6760 - Max Schmidt and the Arawakan expansion

The Arawak expansion analysed by Max Schmidt in 1917 presents a model, not common in social sciences at that time. His approach takes into account the distribution of ethnic groups which share in principie the same language but might diverge in other cultural elements. The origin of the main ideas which shaped this polythetic model is due to the empiric data he could draw upon. Max Schmidts personal academic background in law, nacional economy, and materiality allowed him to formulate the model of the Arawakan expansion and identity. Max Schmidts interest dealing with cultural expansion took place in the particular historical context of the German Empire struggeling with its colonies. The direct function of a nthropology was, as Schmidt defined it, targeted on colonial administration needs. The indirect use was based on the fact „that only by a knowledge of foreign and different circumstances we are able to get a scale for our own living conditions” (Schmidt 1920/21, I, 3). Max Schmidt’s view on the construction of cultural identity and language is still relevant looking at the problems and perspectives in archaeology and anthropology in relation to cultural identity and linguistic families.

Palabras claves: Arawakan expansion, Max Schmidt, cultural identity

Autores: Oyuela-Caycedo, Augusto (University of Florida, Ud States of Am / USA)
Co-Autores: Fischer, Manuela Maria (Ethnologisches Museum Berlin, Berlin, Germany / Deutschland)


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