Short Portrait: Bernhard Ankermann

Bernhard Ankermann
Bernhard Ankermann

Bernhard Ankermann was born inTapiau/ East Prussia in 1859.

After finishing his PhD thesis Ankermann took up an assistant position at the Department for Africa at the Ethnological Museum Berlin (formerly: Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde) in 1896. At this time Adolf Bastian was head chairman of the museum.

Between 1907 and 1909 Ankermann collected ethnographic material in Cameroon. In 1910 he became custodian of the Department for Africa, in 1917 its chairman. Moreover, Ankermann was member of the Berlin Society of Anthropology, Ethnology and Early History (Berliner Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, Ethnologie und Urgeschichte, BGAEU).

Ankermann opposed the theoretical assumptions of unilinear evolutionism and advocated a rather historical and diffusionist approach in anthropological research. He emphasized the existence of several cultural regions throughout the world and therefore was a representative of Kulturkreislehre. Hermann Baumann was among his students.

Bernhard Ankermann died in Berlin in 1943.
(This text by Vincenz Kokot (2011)  based on Alsayad/Seiler (eds.) 2005: Ethnologen-Lexikon. Berlin: WeißenseeVerlag, by courtesy of WeißenseeVerlag and Sibylle Alsayad)

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