Albanian Anthropology

Smoki Musaraj is a graduate student doing research in Albania. I have been fascinated by Albania ever since I read a news story about how, at the end of the cold war, there were signs that Albania was “opening up” because they didn’t execute victims of a shipwreck who washed ashore (as they had done previously).

In a recent post Smoki explains why there are no anthropology departments in Albania.

I asked [the director of the National Albanian State Archive] why there is no Anthropology Department in the Academy given that there are so many ethnographers whom I am starting to discover through various institutes. He explained that while ethnography and ethnology were always part of the History Department, Anthropology as a discipline, according to the Communist academic doctrine was considered as an “American invention. Given that America, he said, was considered as a country without a history, Anthropology [always according to this official interpretation] was invented and fetishized to make up for the lack of culture and ethnos”.

Although there is no clear “about” page or individual author bios, it seems that blog.newanthro.net is another anthropology group blog of some kind, so add it to your bookmarks!

6 thoughts on “Albanian Anthropology

  1. It looks like they’re a bunch of grad students from the New School staying in touch with one another. On 24 May, Adeola Enigbokan found Savage Minds, and had this to say:

    Y0u thought we were the first group of anthro grad students getting in on the blogging craze?? Well you were wrong! Check this link out! Of course they’ve got a pretty corny name, and no pics, but hey, everyone can’t be us :D I wonder what school(s) they’re from?

    And your friend Smoki thinks they’re cooler than you. Sounds like it’s time for an anthro-blog throw-down…

  2. Yeah, that’s my department’s anthro site, actually. I’e been watching the site for a while, to see what they ended up doing with it — I’ve been out of the NEw School loop for so long, that most of the people involved are strangers to me.

  3. Weren’t there Soviet anthropologists? Or am I just thinking of Soviet ethnographers? Perhaps Albania’s split with the USSR was responsible for the absence of anthropologists in the country.

  4. hello everyone! First, I apologise if I started a weblog war. I didn’t intended it. It was meant mostly as a joke. I am actually happy that you guys have picked on our weblog which is really really new and experimental.
    About the Soviet ethnographers, there may well be as there are Albanians although Albania cut all ties to the Soviet block since the 60s. As I am discovering now however, Albanian ethnographers (who like to call themselves ethnologists rather) have a very narrow and nationalistic framework. All of them exist under the banner of the Institute of folklore (sometimes called Institute of Popular culture but it’s the same institution). What I was referring to also was the fact that there is no Anthropology department per se in Albania. there is only one course on ethnology under the History department.
    There has been a revival now but mostly from outsiders and’or students who still have not coalesced into some kind of cohesive institutional form. I hope this answers some of the questions.

  5. There is actually the only Albanian anthropologist, the only who deserves to be called so. It’s a pity Smoki didnt get in touch with him but normal at the same time as he moved to Albania only recently. His name is Albert Doja and you can contact me if you want further details.
    I’m a fan of finding out what informal ties are about :)

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