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à la naissance de l’ethnologie française

Les missions ethnographiques en Afrique subsaharienne (1928-1939)

à la naissance de l’ethnologie française

Les missions ethnographiques en Afrique subsaharienne (1928-1939)

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Mission members

On official documents of the 1930s, the list of members of a French ethnographic mission only included Europeans working as a team on a field site abroad. They could be ethnologists, linguists, musicologists, naturalists, but also camera operators, mechanics or artistic painters.

African collaborators

In conducting their work on the field site, members of ethnographic missions enlisted the help of a large number of African assistants all of whom were remunerated: informants, interpreters, and even local investigators. The collaborators working most closely with the ethnographers combined these three roles.

Institutions & associations

From 1928 to 1939, French ethnographic missions in Africa and their members were closely affiliated with various institutions or learned societies recently created or renewed: Institute of Ethnology, Museum of Ethnography, Museum of Man, Society of Africanists, Society of Explorers.