Anténor Firmin and Haiti’s contribution to anthropology

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Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, Anténor Firmin and Haiti’s contribution to anthropology (1850-1911) — Anténor Firmin was an anthropologist who pioneered a critical study of race and physical anthropology and developed in his major work, De L’égalité des races humaines…, a vision of anthropology as an integrated study of humanity. The publication date of 1885 of De L’égalité des races humaines marks it as a pioneering text in anthropology and it is perhaps the first major work of anthropology written by a person of African descent. Although Firmin’s tome was lost to Francophone anthropology, it was recognized not only in Haiti but also among Pan-Africanist scholars as an early work of négritude. Anténor Firmin also had a seminal impact on Jean Price-Mars, the 20th century founder of Haitian ethnology, and these ties extend further to the American founder of African and Afro-American anthropology, Melville Herskovits.

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