Many questions present themselves when considering the historical relationship between anthropology and empire following the Scramble for Africa. These include the extent of imperial fortunes in Africa, rising and falling with officials' knowledge of the people under their jurisdiction. This book looks at the institutional frameworks of anthropology, and shows that the colonial project to order Africa, intellectually and politically, was a messy and not-so comprehensive endeavor. It first considers the roles of metropolitan researchers and institutes such as the colonial ethnographers active in French West Africa, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in Berlin, and the British-based International Institute of African Languages and Cultures. The book deals with the role of African ethnograpghers for their study on African teaching assistants and schoolmasters-cum-ethnographers, and the study of Jomo Kenyatta's journey to produce Facing Mount Kenya. Swiss missionaries undertook discovery and domestication first on European soil before it was transferred to African soils and societies. Primordial imagination at work in equatorial Africa is discussed through an analysis of Fang ethnographies, and the infertility scares among Mongo in the Belgian Congo is contrasted with the Nzakara in the French Congo. Once colonial rule had been imposed, administrators and imperial managers were often forced to consider those judicial and social rules that had governed Africans' lives and had predated colonialism. Studies of Italian Northeast Africa, the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and French West Africa reveal the uneven ways in which ethnographic knowledge was pursued and applied in this respect.
The International Institute of African Languages and Cultures between the wars
Benoît de L’Estoile
integrated in the international frame of the
Institute. (Professor De Jonghe 1933) 1
In June 1926 an international conference in London
officially founded the InternationalInstituteofAfricanLanguages
and Cultures (IIALC). 2 Its chairman was British (the colonial pundit
Lord Lugard), while its two directors, Maurice Delafosse and
Essay on the Anthropology of Changing African Cultures’, in Bronislaw Malinowski et al., Methods of Study of Culture Contact in Africa (London: InternationalInstituteofAfricanLanguages and Cultures, 1938), pp. x, xii–xiii; original emphasis. See also, e.g., Bronislaw Malinowski, ‘Native Education and Culture Contact’, International Review of Missions , 25 (1936).
James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to
produce proposals for ethnographic research in Africa even after it lost
its colonies, and why their expertise was still so sought after in
collaborative ventures such as the British-based InternationalInstituteofAfricanLanguages and Cultures (IIALC/IAI). 42 From their earliest days in
Africa, the Germans undertook a form of ‘scientific colonial
management’ in an effort not to be outdone by the other imperial
these reasons, it was seen as better for the suggestions to be passed on
to a non-governmental institution such as the InternationalInstituteofAfricanLanguages and Cultures.
Sequeira’s and Gilks’ activities in 1932 seem
to have petered out without much progress in the form of financial aid,
although the support of important British scientists had been obtained.
The situation was then left until
European and African narrative writing of the interwar period
manuals on farming,
hunting, and the like. In the years to follow the magazine opened
its scope to other facets and subjects of colonial life and
discourse, reporting on the activities of the InternationalInstituteofAfricanLanguages and Cultures, and on issues of
colonial administration such as ‘native education’, or
printing lectures of anthropologists and historians on East
visible interwar anthropologists was Diedrich Westermann, Director of
the InternationalInstituteofAfricanLanguages and Culture. Westermann
spoke warmly of the efforts of the British in Africa. 63 He had no commitment to a
primitivism that stood in the way of administrative efficiency.
Westermann was the great linguistic standardiser of the interwar period.
Looking at the Gold Coast, Westermann advocated the merging of the two
InstituteofAfricanLanguages and Cultures.
Oldham’s focus shifted decisively to Europe in the 1930s. Russian Communism and Italian Fascism had long caused concern; however, the Great Depression, development of Stalinism, rise of the Nazis and apparent weakness of the democracies brought the issues of freedom, secularity and the social order to the top of his agenda. In 1934, he became chair of Life and Work’s ‘Research Committee’. Increasingly convinced of the need for Christian responses to what seemed a terminal western crisis, Oldham
Henri Labouret, 1934.
Labouret participated in scholarly
associations such as the International Institute of Ethnography,
the International Colonial Institute, and the InternationalInstituteofAfricanLanguages and Cultures (L’Estoile,
this volume). On the Institute and its concern with applied