Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Dr. Branislava Sušnik and her contemporaries - ambassadors of Slovenian science in South America

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.03.02  Humanities  Anthropology  Social and cultural anthropology 

Code Science Field
S220  Social sciences  Cultural anthropology, ethnology 

Code Science Field
5.04  Social Sciences  Sociology 
History, Cultural History, Anthropology, Slovenian researchers, South America, Paraguay, Sušnik
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (5)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  06922  PhD Jasmina Markič  Linguistics  Researcher  2019 - 2020  604 
2.  20379  PhD Jernej Mlekuž  Culturology  Researcher  2019 - 2020  422 
3.  24014  PhD Aleksander Panjek  Historiography  Head  2019 - 2020  242 
4.  22414  PhD Jaka Repič  Anthropology  Researcher  2019 - 2020  371 
5.  09042  PhD Marija Mojca Terčelj  Ethnology  Researcher  2019 - 2020  259 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  98,244 
2.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  63,177 
3.  1822  University of Primorska, Faculty of Humanities  Koper  1810014001  9,883 
Project titled »Branislava Sušnik Ph.D. and contemporaries – the ambassadors of Slovene science in South America« will research the scientific work and life of Slovene anthropologist, etno-linguist and cultural historian, Branislava Sušnik and her influence on anthropology and history of Paraguay, worldwide and Slovenia. Comparative descriptions and analyses of work of other scientists of Slovenian origin working in South America will be included as well as analysis of historical and political circumstances in post-WWII Europe and South America.   Branislava Sušnik was born in 1920 in Medvode, Slovenia and died in 1996 in Asunción, Paraguay. She graduated from History in 1942 on Ljubljana University and then went to further studies to Vienna and Rome. From 1951 to 1996 she was head of ethnographic museum: Museo Etnográfico Andrés Barbero in Asunción. From 1976 she was also head of the department for American anthropology and ethnology at theUniversidad Nacional de Asunción (UNA). She ventured in numerous field researches of Paraguay indigenous groups, their culture, and languages. Results of her fieldwork were published in museum Andrés Barbero book collection (in this collection alone she contributed 50 titles). Some of her works were published also in the Slovene language within the Slovenian diaspora in Buenos Aires. She published also in Brasil and in the United States. Her work as museum curator was based on scientific research, systematic gathering of artifacts, their sorting, storage, and presentation. The synthesis of her field and scientific research is published in Los Indios del Paraguay, written together with anthropologist M. Chase Sardi and published in Madrid in 1992. The same year she was awarded national scientific award Premio Nacional de la Ciencia Paraguaya. The Paraguayan government assigned her the posthumous honorary title »Gran Oficial«, for her creative contribution to the science of Paraguay.  Conceptually project will be mainly concentrated around the scientific work of Branislava Sušnik Ph.D. Slovene researcher, and the scientific contribution of women who in the middle of 20th century deliberately overcome traditional division of genders, choose the role of independent researcher and in doing so became equal to her male colleagues, dominated in science of that time in Europe, and even much so in South America. She was one of the first female students within first generations studying history on Ljubljana University (established in 1919). Methodological guidelines, gathered at the Ljubljana University, are imprinted in her scientific work. They originated in the Vienna school of cultural history that through the theory of »cultural area« (kulturkreis) advocated cultural diffusionism. As a postgraduate student, she worked in the missionary training center in Mӧdling with professors Schmidt, Schebeste, and Gusinde which she later quoted in her works. All those studies gave her solid ground when already in Argentina, to confront theories of American historical migrations, advocated by Italian anthropologist Imbelloni. Through these debates, she formed her personal professional profile with upgrading methodological guidelines from studies with the studies of contemporary methodological guidelines. She based her work on the works of classics as well as contemporaries of American anthropology. Among the authors, most frequently quoted in her texts are Julian H. Steward, Alfred Métraux, Claud Lévi-Strauss, Guido Boggiani, Bartolomeu Melía, Herbert Baldus, Ruth Benedict, Bronislav Malinowski.   The project will be the first in Slovenia to seriously evaluate her scientific work. Based on the review of her scientific and research texts some key publications will be analyzed and compared to the works of her contemporaries. Procejt will also include the analysis of her fieldwork documentation and her personal archive, gathered between 1951 and 1975, and evaluate the ethnographical collection. The project a
