logo 65px ereaCentre for Teaching and Research in Amerindian Ethnology

The EREA centre (Enseignement et recherche en ethnologie amérindienne), originally founded as an autonomous CNRS research unit in 1986, brings together specialists in indigenous societies stretching from the lowlands of South America, particularly of the Amazon, to the Andes and Mesoamerica.

Through collaborative projects, the Centre explores comparative and theoretical perspectives on various themes, using ethnography as its principal research method. Often employing interdisciplinary approaches, research projects touch upon diverse sub-fields, including linguistic and cognitive anthropology, political anthropology, visual anthropology, and even ethnohistory. Certain projects explore more fields still, such as archaeology (Germ).

With their field work, EREA centre members aim to expand upon the knowledge of general issues affecting indigenous societies, but also to shed light on their contemporary transformations. They are involved with the communities they study and local institutions (through publications, teaching, reconstruction of knowledge, etc). 

The centre holds a regular seminar and co-organises the Americanist Anthropology Seminar. Its members participate in teaching and supervising research in several institutions in France (University of Paris Nanterre, Inalco, EHESS, Quai Branly Museum) and overseas, where the EREA has created strong partnerships with numerous institutions in Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru, as well as in the United States and Europe.

The EREA centre, over the years, has built an international network of associate researchers, and regularly welcomes foreign colleagues and doctoral students. It is a partner of international organisations (ANR, GDRI, Pics) and is involved in the organisation of many national and international symposia. Since its creation, EREA's members have also been very active in the Society of Americanists.



