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Claudi Esteva i Fabregat

Date of investiture:
10 November 2017
Joan Prat and Àngel Martínez
Area of knowledge:

On 10 November 2017 the Universitat Rovira i Virgili awarded the anthropologist Claudi Esteva a posthumous honorary degree for his scientific achievements as the father of anthropology in Spain and Catalonia.

Claudi Esteva Fabregat trained as an anthropologist at the National School of Anthropology and History of Mexico while he was in exile and, on his return to Madrid in the 1950s, founded the School of Anthropological Studies, the first institution of cultural anthropology in Spain, and in 1972 he set up the Department of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Barcelona. He was responsible for introducing cultural anthropology into the Spanish and Catalan universities, and for training the teachers.

Two of his pupils from different generations, the URV lecturers Joan Prat and Àngel Martínez, jointly presented the laudatio. For Joan Prats, the new discipline represented a "breath of fresh air that opened the doors to diversity" in the drab times of Franco. "Understanding and accepting that the dry-stone walls built by the local villagers are culture just as Dvorak's New World's Symphony is was a discovery of the first order", he added.

Àngel Martínez referred to the "intellectual rigour and power, the creative imagination, the stimulation that generated in others interpretations, thoughts and reflections, but also the passion to transmit knowledge that we could call charisma". All these traits meant that he was deservedly known as the master.