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Hunting the Gatherers: Ethnographic Collectors, Agents, and Agency in Melanesia 1870s-1930s

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Volume 6

Methodology & History in Anthropology

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Hunting the Gatherers

Ethnographic Collectors, Agents, and Agency in Melanesia 1870s-1930s

Edited by Michael O'Hanlon and Robert Welsch

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306 pages, 23 illus., 5 maps, 6 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-811-9 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (January 2001)

ISBN  978-1-57181-506-4 25% OFF! $34.95/£24.00 $26.21/£18.00 Pb Published (January 2001)

eISBN 978-0-85745-691-5 eBook

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“... a most welcome book ... Reading this book should irrevocably change how one looks at an ethnographic exhibit ... These wide-ranging articles ... augment our understanding of museums and their objects ... Overall, this is a rich collection of essays, brimming with data and, for the most part, cogently analysed.”  · JRAI


Between the 1870s and the 1930s competing European powers carved out and consolidated colonies in Melanesia, the most culturally diverse region of the world. As part of this process, great assemblages of ethnographic artefacts were made by a range of collectors whose diversity is captured in this volume. The contributors to this tightly-integrated volume take these collectors, and the collecting institutions, as the departure point for accounts that look back at the artefact-producing societies and their interaction with the collectors, but also forward to the fate of the collections in metropolitan museums, as the artefacts have been variously exhibited, neglected, re-conceived as indigenous heritage, or repatriated. In doing this, the contributors raise issues of current interest in anthropology, Pacific history, art history, museology, and material culture.

Michael O'Hanlon is Director of the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford.

Robert L. Welsch teaches at the Department of Anthropology, Dartmouth, New Hampshire.

Subject: Museum Studies Theory & Methodology in Anthropology Colonialism


M. O'Hanlon

Chapter 1. Gathering for God: George Brown and the Christian Economy in the Collection of Artefacts
H. Gardner

Chapter 2. Exploring Tensions in Material Culture: Commercialising Ethnography in German New Guinea, 1870-1904
R. Buschmann

Chapter 3. 'Before it has Become too Late': The Making and Repatriation of Sir William MacGregor's Official Collection from British New Guinea
M. Quinnell

Chapter 4. Surveying Culture: Photography, Collecting and Material Culture in British New Guinea, 1898
E. Edwards

Chapter 5. Collecting Pygmies: the 'Tapiro' and the British Ornithologists' Union Expedition to Dutch New Guinea, 1910-1911
C. Ballard

Chapter 6. One Time, One Place, Three Collections: Colonial Processes and the Shaping of Some Museum Collections from German New Guinea

Chapter 7. The Careless Collector: Malinowski and the Antiquarians
M. Young

Chapter 8. Felix Speiser's Fletched Arrow: A Paradigm Shift from Physical Anthropology to Art Styles
C. Kaufmann

Chapter 9. On His Todd: Material Culture and Colonialism
C. Gosden

Chapter 10. Reverse Trajectories: Beatrice Blackwood as Collector and Anthropologist
C. Knowles

N. Thomas

Notes on contributors

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