29.11.2018 - 14:41

Introducing the unique archive of anthropologist Hilma Granqvist

The Swedish-speaking Finn Hilma Granqvist (1890–1972) was one of the pioneers in modern anthropology and her fieldwork in Palestine during the 1920s and 30s have gained worldwide attention. Her research material has been in great demand, although it is difficult to access.  It is now being made available for readers and scholars in a digital archive.

Granqvist studied life cycle events in the Palestinian village of Artas during the 1920s and the 30s, a field work that produced five extensive volumes on the world view of Arab Muslims. Her documentation of a disappearing Palestinian society during a politically turbulent time, as well as her records on the local Arab dialect, have proven to be invaluable. Granqvist’s unique insight into the everyday life of Palestinian women still today offers an exceptional source for research.

Granqvist was an early, independent adapter of the method participant observation, a method that at the time was still being developed by Bronislaw Malinowski. She participated in all aspects of village life, festivities, work and daily chores, becoming an integral part of the community and was welcomed to observe the domains of both men and women. A multilingual combination of interviews, informant stories and participant observation form the framework of Granqvist’s work, with notes in Arabic, Swedish, English and German.

The archival material is being published step by step, and will include Granqvist’s travel diaries, field notes, letters, photographs, and published books. On November 29, 2018, the first part will be released, comprising the travel diaries, written in Swedish, from Granqvist’s second field work in Palestine 1930-1931 and her doctoral thesis Marriage Conditions in a Palestinian Village I–II. In addition, the life and work of Granqvist is presented in an article by the historian and Egyptologist Sofia Häggman. The digital archive is a collaboration between the Society of Swedish Literature in Finland, the Finnish Institute in the Middle East, The Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters, The Palestine Exploration Fund (London) and Åbo Akademi University Library.

The material is freely available and is published on the website granqvist.sls.fi.

We kindly invite you to share this release with your contacts and within your organisation.