Significance for science
The project is relevant for the development of a few Slovenian humanistic sciences, for the strengthening of cultural and scientific cooperation with South America and for exchange of knowledge in the field of protection of cultural heritage. It has also immense importance in promoting our country worldwide. Scientific and cultural diplomacy are the best actors in promoting the economic and political relationship. We anticipate that the project will activate more vivid cooperation of the Republic of Slovenia with the Republic of Paraguay and with the wider geopolitical space of Mercosur. We also anticipate that the outcomes of the project, namely scientific publication, international conference, and the exhibition of life and work of Branislava Sušnik, will open the possibility for new bilateral agreements in the fields of science and cultural cooperation and enhance diplomatic and business ties between our two countries The project will also contribute to the comparison of existing studies and evaluation  of the role and possibilities for the women in science. Last but not least, the results of the project should contribute to the rehabilitation of Branislava Sušnik. Her scientific and research opus is known and recognized in professional circles of America and especially in South America. In Paraguay, she is a highly respected person even among the broader population. The foundation Andrés Barbero named the prestigious award for exceptional achievements in Paraguayan science after her. The Paraguayan post office edited posthumously stamp with her picture on it. But it is a sad fact that even in professional circles of Slovenia her work is rarely known. It is time, and a hundred years after her birth is the best occasion that, we in Slovenia also reevaluate her work and scientific achievements. Her studies at Ljubljana University gave her a solid foundation on which she was able to build her international recognition. Slovenian state and science could build on that fact its own promotion. The project has relevance for the advancement of following humanistic sciences: ethnology, anthropology, cultural history, and ethnolinguistics. These sciences till now overlooked Sušnik's contribution. It is expected that based on the results of the project his gap in their otherwise historically correct reviews of their methodological development will be filled. It is also expected that conference will contribute to the more accurate evaluation of Slovenian scientist living in the diaspora.The project will encourage a more balanced evaluation of scientists, both coming from central or from more peripheral scientific centers. Slovenian anthropology is still preferring Anglo-American scientists over quality achievements of their own researches. Every student of anthropology today knows American anthropologist Margaret Mead and her field research among indigenous people. But nobody is notified with the fact that only twenty years after Mead, Branislava Sušnik performed even more extensive research and field work among indigenous people of Grad Chaco and the Paraguayan tropics, using the main stream method of observation with participation and knowing at least ten of their different languages. Her methods brought her fame among American anthropologists. The project will thus show that Slovenian American scientist can be freely put aside to the best world recognized anthropologists and cultural historians.
Significance for the country
The project has broader socio-economic relevance. The results will activate more vivid cooperation of the Republic of Slovenia with the Republic of Paraguay and with the wider geopolitical space of Mercosur. We anticipate that the outcomes of the project, namely scientific publication, international conference, and the exhibition of life and work of Branislava Sušnik, will open the possibility for new bilateral agreements in the fields of science and cultural cooperation and enhance diplomatic and business ties between our two countries. In addition, the exhibition at the Slovene Ethnographic Museum, November 2020 will contribute to informing the widest Slovenian public about the contribution of Dr. Branislav Sušnik. The exhibition will be complemented by workshops for school children and youngsters, lectures for a broader audience, animations, cultural events, and concerts, as well as workshops to research the possibility of a widening of economic cooperation between two countries. The project will enhance the interntional relationship, work in State Administration and promotion of Slovenia in Latino-American states.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2019, 2020
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2019, 2020
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