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Africa as a Living LaboratoryEmpire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870-1950$
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Helen Tilley

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226803463

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226803487.001.0001

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An Anthropological Laboratory

An Anthropological Laboratory

Ethnographic Research, Imperial Administration, and Magical Knowledge

(p.261) Chapter Six An Anthropological Laboratory
Africa as a Living Laboratory
University of Chicago Press

This chapter evaluates the changing attitudes of colonial officials to formal anthropological research and of anthropologists to empire and its apparatus of rule. The synergies and antagonisms of interactions between anthropologists and officials, especially in the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures (IIALC), the African Research Survey, and the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute in Northern Rhodesia shed light on how social anthropology ultimately attained a dominant position in research programs related to African development. Bronislaw Malinowski encouraged colonial and African studies to shed common prejudices toward the societies the British governed. Combined with the creation of the Scientific Council of Africa South of the Sahara in 1950, the Colonial Social Science Research Council (CSSRC) helped cement a transdisciplinary approach to human problems, with anthropology often at the helm.

Keywords:   social anthropology, IIALC, African Research Survey, Rhodes-Livingstone Institute, Northern Rhodesia, Bronislaw Malinowski, CSSRC

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