Writing Transnational Histories of Anthropologies

Tuesday, 5 December 2023 (5:00-6:45 pm CET) [Watch here!]

Several authors have noted the transnational character of anthropology. However, most of the works on the histories of anthropologies are nation-centered, even when they eventually indicate the importance of international networks or of foreign migrants or exiles in the development of a specific epistemic community. The histories of anthropologies in Europe clearly show complex flows, since the 18th, 19th centuries, of persons and ideas among several countries. We should not forget, for instance, that Franz Boas, considered as the father of American anthropology, was a German scholar, that Bronislaw Malinowski was Polish, that A.R. Radcliffe-Brown taught in places such as Cape Town, São Paulo, and Chicago, as well as that living in São Paulo and in New York City was crucial to Claude Lévi-Strauss’s career. We still need a historiography that traces these and many other trajectories, flows and networks, in order to assess how anthropologists have generated and exchanged transnational and intercultural knowledge in different professional settings. Central to this endeavor is the understanding of cognitive extractivism’s role in the relationships between non-hegemonic and hegemonic anthropologies. How does it relate to the undervaluation of non-anglophone anthropological writings? What do non-hegemonic anthropological traditions and their respective histories bring to a global polyphonic interpretation of disciplinary history and to its decolonization? How do national traditions, differently located within the world system of anthropological production, become lenses through which world anthropologies are seen? These and other issues will be presented and discussed by participants in this roundtable.


Gustavo Lins Ribeiro is Full Professor of the Department of Cultural Studies, Autonomous Metropolitan University – Lerma, Mexico and National Researcher Emeritus of the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology. Professor Emeritus of the University of Brasilia. He studies development, the internet, globalization, transnationalism, imperialisms, world anthropologies. He has written/edited 28 books (including translations), more than 180 articles/chapters, in 22 countries and 7 languages. He received the 2021 Franz Boas Award for Exemplary Service to Anthropology from the American Anthropological Association.

Susana Narotzky is Professor of Social Anthropology at the Universidad de Barcelona. Former President of the European Association of Social Anthropology (EASA), in 2020 she was awarded with the National Prize for Research in the Humanities by the Spanish Research Ministry. PI of the ERC Advanced Grant 2013-2019 “Grassroots Economics: Meaning, Project and Practice in the Pursuit of Livelihood (GRECO)”, she has recently edited Grassroots Economies: Living with Austerity in Southern Europe (2020). Her work is inspired by theories of critical political economy, moral economies, feminist economics, and value regimes.


Michał Buchowski is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Poznań and Senior Professor at European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder. He was a Visiting Professor at Columbia University, Rutgers University, Warsaw University and National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka. His scientific interest is in anthropological knowledges production, postsocialist transformations, social exclusions, migration and xenophobia. Since 2021 he is a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences. His last book publications include Purgatory: Anthropology of Neoliberal Postsocialism (2017 – in Polish); and Twilight Zone Anthropology: Voices from Poland (ed., 2019). He authored more than two hundred research articles and book chapters.

Benoît de l’Estoile (École Normale Supérieure, Paris)