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Riccardo Martinelli joins the Vossius Center for one months in December 2018 as a Research Fellow with the project "Savage sounds, civilized thoughts. Philosophy, music and modern anthropology".

About the project

Since the Eighteenth century, the term ‘anthropology’ has covered a manifold variety of philosophical and scientific projects. This is not uncommon: the same is true, for instance, of psychology, which later went through a process of institutionalization that marks the beginning of its scientific phase. Yet the case of anthropology is different: national scientific traditions have played here a crucial role. In fact, France and Germany were influenced by racial theories and by the ideal of an alleged scientifically neutral “human zoology”; by contrast, in England and in the U.S. scholars developed the eventually dominating methodology of cultural anthropology.

On closer inspection, however, the picture appears far less linear than that. On the one hand, in XIX century the national traditions were variously interwoven – one must not forget, for instance, that Franz Boas, the mentor of American cultural anthropology, was a German who had his scientific training in Germany; on the other, some apparently minor discipline, like the emerging ethnomusicology, significantly contributed to the definition of the identity of the main field of anthropology.

For all of these reasons, a new cross-disciplinary and meta-disciplinary approach is needed. The research project Savage sounds, civilized thoughts. Philosophy, music and modern anthropology aims at providing a fresh approach to the matter. The project consists of two main parts: 1) Methodology: The history of humanities and sciences 2) A case study: The partly unpublished Boas-Stumpf correspondence.

About the researcher

Riccardo Martinelli is Associate professor at the University of Trieste, Italy. His main research areas are History of philosophy, History of science and Philosophy of music.

His specialization areas are:

  • Philosophy and anthropology
  • Kant, German Idealism & Romanticism;
  • Phenomenology;
  • History of acoustics, history of ethnomusicology;
  • History of anthropology.