Age, sex, and generation in the work of ethnologist Denise Paulme in Côte d’Ivoire in the 1960s

By Marianne Lemaire


Based on a set of sixty-seven letters written by ethnologist Denise Paulme to her husband André Schaeffner between 1964 and 1968, while she was on various field trips to Côte d’Ivoire, this article examines the effects of the investigator’s age and sex on her research, as well as her position as an elder among the Africanist researchers present in Abidjan during this period. It shows the evolution, from one generation to the next, of field survey methods, and the difficulty for a woman to transform a position as an elder into a position of scientific authority in the eyes of younger male colleagues.


  • Denise Paulme
  • Claude-Hélène Perrot
  • History of anthropology
  • Gender
  • Age
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