Our History

The history of Istituto Italiano di Antropologia is linked to Giuseppe Sergi (picture on the right), the founder of the Roman school of Anthropology. Born in Messina in 1841, he took part in Garibaldi's expedition to Sicily at the age of 19. After a training in the humanities - he studied law, linguistics and philosophy - he became interested in physics and anatomy and finally devoted himself to anthropology. He was a key figure in the early stages of development of the discipline in Italy. Called to teach Anthropology in the Science Faculty of the University of Rome in 1884, some temporary rooms were assigned to him in the Application School for Engineers of S. Pietro in Vincoli, in the city center.

From 1887 "The Institute lived its first years in the old building..." of the Roman college (picture on the left), where, as a cultural corollary, Giuseppe Sergi dedicated part of the Institute to the creation of an Anthropological museum. In the Roman college during the meeting of 4 June 1893 the promoting committee for the setting up of a scientific society (a "powerful and valid complement of the Universitary Institute of Anthropology") approved the statute of the Società Romana di Antropologia. The first and most enthusiastic supporter of this cultural operation was Giuseppe Sergi, elected President of the Society during the same meeting. In 1937, the Societa' Romana di Antropologia changed its title to "Istituto Italiano di Antropologia".

The "Atti della Società Romana di Antropologia", the official organ of the above-mentioned Society, immediately reflected in the first volume the spirit in which the society had been created i.e. diffuse the "culture of Man in its broadest sense", calling the "cultured Men of Italy and also foreigners" to participate in the writing of articles. In 1911 the Journal changed name to "Rivista di Antropologia". In 2004 the Journal took its current name: Journal of Anthropological Sciences (JASs). The JASs is now one of leading Journals in Anthropology and one of the most cited internationally, with a strong commitment to interdisciplinary approaches. It is currently published in diamond Open Access.

When the premises of the Istituto Italiano di Antropologia were transferred from the Roman College to the University of Rome "La Sapienza", at the end of 1938, the cultural activities were increased under the direction of Sergio Sergi, who had taken over from his father as Director of the Institute from 1916. Both the Società Romana di Antropologia and the Istituto Italiano di Antropologia have been leaded by important researchers coming from different anthropological fields, including, among the others, the malariologist Angelo Celli (1899 - 1900; up, left), the orientalist Giuseppe Tucci (1937-1940; up, right), the founder of genetics in Italy Giuseppe Montalenti (1981-1987, down, left), and the Nobel prize and pharmacologist Daniel Bovet (from 1978 to 1980 and 1988 to 1990; down, right).

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