Harrie Leyten

Harrie Leyten studied theology and worked in Ghana for ten years as a missionary. After that he studied social anthropology at the University of Oxford, became the Africa curator at the Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam), and a lecturer of museology at the University of Amsterdam. After his retirement he took up teaching courses in African Art and Culture for HOVO (Higher Education for Senior Citizens) at universities of Utrecht, Amsterdam, Nijmegen and Leiden.

Presently Harrie Leyten is working on a Ph.D. thesis "Objects with power". His research will deal with questions such as: how have (mostly European and American) anthropologists viewed objects with power since Tyler's theory of Animism in the 19th century? How have African anthropologists in the past decades reacted to these views? The same questions will be put with regard to (mostly European) missionaries who have been active in Africa since the middle of the 19th century: how have they viewed (in their perception: pagan) objects with power? How have African theologians in the past decades reacted to these views?

Throughout the thesis emphasis will be laid on the way material culture has been described and interpreted in books on (traditional) African art. In this analysis the differences will be amplified between ethnographies from the colonial era and those of more recent times.

Harrie Leyten defended his dissertation at Tilburg University on 15 April 2015.

H. (Harrie) Leyten
Former PhD Student
+31 (0)71 527 3344
PhD supervisor:
Project status:
Completed