|ANTHROPOLOGIST'S KNOWLEDGE||JEAN CUISENIER'S BIOGRAPHY :|
|(texte français: cliquez ici)|
|Two lives for one. An intellectual life as an academic, an author and a general editor of periodicals and books. And a life devoted to scientific research, to field work and to nautical expeditions.|
Born in 1927 in Paris, Jean Cuisenier was raised in a family of academic people. He grew in the dual tradition of the French Civil Service, and of the faraway sailing expedition. He read philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and obtained "agregation" and "doctorate". He taught philosophy in Caen (1950-1954), in Carthago then at the Institute of Advanced Studies of Tunis (1954-1959). Back to France, he enters the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, department of sociology, in Paris (1960).
He was a Raymond Aron's assistant at the Centre de sociologie européenne (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris), from 1960 to 1967. Recommended by Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jean Cuisenier was appointed by André Malraux to the head of the new Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires and the head of the Centre d'Ethnologie Française (1968-1985). During this period, he was the general commissionner of many exhibitions, including two for the National Galleries of Grand Palais in Paris, Hier pour Demain, Art, Tradition et Patrimoine (Yesterday for Tomorrow, Art, Tradition and Heritage), 1970, and Costume Coutume (Costume Custom), 1988.
In the same time, Jean Cuisenier led long term scientific researches in Romania, in the Carpathes (1972-1999), in Bulgaria in the Pirin mountains (1989-1996), in Macedonia (1995-1997), in the Holy Mountain, the mount Athos (1996). He launched a sailing expedition in the Mediterranean Sea in search of nautical routes referred by Homer in his Odyssey and simultaneously worked on the empirical knowledges of fishers and sailors of nowadays.
A member of the board of the International Union of the Anthropological and Ethnological sciences (1968-1984), a President (1979-1981) then Vice-President (1981-1985) of the International Society of Europaean Ethnology and Folklore, a President (1981-1986), then an Honorary President (1986) of the French Society of Agricultural Museums, a member or the Societé d'Ethnologie Française, Jean Cuisenier is also a fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge U.K., and an associate member of the Royal Academia de Ciences Morales y Politicas, Madrid. Jean Cuisenier is the general editor of the quarterly publication Ethnologie Française and of the series of books Ethnologies (Paris, Presses Universitaires de France), Récits et contes populaires (Paris, Gallimard), L'architecture rurale française (A.Die), Le Mobilier Régional Français (Paris, Réunion des Musées Nationaux).
Among his chief personal publications (see bibliography), it must be quoted Economie et Parenté (Paris La Haye), French Folk Art (Kodansha International), La Maison Rustique, logique sociale et composition architecturale, Le Feu Vivant, la parenté et ses rituels dans les Carpathes, Les Noces de Marko, le rite et le mythe en pays bulgare (Paris, Presses Universitaires de France). In his recent book Mémoire des Carpathes, he gives a vivid relation of his thirty years of anthropological and ethnological field researches in the Carpathian mountains.
Jean Cuisenier has his old family residence in Normandy, at Bernières-sur-mer, an ancient gallo-roman harbour which fell into the saxon power, then into the Viking domination. From this coast in latin called litus saxonicum including Bernieres, Duke Wilhelm ordered to build boats to cross the Channel and conquest the anglo-saxon realm facing Normandy. In this historical place, a church was founded by the bishop Odon, Wilhelm's brother. Here, old fishermen and sailors taught Jean Cuisenier the empirical fishing technics and nautical practices. Here he planned his Mediterranean sailing expeditions with his Norman friends.
Professional postal adress : Revue Ethnologie Française, Centre d'ethnologie française, 6, route du Mahatma-Gandhi, 75116 Paris, France.
For more information on JC's publications, see detailed bibliography.