Leo Frobenius

Historical Intersections in the Production and Appropriation of Ethnological Knowledge in France and Germany

In Germany and France during the first half of the 20th century, scientific traditions and institutions often developed according to very different trajectories. In the domain of ethnology, however, there were a number of intersections of these traditions at an epistemological level, a fact which invites exploration of their crossed histories. The present project sets itself the goal of showing how their thematic fields influenced each other in parallel fashion, whether in an antagonistic spirit or in terms of mutual borrowing. The project will follow the way in which ethnological knowledge was first spread and acknowledged in Germany and France, then according to a reciprocal mirror effect in Africa. The researchers associated through this program are interested in the methods of the ethnologists, the forms of knowledge acquired through the intersections of their work and the institutions which supported these forms in Germany and France. In addition, the project aims to establish an international network of researchers gathered around the task of exploring the development of ethnology and neighboring disciplines in Europe. To this end, there will be conferences, exhibitions and the publication of works which will strive to heighten awareness of the different forms governing ethnology and prehistory, emphasizing in particular their reception on the African continent. Through the support of the French Institute of History in Germany, the CIERA and Campus Condorcet, a partnership between the Centre Georg Simmel and the Institut Frobenius has been established. It will take the form of a shared seminar held at the EHESS in 2013-14 on the theme of the ‘Les deux ethnologies d’Outre-Rhin’, a conference on Leo Frobenius at the Goethe University of Frankfurt from the 19th to the 20th of February 2014 and round tables and conferences programmed to coincide with the exhibition ‘Sur les traces de l’Atlantide’ of the Goethe Institute in Paris in June 2014.

Organizing Committee :

Jean-Louis Georget (IFHA, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/M.)

Hélène Ivanoff (Centre Georg Simmel, CNRS-UMR 8131, EHESS, Paris)

Richard Kuba (Frobenius-Institut, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/M.)

Martin Mourre (CEAf, IRD-EHESS/University of Montreal)