In this Book

summary

A compelling history of the German ethnologists who were inspired by Prussian polymath and explorer Alexander von Humboldt

The Berlin Ethnological Museum is one of the world's largest and most important anthropological museums, housing more than a half million objects collected from around the globe. In Humboldt's Shadow tells the story of the German scientists and adventurers who, inspired by Alexander von Humboldt's inclusive vision of the world, traveled the earth in pursuit of a total history of humanity. It also details the fate of their museum, which they hoped would be a scientists' workshop, a place where a unitary history of humanity might emerge.

H. Glenn Penny shows how these early German ethnologists assembled vast ethnographic collections to facilitate their study of the multiplicity of humanity, not to confirm emerging racist theories of human difference. He traces how Adolf Bastian filled the Berlin museum in an effort to preserve the records of human diversity, yet how he and his supporters were swept up by the imperialist currents of the day and struck a series of Faustian bargains to ensure the growth of their collections. Penny describes how influential administrators such as Wilhelm von Bode demanded that the museum be transformed into a hall for public displays, and how Humboldt's inspiring ideals were ultimately betrayed by politics and personal ambition.

In Humboldt's Shadow calls on museums to embrace anew Bastian's vision while deepening their engagement with indigenous peoples concerning the provenance and stewardship of these collections.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
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  1. List of Illustrations
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xii
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  1. Introduction. Kihawahine: The Future in the Past
  2. pp. 1-14
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  1. Chapter 1. Hawaiian Feather Cloaks and Mayan Sculptures: Collecting Origins
  2. pp. 15-47
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  1. Chapter 2. The Haida Crest Pole and the Nootka Eagle Mask: Hypercollecting
  2. pp. 48-79
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  1. Chapter 3. Benin Bronzes: Colonial Questions
  2. pp. 80-107
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  1. Chapter 4. Guatemalan Textiles: Persisting Global Networks
  2. pp. 108-148
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  1. Chapter 5. The Yup'ik Flying Swan Mask: The Past in the Future
  2. pp. 149-188
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  1. Epilogue: Harnessing Humboldt
  2. pp. 189-200
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 201-206
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 207-214
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 215-222
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780691216454
Related ISBN
9780691211145
MARC Record
OCLC
1226074097
Pages
240
Launched on MUSE
2021-06-05
Language
English
Open Access
No
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