Société Ethnologique de Paris

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Société Ethnologique de Paris was a short-lived French learned society set up by William Frédéric Edwards in 1839.[1] At the time ethnology was a neologism (ethnologie in French), and the Société was the first association of scholars and travellers to have as its central concern race. It is considered a significant institution in the rise of the social sciences, though there had been earlier societies in the area in the first decades of the 19th century. It was formally dissolved in 1862, long after it had ceased to be active.[2]

The effective manifesto of the Société was Des charactères physiologiques des races humaines considérés dans leurs rapports avec l'histoire, a pamphlet of Edwards from a decade earlier.[3][4] The group brought together by Edwards included linguists and geographers. The aim was to study human variability, and draw racially based conclusions.[5] Edwards was the first President, with Imbert des Mottelettes as Secretary,[6] but he died in 1842 and was replaced by the vicomte de Santarém.[7]

The Société was active for some years towards the end of the July Monarchy, but then political involvements told against it.[8] Publications appeared to 1847.

The membership of the Société included significant Saint-Simonian figures, among them Gustave d'Eichthal and Ismael Urbain.[3]


  1. ^ Scholarly Societies Project, Data for Societies founded 1810 to 1839
  2. ^ Henrika Kuklick (24 February 2009). New History of Anthropology. John Wiley & Sons. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-470-76621-7. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Philippe Régnier (2002). Etudes saint-simoniennes (in French). Presses Universitaires Lyon. p. 135. ISBN 978-2-7297-0701-9. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  4. ^ William Frédéric Edwards (1829). Des caractères physiologiques des races humaines considérés dans leur rapports avec l'histoire; lettre à A. Thierry. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Martin S. Staum (20 August 2003). Labeling People: French Scholars on Society, Race, and Empire, 1815–1848. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. pp. 11–2. ISBN 978-0-7735-7124-2. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Société ethnologique, Paris (1841). Mémoires de la Société ethnologique. Mme. ve. Dondey Dupré. p. 16. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Martin S. Staum (20 August 2003). Labeling People: French Scholars on Society, Race and Empire, 1815-1848. McGill-Queens. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-7735-2580-1. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  8. ^ George W. Stocking (15 September 1990). Bones, Bodies, Behavior: Essays on Biological Anthropology. Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-299-11254-7. Retrieved 28 May 2012.