restricted access Conclusion: Anthropology’s Global Histories in Oceania
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CONCLUSION Anthropology’s Global Histories in Oceania T his 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 general interbleeding ethnographic frontiers throughout the Pacific Islands. Finally, I seek to transcend German New Guinea to provide an outline of anthropological studies in the Pacific Ocean between 1760 and 1945. THE OCEANIC PHASE OF BRITISH ANTHROPOLOGY: THE ACADEMIC SETTING James Urry highlights the importance of the Pacific Islands for an “Oceanic phase” in British anthropology, lasting roughly from 1890 to 1930.1 Contrasting British and German anthropology, it appears that British scholars moved faster from the “armchair” to the field. Famed British anthropologists such as W. H. R. Rivers, Alfred Haddon, and Charles Seligman all had considerable field experience, and the “expeditionary phase” of British anthropology predated Germany’s by almost a decade. Much like their German counterparts, British anthropologists brought to bear a combination of evolutionary and diffusionist motives in trying to classify New Guinea’s seemingly overwhelming linguistic and cultural diversity. In their attempts at linguistic classification, however, British anthropologists were less inimical to the idea of employing resident experts for their research.2 Dr. R. H. Codrington, a missionary and leading authority on Austronesian languages, aided many anthropologists.3 It was also through his assistance that Sydney Ray, a British school teacher, became involved in anthropological investigations . It was he who first classified non-Austronesian languages of New Guinea as “Papuan” and argued for a differential linguistic settlement of the 154 region. According to Ray, Papuan languages indicated an earlier settlement of New Guinea, while Austronesian language groups of the region pointed to a more recent past.4 Investigations into the establishment of cultural and linguistic boundaries in the Pacific brought attention to the Torres Strait Islands. Located between Australia and New Guinea, this set of islands paralleled German investigations into Para-Micronesia (Wuvulu and Aua, see Chapters 2 and 6). Much like German anthropologists who sought to locate firm cultural boundaries between New Guinea and the islands of Micronesia to the north, their British counterparts inquired about similar boundaries between New Guinea and the Australian aboriginal population to the south. Unlike their German counterparts, however, British anthropologists did not engage resident commercial companies but sent their own venture, the Cambridge Torres Strait Expedition of 1898, to the region.5 The success of this venture served as a major inspiration for Thilenius’ own Hamburg South Sea Expedition (1908–1910). And much like Thilenius’ later expedition, the Cambridge journey carried with it methodological innovation. The most prominent of these was W. H. R. Rivers’ “genealogical method.” Initially developed as a methodological shorthand for inadequate language training, the collection of genealogical data was soon performed by other British anthropologists . Of similar import was the emphasis on training a new generation of anthropologists to work in the intensive mode, urging them to live among individuals of a particular indigenous group to study their behavior and customs. Former Cambridge Expedition participants Rivers and Haddon at Cambridge and Seligman at the London School of Economics were leading proponents of this approach.6 Building on the experiences accumulated during the Torres Strait expedition , British anthropologists continued to explore Melanesia. With the support of the American W. Cooke-Daniels, Seligman launched another expedition that explored the southern coast of New Guinea in 1904. Similarly , in 1908, Rivers led an expedition funded by the Percy Sladen Trust to the Solomon Islands.7 Seligman also realized that in order to accommodate the goals of the W. Cooke-Daniels expedition he needed to cross colonial boundaries. In 1903 he contacted Felix von Luschan in Berlin, soliciting his support with German colonial authorities. Luschan complied but also notified Governor Albert Hahl that, before long, he intended “to send our own scholars to your protectorate.”8 Not only was Luschan aware that the Berlin Ethnological Museum was lagging behind other German institutions, but now there were British expeditions to contend with. Seligman never made it to German New Guinea, but his American counterpart Dorsey would cause a major stir (see Chapter 4). Anthropology’s Global Histories in Oceania 155 By the first decade of the twentieth century, British researchers were performing “intensive studies,”a new concept for their German counterparts. On the Percy Sladen Trust Expedition, two researchers...


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