By Rainer F. Buschmann
Anthropologists and global historians make unusual bedfellows. even if the latter often hire anthropological tools of their descriptions of cross-cultural exchanges, the previous have raised giant reservations approximately worldwide methods to background. Fearing lack of specificity, anthropologists item to the effacing features of suggestions hired through international historians--this although anthropology itself was once an international, comparative company within the 19th century. Rainer Buschmann right here seeks to get well a few of anthropology's international taste through viewing its background in Oceania throughout the suggestion of the ethnographic frontier--the furthermost limits of the anthropologically recognized areas of the Pacific. The colony of German New Guinea (1884-1914) provides a fantastic instance of simply the sort of touch quarter. Colonial directors there have been attracted to techniques partly encouraged via anthropology. Anthropologists and museum officers exploited this curiosity through getting ready large-scale expeditions to German New Guinea. Buschmann explores the ensuing interactions among German colonial officers, resident ethnographic creditors, and indigenous peoples, arguing that each one have been instrumental within the formation of anthropological thought. He indicates how alterations in amassing goals and techniques helped shift ethnographic learn clear of its concentrate on fabric artifacts to a broader attention of indigenous tradition. He additionally indicates how ethnological accumulating, frequently a aggressive affair, may well turn into politicized and fix to nationwide issues. eventually, he areas the German adventure within the broader context of Euro-American anthropology. Anthropology's international Histories will curiosity scholars and students of anthropology, historical past, global historical past, and Pacific experiences.
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Additional resources for Anthropology's Global Histories: The Ethnographic Frontier in German New Guinea, 1870-1935 (Perspectives on the Global Past)
The museum represented the indigenous population as a labor pool for developing German colonial interests. An arrangement of artifacts, house models, and an artificial landscape communicated a false sense of harmony to visitors. 45 The colonial museum displaying indigenous artifacts as trophies and curiosities troubled Berlin Ethnological Museum employees. Felix von Luschan attacked the misuse of valuable scientific specimens at what he called a museum in name only. He decried the union of colonial fantasy and shallow ethnography on display at the colonial museum and vehemently criticized the arrangement of the artifacts as colonial curiosities without order or taxonomy.
11 Ironically, natural philosophers also benefited from the demand for Pacific artifacts. Georg Forster, a naturalist on Cook’s second voyage, collected objects initially as “curios,” but financial troubles forced him to sell Commercializing the Ethnographic Frontier 31 them. ”12 Forster’s experience was far from unique: the many items collected during Cook’s expeditions fueled an expanding European market for artificial curiosities. Concepts of indigenous material culture as “commodity” and “ethnographica” thus emerged at virtually the same time.
Those occasional ethnographic acquisitions are usually sent as commodities to the main station from where 40 Chapter 2 they are eventually forwarded to a museum; sometimes interested visitors intercept them before leaving the territory. 54 One cannot establish from the written record whether Thiel took such criticism to heart. 56 Although clearly an amateur in the eyes of museum ethnologists, Hellwig’s expertise landed him employment as an ethnographic collector on his return to German New Guinea.
Anthropology's Global Histories: The Ethnographic Frontier in German New Guinea, 1870-1935 (Perspectives on the Global Past) by Rainer F. Buschmann