, including women practitioners and Indigenous experts. Their accounts have multiple layers of meaning, style, and content that deserve fresh reading. This reference work is a vital source for rewriting the history of anthropology.

Frederico Delgado Rosa is lecturer at NOVA University, Lisbon (Portugal) and a researcher in the history of anthropology at CRIA Centre for Research in Anthropology (Lisbon) and HERITAGES (Paris). He is the author, among other works, of Exploradores portugueses e reis africanos [Portuguese Explorers and African Kings], with Filipe Verde (A Esfera dos Livros, 2013). He is codirector, with Christine Laurière, of BEROSE International Encyclopedia of the Histories of Anthropology.

Han F. Vermeulen is Research Associate at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle (Saale), Germany, specializing in the history and theory of anthropology. He is author or editor of a dozen books, including Before Boas: The Genesis of Ethnography and Ethnology in the German Enlightenment (University of Nebraska Press, 2015), which was listed by the Süddeutsche Zeitung as one of the most important books of 2016 and was  awarded the ICAS Book Prize 2017 by the International Convention of Asia Scholars.

Subject: Anthropology (General)History (General)Colonial History


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