Fritz Graebner

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Robert Fritz Graebner (4 March 1877, Berlin – 13 July 1934, Berlin) was a German geographer and ethnologist best known for his development of the theory of Kulturkreis, or culture circle. He was the first theoretician of the Vienna School of Ethnology.

Graebner advanced a theory of diffusion of culture (Kulturkreise) which became the basis of a culture-historical approach to ethnology. His theories had influence for a time in the field of ethnology, and were also propounded by Franz Boas, Clark Wissler and Paul Kirchhoff.

He was in Australia attending an anthropological conference when World War I broke out in 1914, and due to accusations of having hidden certain sensitive documents he was not allowed to leave Australia for the duration of the war.[1] [2]


  • Methode der Ethnologie (Method of Ethnology), 1911
  • Das Weltbild der Primitiven (The World View of the Primitives), 1924


  1. ^ Gaillard, Gérald (2004). The Routledge Dictionary of Anthropologists. Peter James Bowman (trans.) (English translation of Dictionnaire des ethnologues et des anthropologues [1997] ed.). London and New York: Routledge. pp. 43–44. ISBN 0-415-22825-5. OCLC 52288643. 
  2. ^