As a graduate student at Columbia University, Conant conducted his doctoral fieldwork in Dass Independent District, Bauchi Province in Nigeria in 1957-1959. His research focused on the religion of the Barawa mountaineers of Dass, studying its impact on the technology, social and political organization, and structure of Barawa society. While in Dass, Conant also excavated the old town Bununu-Kasa in Bula district and collected data on rock gongs, percussion instruments that were first identified and written about by Bernard Fagg in 1955. He also collected objects for the American Museum of Natural History and native medicines and botanical specimens for Smith, Kline & French, a pharmaceutical company.
This series contains documentation from Conant's field research, including field notebooks; language notes; transcripts and notes from his recordings; manuscripts; maps, some of which are hand-drawn; notes on his consultants in Dass; and field photographs. Conant numbered his field photographs and organized them on card files with accompanying notes and cross-references to his field notebooks. He also created a topical index to his photographs. This series also contains notes and permits for objects that he collected in Dass for the American Museum of Natural History.
See Series 5. Writings for his dissertation and Series 8. Sound Recordings for associated field recordings.
The Francis P. Conant Papers are open for research. Access to the Francis P. Conant Papers requires an appointment.
Francis P. Conant Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
The papers of Francis P. Conant were processed with the assistance of a Wenner-Gren Foundation Historical Archives Program grant awarded to Veronika Conant. Digitization and preparation of these materials for online access has been funded through generous support from the Arcadia Fund.