"Africanizing Anthropology" tells the story of the anthropological fieldwork centred at the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) during the mid-20th century. Focusing on collaborative processes rather than on the activity of individual researchers, Lyn Schumaker places anthropologists' assistants and informants in a central role in the making of anthropological knowledge. Schumaker shows how local conditions and local ideas about culture and history, as well as local people's previous experience of outsiders' interest, shape their responses to anthropological fieldwork and help them, in turn, to influence the construction of knowledge about their societies and lives. Bringing to the fore a wide range of actors - missionaries, administrators, settlers, the families of anthropologists - Schumaker places emphasis on the daily practices of researchers, demonstrating how these are as centrally implicated in the making of anthropological knowlege as the discipline's recognized methods.
Using a prominent group of anthropologists - The Manchester School - she reveals, in particular, how they achieved the advances in theory and method that made them famous in the 1950s and 1960s.
Lyn Schumaker is Wellcome Research Lecturer at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Manchester.