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Hilma Granqvist: A Scholar of the Westermarck School in its Decline

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Hilma Granqvist was educated at Helsinki University in the tradition of the Westermarck School. The topic of her dissertation 'Women in the Old Testament' led her to carry out fieldwork in Palestine. Between 1925 and 1931 she carried out fieldwork in the village of Artas, in all a 3-year period. Her radical decision to study only one village and thereby restrain from wider comparisons severed her relationship with her supervisor. Consequently she could not present her thesis at Helsinki University. Westermarck allowed her to defend it at Åbo Akademi University in January 1932. He acted as her opponent even though he was just retiring from his professorship there. In Granqvist's dissertation on marriage conditions in Artas, as well as in her other publications, methods that combined statistics, participant observation and commentaries by local people were used. This combination made her able to distinguish between the ideal and the actual. Hilma Granqvist became the victim of a stagnating scientific school. Her academic career was totally blocked in Finland. Although she received international recognition, she had to work alone without support and encouragement.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2000

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