Caro Baroja, Julio

Caro Baroja, Julio
b. 1914, Madrid; d. 1995, Vera de
   Bidasoa (Navarre)
   Anthropologist, ethnographer and historian Caro Baroja's writings embrace social anthropology, ancient history, popular culture, and ethnic minorities. Primarily a historical anthropologist, he maintains an undogmatic perspective on culture and society. Son of a publisher father and intellectual mother, his uncle, the novelist Pío Baroja powerfully influenced his intellectual development. Early education at the progressive Instituto Escuela was followed by university in pre-Civil War Madrid. However, at Pío Baroja's instigation he also studied with the Basque ethnographer, José Miguel de Barandiarán. After a doctorate in history (1941) from Madrid University, he briefly taught there in the 1940s, conscious of his family's perceived heterodoxy at a time when the universities were under the prevailing influence of the Falange. Initial publications focus on the ethnic variety of Spain, at odds with the state's insistence on unity: Los pueblos de España. Ensayo de etnología (The Peoples of Spain: An Essay in Ethnography) (1946); Los vascos. Etnología (The Basques: Ethnography) (1949). Recognition came in the 1960s, with membership of the Royal Academy of History (1963). His sceptical, ironic, often pessimistic nature found more channels of expression after Franco's death. Despite a large output of books and articles, his lack of association with a recognized seat of learning meant that he created no school. Genu-inely modest and rejecting the cult of personality, his inherent humanism affected many who came into contact with him. Teaching at Coimbra University (1957–60) and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris (1960) heralded a period of great productiveness. His historical study of witchcraft, The World of the Witches (Las brujas y su mundo) (1961), combining religion, superstition and popular culture, was widely translated (English, French and German). There followed El carnaval. (Análisis histórico-cultural) (Carnival: Historical and Cultural Analysis) (1965) and Vidas mágicas e Inquisición (Magical Lives and the Inquisition) (1967). A pioneer in popular culture— embracing folklore, popular customs, rituals, and beliefs—he illuminatingly explored chapbook literature and the presence of magic in the theatre: Ensayo sobre la literatura de cordel (Essay on Chapbook Literature) (1969), and Teatro popular y magia (Popular Theatre and Magic) (1974). Parallel studies probed ethnic minorities and varieties of belief: Los judíos en la España moderna y contemporánea (The Jews in Modern and Contemporary Spain) (1961–2); Las formas complejas de la vida religiosa. Religión, sociedad y carácter en la España de los siglos XVI y XVII (The Complex Forms of Religious Life: Religion, Society and Character in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Spain) (1978). His output remained prolific up to his death.
   Major works
   Caro Baroja, J. (1961) Las brujas y su mundo, Madrid: Revista de Occidente (historical anthropology).
   —— (1964) The World of the Witches, trans. N. Glendinning, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
   Further reading
   - Caro Baroja, J. and Flores Arroyuelo, F.J. (1991) Conversaciones en Itzea, Madrid: Alianza (conversations on the author's life and thought).
   - Carreira, A. (1994) "La obra de Julio Caro Baroja. Ensayo de clasificación temática", Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos 533–4:9–31(thematically structured listing of JCB's writings).

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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