EREA Seminar

Americanist Anthropology Seminar


Programmes de recherche à l'EREA

  • AMAZ: Socio-Spatial Configurations, Political Issues, and Ontological Debates in the Amazon
    AMAZ: Socio-Spatial Configurations, Political Issues, and Ontological Debates in the Amazon
    During the last three decades, indigenous Amazonian societies have begun to occupy an increasingly active role on the political stage. Their organizations have undeniably entered the national political arena, their members sometimes gaining high-representative positions at the state level. These same organizations are also becoming principal actors in hundreds of “environmental” conflicts that are shaking the region, conflicts primarily against private corporations and state agencies. Nevertheless, their motivations and political project remain ambiguous, and their rhetoric complex. This research project aims to analyse this phenomenon in a comparative way, trying to highlight the specificities of each country in the region and the ways in which the borders of politics are beginning to shift. This project also intends to analyse this historical and social logics that these dynamics stimulate among Amerindian peoples with different cultural values.
  • APOCAMO 2: Contemporary Political Anthropology in Occidental Amazonia
    APOCAMO 2: Contemporary Political Anthropology in Occidental Amazonia
    This Group of International Research (GDRI), created in 2012 and renewed in 2016, joins together several research centres and institutions from France, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, all of which, independently or in concert, research political anthropology of the Amerindian movement in the Amazon. Since the last three decades at the very least, the indigenous societies of the Amazon have become active players on the political chessboards of their respective countries. This phenomenon of “political fabrication”, or the politicization of the indigenous movement by Amerindians themselves, is observed in all Amazonian countries, though with particularities and differing intensities in each one. The Apocamo research group aims to understand the process of construction of an Amerindian political representation via a comparative analysis of the specificities unique to each country and of the ways in which today’s political borders are shifting and changing. This research reinforces the reflection on the re-composition and diffusion of new conceptions and forms of political action within the Amerindian communities of occidental Amazonia.  
  • AMRT : Alfred Métraux : A Transatlanic Reappraisal
    AMRT : Alfred Métraux : A Transatlanic Reappraisal
    Alfred Métraux: a transatlantic reappraisal To mark the fiftieth anniversary of his death, a group of anthropologists based in the countries where he was born (Switzerland), has worked (France, USA) or did fieldwork (Argentina, Bolivia) decided to not only pay tribute to the memory of Alfred Métraux (1902-1963), a leading figure of XXth century Americanist studies, but also to find a second wind for some of the research topics that were dear to him. In the course of this three year joint conicet/cnrs endeavor, international meetings have successively been organized in Paris (2013), Recife (2014) and Buenos Aires (2015). Particular attention was paid to messianic movements, the distinctive features of amerindian shamanism and the need to grasp similarities as well as differences between native peoples from Amazonia and the Gran Chaco, despite diverging ecological settings. In parallel with these international meetings, scholars involved in the project have strived to reprint, comment and/or translate a fair amount of Métraux’s writings. Until now, the empirical aspects of his work have tended to supersede its theoretical dimension. Métraux is above all remembered as an ethnographer, despite limited persistence of his intellectual legacy in the works of eminent social scientists such as Pierre Clastres or Lucien Sebag. The structuralist tide (which reached its peak immediately following his death) seems to have wiped away his tracks. Yet, half a century later, many fellow Amazonists currently find themselves re-exploring, at times unknowingly, some of Métraux’s original ideas. This precursory aspect of Métraux’s work is what the AMRT international research group specifically tried to highlight, as a contribution to the history of anthropology and in the hope of implementing a better informed practice of contemporary Americanist research.   Funding PICS franco-argentin, CNRS/Conicet (2013-2015)   Team Coordinator : Philippe Erikson   Events and Publications Actes du projet : Erikson, Philippe, 2017 (éd.), Alfred Métraux, Relectures Transatlantiques, Journal de la Société des Américanistes, 102(2), p. 7-168. [Numéro spécial avec des contributions de : Philippe Erikson, Daniel Métraux, Fernande Schulmann, Monique Lévi-Strauss, Simone Dreyfus-Gamelon, Federico Bossert, Lorena Córdoba, Rodrigo Montani, Diego Villar, Pablo Sendón, Fernando Giobellina Brumana] ; http://journals.openedition.org/jsa/14752 Rééditions critiques : Métraux, Alfred, 2013, Écrits d’Amazonie. Cosmologies, rituels, guerre et chamanisme [textes traduits, préparés et présentés par Mickaël Brohan, Jean-Pierre Goulard, Patrick Menget & Nathalie Petesch], CNRS éditions (coll. « Bibliothèque de l’anthropologie »), Paris. Métraux, Alfred, 2014, La religion des Tupinamba et ses rapports avec celle des autres tribus tupi-guarani [présentation de Jean-Pierre Goulard & Patrick Menget], PUF, Paris. Métraux, Alfred, [à paraître], Los urus (chipayas e iru-itus). Etnología y lingüística (Bolivia, 1930-1931) [Edición preparada y presentada por Mickaël Brohan, Jean-Pierre Goulard, Gilles Rivière & Pablo Sendón], Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos, La Paz. Compte-rendu : Capredon, Elise et Kohler, Florent, 2015, Compte-rendu de « La religion des Tupinamba et ses rapports avec celle des autres tribus tupi-guarani » et de « Écrits d’Amazonie. Cosmologies, rituels, guerre et chamanisme », Journal de la société des américanistes, 101-1 et 2, p.309-315. Colloques : Programme du colloque de Paris (2013) Programme du colloque de Recife (2014) Programme du colloque de Paris (2015)   AMRT Colloquia Participants French participants : Carmen Bernand (UPN, émérite), Mickaël Brohan (UPN), Simone Dreyfus (EHESS, émérite), Philippe Erikson (UPN, Lesc-Erea), Jean-Pierre Goulard (Cerma), Vincent Hirtzel (CNRS, Lesc-Erea), Dimitri Karadimas (CNRS, Las), Christine Laurière (CNRS, IIAC-Lahic), Monique Lévi-Strauss (émérite), Anne-Marie Losonczy (EPHE, Cerma), Chloé Maurel (Université de Caen), Patrick Menget (EPHE, émérite), Gilles Rivière(EHESS, Cerma), Fernande Schulmann Métraux (†), Anne-Christine Taylor (CNRS, MQB). Argentinian participants : Federico Bossert (Conicet), Lorena Córdoba (Conicet), Fernando Giobellina Brumana (Universidad de Cádiz), Daniel Loponte(Conicet-INAPL), Cecilia Martínez(Conicet), Rodrigo Montani(Conicet), Diana Rolandi (INAPL), Pablo Sendon(Conicet), Diego Villar (Conicet) Brazilian participants: Renato Athias(UFPE), Maria do Rosário Carvalho (UFBA), Julie Cavignac (UFRN), Antônio Motta(UFPE), Danilo Paiva Ramos(CESTA/USP), Márnio Teixeira Pinto(UFSC), Júlia Vilaça Goyatá (USP). Other participants (Suisse/Paraguay/USA) : Claude Auroi (IHEID, Genève), Daniel Métraux (Mary Baldwin College, Vermont), Gloria Scappini (Universidad Católica, Asunción).   Participant photo AMRT participants in Buenos Aires, Dember 4, 2015© Instituto Nacional de Antropología y Pensamiento Latinoamericano   Front row : Diego Villar, Philippe Erikson, Daniel Loponte Second r0w : Fernando Giobellina Brumana, Julia Vilaça Goyata, Lorena Córdoba, Anne-Marie Losonczy, Gloria Scappini, Catalina Saugy, Gilles Rivière Back row : Pablo Sendón, Cecilia Gómez, Federico Bossert, Vincent Hirtzel, Cecilia Martínez, Patrick Menget, Jean-Pierre Goulard, Rodrigo Montani, José Braunstein, Nicolás Kamienkowski, Nicolas Richard, Mickaël Brohan
  • Sawa
    Indigenous Wayana- Apalaí knowledge – A new approach to restitution and its implications for forms of transmissionThe goal of this project is the empowerment and restitution to the Wayanas and Apalaís of sound, film, and photographic collections documenting the knowledge of these indigenous people of Guyana. The project also proposes a reflection on restitution practices and their impact on the transmission of “traditional” knowledge. Its originality lies with the central role accorded the studied populations – a Wayana-Apalaí team is actively participating in the conception of the portal (the tool of restitution) as well as defining selections, modalities of analysis, and conditions of access to the data. Responding to local demand, the project includes collaboration with the Wayanas and Apalaís on a book documenting an important body of ritual chants and a study of Wayana museum collections, particularly those of the Quai Branly Museum, which holds ancient ritual objects referenced in the chants. The Amerindian Ethnological Teaching and Research Center is leading programs to develop audiovisual collections in collaboration with the societies being studied and this project will integrate the creation of modes of interactive distribution of synchronized sound and text along with multimedia links to texts and objects. The project unites domestic cluster partners (Laboratory of Ethnology and Comparative Sociology, Quai Branly Museum) with those in Guyana, Germany, and Brazil.   Funding Labex Les passés dans le présent   Partners LESC CNRS Université Paris Nanterre Musée du quai Branly Université de Bonn (Allemagne) Laboratoire d’Image et Son en Anthropologie (LISA) de l’Université de São Paulo (USP) (Brésil) Musée des Cultures guyanaises (MCG) à Cayenne Direction des Affaires culturelles (DAC) de Guyane Conseil Région de Guyane Association Ipê   Team Coordinators : Valentina Vapnarsky (LESC) et André Delpuech (musée du quai Branly) Lead researcher : Eliane Camargo (EREA/LESC)   Website http://passes-present.eu/fr/les-projets-de-recherche/connaissance-active-du-passe/savoirs-autochtones-wayana-apalai-guyane#.V0QWcdeJfuc
  • Prediction
    Prediction is an interdisciplinary project (incorporating archaeology, ethnology, ethnohistory) on the change and collective decision-making in times of crisis during classic, colonial, and post-colonial periods in Mayan societies.
  • GERM
    Germ : Group for the Teaching and Research on Mayans and Mesoamerica The Germ (Groupe d’enseignement et de recherche sur les Mayas et la Mésoamérique) is a research group specialized in Mayan studies and Mesoamerica. It was founded with the aim of bringing together researchers from various fields of the social sciences (archeology, ethnology, anthropology, epigraphy, ethnohistory, linguistics) to work on different projects concerning the Mayas, and later, Mesoamerica. The Germ develops activities of research, documentation, teaching and training. It is the main coordinator of the international network for scientific research "Ritual actions and time: Creation, destruction, transformation in Mesoamerica (2015-2018). It also hosts colleagues, post-doc and graduate students from French and international universities and research institutions. The Germ follows three main principles: the debate between and collaboration among disciplines, with special emphasis on fieldwork analysis; the comparison with nearby geographic and cultural areas, but also with more distant societies, and the sharing of knowledge through teaching activities, at the theoretical and empirical levels.   Coordinators Valentina Vapnarsky (LESC), Philippe Nondédéo (ArchAm), Perig Pitrou (LAS), Marie Chosson (INALCO)   Website http://germ.hypotheses.org/
  • Ritmo
    Creating, Destroying, Transforming in Mesoamerica: The Modalities of Ritual Actions and their Inscriptions in Time  This International Research Group (GDRI) joins together European, Mexican, and American partners, who reflect on the temporal dimension of ritual activity in past and contemporary Mesoamerican societies through a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective (incorporating archaeology, epigraphy, iconology, ethnohistory, ethnology, linguistics, and linguistic anthropology).
  • Fabriq'am
    The Fabric of Heritage: Memory, Knowledge, and Politics in Indigenous America Today This project elaborates a comparative reflection on the avatars of the exogenous notion of “cultural heritage” in Amerindian societies, the ways in which these societies take possession of their “heritage”, and the resulting transformations (regimes of temporality, the transmission of knowledge, visibility, etc.).



