It is more than half a century since Frederick G. G. Rose (1915-1991) published his classic text, The classification of kin, age structure and marriage amongst the Groote Eylandt Aborigines: A study in method and a theory of kinship (1960) in the former German Democratic Republic. Although the fieldwork for his thesis had been carried out in Australia on Groote Eylandt in 1938 and 1941, a conservative academic establishment and the political climate of the Cold War postponed its publication until 1960. Why were Rose's fieldwork findings suppressed by the powerful gate-keeper of Australian anthropology, Professor Adolphus Peter Elkin (1891-1979)? Moreover, why was Rose later denied a government permit to revisit Groote Eylandt and Central Australia to further his research? This paper examines the early work of the communist anthropologist, Frederick Rose, within the broad context of Western post-war anthropological developments, an expanding capitalist economy and the political tensions of the Cold War era. As a communist and public servant from 1938 to 1954, Rose was forced, after the Petrov Royal Commission cast him under a cloud of suspicion, to seek institutional support for his academic career in the German Democratic Republic.
- Cold War
- Frederick Rose