Malinowski and the Alps- Anthropological and Historical Perspectives

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Tucked away in the Italian Alps, in the town of Oberbozen-Soprabolzano lies the villa that the family of Bronislaw Malinowski and his first wife, Elsie Masson, called home from 1922 to 1935. Yet Malinowski himself never wrote about South Tyrol or the Alps in general. This volume features a series of essays that explicitly ponder Malinowski’s intriguing influence on Alpine anthropology: Despite not having worked directly in or on the Alps, he nonetheless left anthropological traces through the works of others. The Malinowski Forum for Ethnography (MFEA) aims to uncover the ineffable presence in Alpine anthropology of Malinowski, a founder of modern social anthropology.

Newly Available in Open Access

First International Conference of the Histories of Anthropologies


RAI-Royal Anthropological Institute Centenary Symposium: Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown

Thursday 24 November 2022,  10am – 6.00pm (GMT) 


Ethnocafé- AFFANNI DI FAMIGLIA: Strutture, destrutture, mutazioni

Yale Macmillan Center- Two people, One Career

Gender and Genre in Ethnographic Writing, Tauber, Elisabeth, Zinn, Dorothy L. (Eds.). Palgrave Macmillan

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This book provides new insights into an intense and long-standing debate on women, gender, and masculinity with an explicit focus on ethnographic writing. The six contributors to this book investigate and discuss the multiple connections between ethnographic writing and gender in both the history of anthropology and contemporary anthropology, underlining problems, potentialities, stereotypes, experiments, continuities, changes, and challenges. Building on a prologue by two Malinowski grandchildren and an exploration of the role that Bronislaw Malinowski’s first wife, Elsie Masson, played in his literary presentation, the anthropologists collected here problematize writing gender and gendered writing in ethnography, revealing how these twin themes touch the history of the discipline itself and the classics of anthropology. Has the legacy of Writing Culture and Women Writing Culture obviated the need to consider gender in writing? Or could it be that the very mechanics of ethnographic writing are still imbued with hidden gendered divisions of labor?  Following the editors’ extensive overview of the question, the contributing authors tackle gender and ethnographic writing from various vantages: with a view to the past, but also to the influence of previous feminist critiques in the present, and with accounts of the issues they themselves have faced and the solutions they have devised.


Seminars series Cultures of Mountain Peoples in Comparative Perspective

Online: May-July 2021 – In presence: September-December 2021

The series of seminars is organised by the Faculty of Education of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (unibz) and the MFEA-The Malinowski Forum for Ethnography and Anthropology (unibz), in collaboration with the Anthropological Association South Tyrol (EVAA) and the Museo degli Usi e Costumi della Gente Trentina, with the contribution of the Stiftung Südtiroler Sparkasse.

The seminar meetings explore the possibility of connecting the sociocultural experiences of inhabitants in different mountain areas, both from the Alpine region and from non-European regions. The invited speakers will present and discuss their research on anthropological, historical, and geographical aspects of the different cultures of mountain peoples, reflecting on the value of the comparative perspective and discussing these issues with the audience.


MFEA-EVAA Ethnocafé

The MFEA-Malinowski Forum for Ethnography and Anthropology and EVAA-the Anthropological Association South are pleased to invite you to the Ethnocafé by Dr. Valentina Fusari on mixed unions, genealogical resources and migration dynamics in colonial and postcolonial Eritrea, on 18 December at 6 p.m. online in Italian language.

More information here.


The MFEA-Malinowski Forum for Ethnography and Anthropology, and EVAA-the Anthropological Association South are pleased to invite you to the socio-cultural anthropology seminar by Dr. Federica Toldo on ritual and kinship relationality within three Angolan dances in connection to the history of slavery in this country, on 11 December at 5 p.m. online in Italian language.

More information here.

The Malinowskis in South Tyrol: A Relational Biography of People, Places and Works in Bérose – Encyclopédie internationale des histoires de l’anthropologie

Daniela Salvucci, Elisabeth Tauber & Dorothy L. Zinn, 2019. The Malinowskis in South Tyrol: A Relational Biography of People, Places and Works, in Bérose – Encyclopédie internationale des histoires de l’anthropologie, Paris.

This article draws on biographical and bibliographical sources, as well as on archival data, in order to examine two under-investigated and intertwined aspects of the life and career of Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942): his working collaboration with his first wife, the Australian writer and journalist Elsie Masson (1890-1935), and their connection to South Tyrol (Northern Italy), where they lived in 1920s and 1930s and where they purchased a house that is still in the family. We aim to highlight the biographical relationality between the Malinowskis, some of their friends, relatives and colleagues, the places they inhabited, the houses in which they dwelled and the works they produced in that period and left to us. The research upon which this essay is based was conducted under the aegis of the Malinowski Forum for Ethnography and Anthropology (MFEA), coordinated by Dorothy Zinn and Elisabeth Tauber with the scientific collaboration of Daniela Salvucci at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano.

ANUAC vol 7 n 2 (2018) The Malinowskian legacy in ethnography

Elisabeth Tauber, Dorothy L. Zinn, 2018. Back on the verandah and off again: Malinowski in South Tyrol and his ethnographic legacy, in ANUAC Rivista della società italiana di antropologia culturale, Vol 7, n. 2, pp. 9-25

This essay introduces Anuac’s thematic section on Malinowski from two perspectives. The first part looks at Malinowski and Elsie Masson’s life in South Tyrol, contemplating the historical-political context of the region and bringing to light the Malinowski family’s presence and relations in the local setting. The verandah of the villa in Oberbozen is the starting point for a panoramic look on the land and its people, serving as a frame for a reconsideration of Malinowski. The second part traces the development of Malinowski Forum for Ethnography and Anthropology (MFEA) at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, a project that since 2016 has been bringing to light new knowledge about the Malinowskis’ presence in South Tyrol. The Malinowski Forum is the backdrop to a Symposium that stimulated the articles presented here, with the aim of reflecting on ethnography today in terms of its continuities and discontinuities with respect to the canon established by Malinowski nearly a century ago.

Helena Malinowska Wayne (17 May 1925 – 31 March 2018)

Helena Paula Wayne, 1953

On behalf of the staff of MFEA-The Malinowski Forum for Ethnography and Anthropology project, we honour the memory of Helena Wayne, née Malinowska, who recently died in Brighton, England, at the age of 92.

Helena Malinowska was the third, and last surviving, daughter of the Polish social anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski and his wife, the Australian journalist Elsie Masson. She was born in Bolzano-Bozen in 1925.

Her work and research deeply inspired the MFEA project, prompting us to investigate the life and work not only of Bronislaw Malinowski but also of Elsie Masson, and their strong connection to South Tyrol.