EREA MembersPicto erea


Le Centre EREA, anciennement unité autonome du CNRS, fondée en 1986, regroupe des spécialistes des sociétés amérindiennes, sur une aire qui s’étend des basses terres d’Amérique du Sud, particulièrement l’Amazonie, aux Andes et à la Mésoamérique. Développées dans le cadre de projets collectifs (hyperLIEN), les recherches explorent des perspectives comparatives et théoriques sur des thématiques diverses, tout en attribuant une place centrale à l’ethnographie. Impliquant souvent des approches interdisciplinaires, elles sont engagées dans les champs de l’anthropologie linguistique et cognitive, l’anthropologie politique, l’anthropologie visuelle ou encore l’ethnohistoire. Certains projets explorent d’autres formes de pluridisciplinarité, avec l’archéologie par exemple (hyper lien GERM).


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Dernières publications de l'EREA

  • Écritures nocturnes : régénération et circulation des écrits chez les Mayas Cruzo’ob
    Écritures nocturnes : régénéra...
    Écritures nocturnes : régénération et circulation des écrits chez les Mayas Cruzo’ob par Vapnarsky Valentina et Hilario Chi Canul Gradhiva, 32, 2021, p. 82-012 À partir de la découverte réce...
  • Restitution numérique, réappropriations amérindiennes – Journal de la Société des américanistes 106-2
    Restitution numérique, réappro...
    Restitution numérique, réappropriations amérindiennes par Valentina Vapnarsky et Philippe Erikson Journal de la Société des américanistes, 106-2 La généralisation du numérique a eu un impact...
  • Homo diplomaticus – Terrain 73
    Homo diplomaticus – Terrain 73
    Homo diplomaticus édité par Emmanuel de Vienne et Chloé Nahum-Claudel Terrain, 73, 2020 Alors que la diplomatie mondiale sert de plus en plus la puissance des États et de moins en moins un o...
  • Les savoirs amérindiens à l'heure du numérique: le projet collaboratif SAWA
    Les savoirs amérindiens à l'he...
    Les savoirs amérindiens à l'heure du numérique: le projet collaboratif SAWA Lettre d'information de l'InSHS, 65 (mai 2020), p. 8-11 La restitution physique d’objets collectés, souvent spolié...
  • Watau, eitoponpë ehema. Les chemins de la mémoire
    Watau, eitoponpë ehema. Les ch...
    Une exposition accompagnera le lancement du portail www.watau.fr, issu de plusieurs années de travail collaboratif réunissant une vaste équipe d’experts amérindiens et de chercheurs, conserv...