Vansina, Jan

Vansina, Jan (Maria Jozef)

(1929–  ) historian, cultural anthropologist, linguist; born in Antwerp, Belgium. He came to the U.S.A. to join the University of Wisconsin faculty in 1960. His fieldwork in Africa yielded studies of Bushoong grammar (1959) and historical studies of Rwanda (1962) and the Kuba of Zaire (1963, 1964). He pioneered in developing the field of oral history, based on interviews with people whose recollections can be recorded, and described the method in De la Tradition Orale (1961), subsequently revised and published in English as Oral Tradition as History (1985). His later works include Paths in the Rainforests (1990).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.