SELIGMAN, Charles Gabriel

SELIGMAN, Charles Gabriel (until 1914 Seligmann). London 24.12.1873 — 19.1.1940. British Anthropologist. Originally a physician (pathologist), soon interested in anthropology. The only child of Hermann S., a wine merchant, and Olivian Mendez da Costa, a middle class Jewish family. Educated at St.Paul’s school. Studied pathology in London (M.D.), then worked as physician. Interested in tropical diseases he joined in 1898 an anthropological expedition to New Guinea and now took anthropology. Second expedition to New Guinea 1904. Married 1905 Brenda Zara Salaman (—> Br. Z. Seligman), with whom he then collaborated. In 1907-08 they were in Ceylon at government invitation and studied Veddas. Later fieldwork in Sudan (1909-10, 1911-12, 1921-22). From 1910 Lecturer and 1913 Professor of Ethnology at London School of Economics (part-time). Retired in 1934 because of ill health and disagreements with his former student Bronislav Malinowski.

In their collaboration he concentrated on physical anthropology, archaeology and history, while her wife worked on kinship and social organization, a common interest was religion and magic. Much of his work is completely antiquated because of his “scientific racism”.

Publications: With Brenda Z. Seligmann: The Veddas. 19+463 p. 71 ill. Cambridge 1911; article “Veddas” in E.R.E. 12, 1921.

– “Notes on recent work among the Vẹddás”, JRAS-CB 21:61, 1908, 73-84, 1 map; “Quartz Implements from Ceylon”, Man 8, 1908, 113-116; “Note on the ‘Bandar’ Cult of the Kandyan Sinhalese”, Man 9, 1909, 130-134; “Further Note on Bird-Chariots in Europe and China”, JRAnthrInst 58, 1928, 247-254, pl. XX-XXIII; small notes in Man.

Much on New Guinea, Africa, etc., early works on pathology and physiology.

Sources: M. Fortes, Man 41, 1941, 1-6 with photo; *F.J. West, Oxford D.N.B.; *Who Was Who 1929-1940; Wikipedia with portrait.

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