6714 - A piece of Colombia¿s Anthropology history at the Archives of the Museums of World Culture

In the archives of the Museums of World Culture in Gothenburg, there are evidences of the long tradition of contacts between Colombia and Sweden. The first contacts seem to be scientific and commercial; starting probably with the visit of Per Löfling (one of Carl von Linné's disciples), continuing with commercial relationships between businessmen from Gothenburg and Bogota. There are early interesting contacts like Pedro Nisser from Sweden who moved to Colombia, or Nicolas Pereira Gamba who donated objects to the Museum of Gothenburg in the last part of the XIX century. However an intensive period of exchange and scientific contacts started with Erland Nordenskiöld's travels to South America, continuing with Henry Wassén's fieldwork in the area of Chocó. This period of organized fieldwork in the area of Darien and the Colombian Pacific Coast gave the start to a deep relationship which continued during all of the XX century. Henry Wassén established a relationship with Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff, one of the most well-known anthropologists in Colombia (and South America) from the 1950's to the 1980's. Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff was born 1912 in Austria and died 1994 in Colombia. During more than 20 years they exchanged letters that are stored today at the archive of the Museums of World Culture. This is a very important period in Gothenburg as well as in Bogota in the development of a new kind of Anthropological practice. The impact of the Second World War changed strongly the theoretical paradigm in sciences as well as the practice of these sciences. In Anthropology this meant the change from a more German theory and practice to an Anglo-American one. In this paper I would like to explore the relationship between Wassen and Riechel-Dolmatoff seen against the context of the wider changes in anthropology.

Keywords: History of Anthropology, Colombia, Sweden, Museums, Collections

Author: Muñoz, Adriana (Museums of World Culture, Sweden / Schweden)


University of Vienna | Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43 1 4277 17575