Isaac Schapera 1905–2003

Adam Kuper

in Proceedings of the British Academy Volume 130, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, IV

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263501
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734212 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Isaac Schapera 1905–2003

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Isaac Schapera (1905–2003), a Fellow of the British Academy, spent the second half of his long life in London but remained very much a South African. His parents immigrated to South Africa at the turn of the century from what is now Belarus, and settled in Garies, a small town in the semi-desert district of Little Namaqualand, in the Northern Cape. As an undergraduate at the University of Cape Town, Schapera was introduced to ‘British social anthropology’ by A. R. Radcliffe-Brown, one of the founding fathers of the discipline, the other being Bronislaw Malinowski. He then became one of the first members of Malinowski’s post-graduate seminar at the London School of Economics. Towards the end of his career, Schapera preferred to describe himself as an ethnographer rather than as an anthropologist. His research in the 1930s and 1940s was distinguished by a concern with ‘social change’, a focus endorsed in South Africa by Malinowski in London.

Keywords: Isaac Schapera; South Africa; University of Cape Town; social anthropology; A. R. Radcliffe-Brown; Bronislaw Malinowski; social change; London School of Economics

Chapter.  10997 words. 

Subjects: Theory, Methods, and Historiography

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