Haunting Griaule: experiences from the restudy of the Dogon

TitleHaunting Griaule: experiences from the restudy of the Dogon
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsW.E.A. van Beek
Secondary TitleHistory in Africa : a journal of methodHistory in Africa
Pagination43 - 68
Date Published2004///
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsanthropological research, Dogon, Mali

The author describes his experiences while repeating ethnographic research carried out by Marcel Griaule among the Dogon of Mali in the 1940s/1950s, and the work of one of Griaule's most important followers, Germaine Dieterlen. Griaule's 'Dieu d'eau' (1948) was a revelation at the time of its first publication: never before had the secrets of an African society been exposed so clearly in order to show a native philosophy on a par with what the Athenian and Indian civilizations had offered to humanity. However, the present author shows that Griaule fell into a trap: a combination of strong and overtly expressed personal convictions, with a position of authority backed by a colonial presence on his part, and on the Dogon side a small circle of crucial and creative informants, a clear courtesy bias and some monetary realism. The fact that there are no creation stories among the Dogon, at least not in the Griaulean sense, is crucial in this restudy. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]

IR handle/ Full text URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1887/9508
Citation Key792