AMRT site

AMRT site

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.



PICS franco-argentin, CNRS/Conicet (2013-2015)



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] ;
  • 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 :


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

IMG 5452 copia Participants BA

IMG 5452 copia Participants BA
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

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