Founded in 1938 under the initial directorship of Godfrey Wilson, the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute (RLI) was the first local anthropological research facility in Africa. Designed to allow for easier study of the local cultures of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, it became the base of operations for a number of leading anthropologists of the time.
The RLI anthropologists have been lauded by some as liberal, anti-racists, furthering the cause of African independence.
Others have called attention to what they regard as misguidedness on the part of the RLI anthropologists, stemming from the fact that they were embedded in the colonial system and blind to its reality as a component in dialectic study.
- See Ferguson, James.1999, Expectations of Modernity, Berkely, LA, London. University of California Press. and Magubane, Bernard. 1971, A Critical Look at the Indices Used in the Study of Social Change in Colonial Africa. Current Anthropology.12(4/5): 419-445