Bibliothèque Centrale du Muséum

Paul Rivet: A Bridge Between Two Shores (1920-1950)

As part of the France-Colombia Year in 2017, the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac and the musée de l’Homme - Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, in partnership with the Institut Français and the Colombian authorities, are organising an international symposium on the work of Paul Rivet (1876-1958) from the late 1920s to the end of the 1940s.

(copie 18)

[Trad en cours:] The aim of the symposium is to reinforce the vital role that Paul Rivet and his teams played in anthropology, including the institutionalisation of ethnology through the creation of the Institut d’Ethnologie and the restructuring of the musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro, which he began managing with Georges Henri Rivière in spring 1928; the founding of the musée de l’Homme, which opened in 1938; managing the National Institute of Ethnology in Columbia, which opened under his aegis in May 1941; the professionalisation of the first generations of French and Columbian ethnologists; and the modernisation of museum methods and innovations pertaining to the circulation of anthropological knowledge, among other things. More than just a reflection on Paul Rivet's biography, the emphasis is placed on one of the high points of how ethnology was structured, in which he was the linchpin and which struck a chord with the development and structuring of French and South American anthropology in the second half of the 20th century. All this against an ideological and political backdrop that put ethnological humanism to the test. As a counter-point, the symposium will also question the way in which French ethnology has been constructed, either ignoring or brushing aside thematic or regional areas.

Thus Paul Rivet, as the mastermind behind French ethnology, greatly contributed to the education of the first generation of ethnologists through his teachings at the Institut d’ethnologie (founded in 1925) and its close collaboration with the musée du Trocadéro. These young ethnologists were then sent by the museum to undertake missions out in the field. Many of these would go on to become great names in research, working for and within the field of the musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro and later the musée de l’Homme in Paris. Among these examples were Alfred Métraux, Jacques Soustelle, André Leroi-Gourhan, Marcel Griaule, Michel Leiris, Deborah Lifchitz, Denise Paulme, Germaine Tillion, Thérèse Rivière, Boris Vildé, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Georges Devereux, and Paul-Emile Victor.

Having sought exile in Bogota in May 1941, Paul Rivet started doing what he did best in Colombia, using the same qualities as a scientific entrepreneur whilst developing and facilitating ethnological research and activity. Drawing on his experience in Paris, he put in place the same type of institutional structure: a national ethnographic institute to train the first generation of professional ethnographers (Gregorio Hernandez de Alba, Gerardo and Alicia Reichel-Dolmatoff, Luis Duque Gomez, Roberto Giraldo, and a number of young women such as Edith Jimenez, Virginia Gutiérrez, and Blanca Ochoa de Molina) who went out into the field to collect ethnographic objects. He also founded an ethnological journal that enabled him to spread news of the research undertaken in the country, and contributed to a more general discussion on the role of the ethnographic museum in Columbia. Beyond that, his influence in Latin America is addressed by illustrating the incomparable prominence of the French scientist in this part of the world, who remains as renowned today as he ever was.

  • Scientific Committee

    André Delpuech and Serge Bahuchet (MNHN/Musée de l’Homme), Claude Blanckaert (CNRS, CAK), Frédéric Keck and Carine Peltier (musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac), Christine Laurière (CNRS), Ernesto Montenegro (ICANH), Roberto Pineda (UNAL), Céline Valadeau (IFEA) and Fabian Sanabria (UNAL).

  • Place:   Salle de cinéma
  • TimeSlots:
    The Thursday 14 December 2017 from 09:30 to 18:00
    Au Musée de l'Homme
    The Friday 15 December 2017 from 09:30 to 18:30
    Au musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac
  • Accessibility:
    • Handicap moteur
  • Public:   Researcher, student
  • Categorie : Symposia
  • Free entry (subject to available places)
    Gratuit (dans la limite des places disponibles)

Around the event

Guided tours, workshops, concerts, etc.
all activities organized as part of the event

Around the event