Anthropology's Global Histories
The Ethnographic Frontier in German New Guinea, 1870–1935
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
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This work originated in the early 1990s, while I was finishing my master’s degree in anthropology. The discipline of anthropology was deeply in the throes of the so-called literary turn. In the midst of this intellectual confusion, I enrolled in a fascinating seminar about the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands taught by Karen Peacock, the...
Introduction: Toward a Global History of Anthropology
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The last decades of the twentieth century saw an increasing reconciliation between the disciplines of anthropology and history. Moving beyond the synchronic method of participant observation, anthropologists began to infuse a temporal...
1 Berlin’s Monopoly
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German imperial expansion to Africa and Oceania increased the possibilities for anthropological research. Although the founder of the Berlin Ethnological Museum, Adolf Bastian, openly opposed colonial expansion and annexation, he did not fail to see the possibilities for research emerging from German...
2 Commercializing the Ethnographic Frontier
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Felix von Luschan’s attempt to engage the commercial frontier in German New Guinea for the purposes of his African and Oceanic division at the Berlin Ethnological Museum had ample precedent. Luschan was not alone in realizing that, along...
3 Losing the Monopoly
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Even though Felix von Luschan grew increasingly impatient with commercial agents in German New Guinea, he could expect little sympathy from fellow German museum officials. Faithful to the Federal Council Resolution achieved by Bastian, Luschan defended the monopoly position of his African...
4 Restructuring Ethnology and Imperialism
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Felix von Luschan’s emphasis on “primary” collecting had resulted from an interplay between museological competition and the fact that colonial residents lacked proper collection methods. Primary collecting, however, also meant that artifacts became secondary to an understanding of the mental culture of their producers....
5 Albert Hahl and the Colonization of the Ethnographic Frontier
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The interplay between the colonial periphery and the metropole had become a crucial component in the development of the anthropological discipline. Felix von Luschan’s attempt to monopolize collectors’ efforts on the periphery of German New Guinea failed to bring about the results he desired. Much to...
6 Indigenous Reactions
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Throughout the last five chapters I have examined the investigation of the ethnographic frontier in German New Guinea as a purely Western endeavor. While this is in no way inconsistent with the explicit aim of the present work, an investigation that seeks to uncover anthropology’s global flavor should also take into account...
7 The Ethnographic Frontier in German Postcolonial Visions
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The onset of Europe’s Great War and the postwar era presented German anthropologists with a number of predicaments. Few practitioners doubted their nation’s legitimate defensive struggle, which compelled them to accept the ensuing hardships....
Conclusion: Anthropology’s Global Histories in Oceania
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This conclusion proposes to return a global historical flavor to anthropology. To do so, I examine German tradition in light of other anthropological endeavors in the Pacific Ocean. I begin with a close glance at the academic and colonial settings of American and British anthropology in the Pacific Islands. I then explore...
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Publication Year: 2009