In 1977 Croatian anthropologists founded the Croatian Anthropological Society and the journal Collegium Antropologicum. Later on, in 1992 they established the first scientific and educational institution of this kind in Croatia, the Institute for Anthropological Research. This review is primarily intended for young anthropologists and other colleagues in Croatia and all over the world to get an insight into the amount of enthusiasm and efforts, joined by a chronic lack of financial means and frequently infinite and unnecessary waste of time, needed for the establishment of a scientific discipline such as anthropology in this part of the Europe during the last three decades. Over such a long period, there are so many people who have made contributions to the achievements enumerated in this text that it would be impossible to mention them all. We are particularly grateful to numerous colleagues and dear friends from other countries who have provided throughout the whole period much moral and intellectual support.

The foundation of the Croatian Anthropological Society in 1977 was preceded by a number of activities that paved the way for the institutionalized anthropological work in Croatia. The public promotion of anthropology as a science distinguished from other social sciences and humanities (e.g., ethnology, sociology, linguistics, archaeology, philosophy, psychology, demography, etc.) as well as natural sciences (e.g. biology and medicine) by its differentia specifica, began as early as 1970’s. Since the idea of anthropology as a social and cultural science encountered great opposition in Croatia, it was decided to promote it within the field of natural and medical sciences (based on the classical European division into “physical”, “biological” or “biomedical” and “social” or “cultural” anthropology). However, the “pioneers” of anthropology in Croatia were quite aware of the breadth of anthropology and made it clear at that time that they considered it a uniquely holistic scientific discipline studying both human biological and cultural diversity.

In early 1970’s, anthropologists in Europe (including G. Olivier and J. Hiernaux from France, D.F. Roberts from Great Britain, J. Huizinga and A. Eriksson from The Netherlands, N. Wolanski from Poland, R. Knussman from Germany, B. Chiarelli from Italy, H. Maver and P. Rudan from Croatia, etc.) started the initiative for the foundation of the European Anthropological Association (EAA) at the level of European universities and anthropological institutions. The activities related to this goal lasted for approximately five years.

The year 1974 was particularly important for the development of anthropology in Croatia, as theSection for Biological Anthropology was founded within the Croatian Medical Association. In the same year, the first international workshop School of Biological Anthropology was organized in Zagreb, and have since then, been held annually for 28 years up to this date. All the lectures presented at the workshops have been published. H. Maver acted as the President,P. Rudan as the Secretary General while the staff of today’s Institute for Anthropological Research acted as a members of the Organizing Committee. In spite of its title, the School has covered different fields of anthropology, and has provided information on current developments in anthropology for interested undergraduate and graduate students, as well as for specialists of various backgrounds.

In 1975, the first book of the Anthropological Library was published. A total of 13 educational books have been published till now dealing with current methods in anthropological research. This anthropological library has later been extended to include scientific books dedicated to different themes in anthropology.

On October 6, 1976, the international scientific organization European Anthropological Association was founded in Zagreb, with G. Olivier (France) as the President, H. Maver(Croatia), D.F. Roberts (Great Britain) and J. Huizinga (The Netherlands) as its Vice-Presidents, while a number of other scientists from Croatia including the present senior anthropologists at the Institute for Anthropological Research (P. Rudan, B. Janićijević, N. Smolej, A. Sujoldžić) were among the founding members of this association.

The First Congress of the EAA was held in Zagreb (September 1-3, 1977). The Congress was organized by the Croatian Organizing Committee wherein H. Maver acted as the President, P. Rudan as the Secretary General, A. Sujoldžić, Z. Grgić and Lj. Schmutzer as Secretaries and B. Macarol (Janićijević) as the Treasurer. On the occasion of the First Congress of European Anthropologists, the first issue of the international journal Collegium Antropologicum was published. The journal is cited in Current Contents, Social Science Citation Index, and in a number of other citation journals. During the past twenty five years over 1100 scientific articles and professional papers have been published in the journal.

At the same time, as proposed of the incipient committee consisting of A. S. Lazarević, J. Kallay,H. Maver, M. Mimica, G. Pilarić, Ž. Prebeg, P. Rudan, B. Štampar-Plasaj, Lj. Zergollern-Čupakand S. Urban, the Inaugural Assembly of the Croatian Anthropological Society took place in Zagreb. The Society was founded on December 28, 1977. H. Maver was elected as its first President, A. S. Lazarević, A. Hošek-Momirović and M. Malez as Vice-Presidents, P. Rudan as the Secretary General, A. Sujoldžić, Z. Grgić and Lj. Schmutzer as Secretaries, and B. Macarol (Janićijević) as the Treasurer. The Board of Trustees consisted of M. Kovačević, M. Mimica andB. Štampar-Plasaj. The members of the Society’s Court of Honor were: J. Kallay, R. Medved andS. Urban. During the past three decades, the Society has been engaged in the promotion and development of anthropology in Croatia in many ways.

In 1992, after the international recognition of the Republic of Croatia, a public scientific institution, the Institute for Anthropological Research of the University of Zagreb (later theInstitute for Anthropological Research) of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of Croatia, was founded and P. Rudan appointed Director of the Institute. The scientific work at the Institute is carried out through the following departments: Department of Anthropological Biometrics (N. Smolej-Narančić, head), Department of Anthropological Linguistics and Sociocultural Research (A. Sujoldžić, head), Department of Human Ecology(J. Miličić, head), Department of Medical Anthropology (P. Rudan, head), Department of Mathematical Modeling and Biostatistics (J. Miličić, head) and Department of Population Genetics (B. Janićijević, head), Department of Anthropological Archaeology (S. Forenbaher, head). Apart from its scientific departments, the Institute also houses a Documentation Service and Administrative Services. The Institute’s library, along with the regular acquisitions of the former Department of Anthropology, includes donations by J. Weiner, G. Harrison and D.F. Roberts (Great Britain), and P.T. Baker, R.M. Garruto and C.D. Gajdusek (USA).

The Bishop’s Ordinariate of Hvar offered a bishopric building on the main square of the city of Hvar as the premises for the future dislocated part of the Institute which should, under the name of the International Institute for Advanced Studies in Anthropology – Hvar function as the seat of international scientific and educational meetings on different problems related to anthropology as natural, medical, social and humanistic science, as well as on specific topics in human ecology.

Basing the scientific and research strategy of the Institute on rich experiences from various international centers, as well as on our own, the scientific and research work carried out within the Institute for Anthropological Research and its departments encompasses the studies of the following problems:

  • Medical Anthropology
  • Biological Anthropology
  • Human Ecology
  • Population Genetics
  • Anthropological Biometrics
  • Physiological Anthropology
  • Anthropological Anatomy
  • Dental Anthropology
  • Psychodynamic Anthropology
  • Socio-cultural Anthropology
  • Linguistic Anthropology
  • Anthropo-Geographics Historical Anthropology
  • Mathematical Modeling & Biostatistics
  • Applied Anthropology
  • Ergonomics
  • Biomechanics
  • Occupational Medicine
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Prevention
  • Social Medicine
  • Forensics
  • Archaeology
  • General ecology
The scientific and research activities of the Institute encompass numerous aforementioned scientific areas of research. Scientists of the Institute cooperate with colleagues from other institutes and faculties in Croatia and other countries through joint work on various research projects (see Collaborating Institutions page). The basis of our scientific and research activity at the Institute is the holistic approach to the problem. The staff of the Institute are the only group in Croatia working in the above mentioned areas of research.