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Expeditionary Anthropology: Teamwork, Travel and the ''Science of Man''

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Volume 33

Methodology & History in Anthropology

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Expeditionary Anthropology

Teamwork, Travel and the ''Science of Man''

Edited by Martin Thomas and Amanda Harris

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330 pages, 39 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-772-7 25% OFF! $130.00/£92.00 $97.50/£69.00 Hb Published (January 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-773-4 eBook

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Expeditionary Anthropology emerges as an extraordinary book, with unexpected insights that demonstrate the vitality and relevance of the sub-disciplinary field of the history of anthropology. There is no doubt that it deserves a place on the bookshelves of every scholar interested in the subject.” • The Journal of Pacific History

“This distinctive volume represents a genuinely interesting set of contributions to scholarship in anthropology, literary studies, history, and the history of science.” • Nicholas Thomas, University of Cambridge

“Scholars of exploration and the history of anthropology will find this book very useful—the approach put forward by Thomas and Harris is novel and important.” • Michael F. Robinson, University of Hartford


The origins of anthropology lie in expeditionary journeys. But since the rise of immersive fieldwork, usually by a sole investigator, the older tradition of team-based social research has been largely eclipsed. Expeditionary Anthropology argues that expeditions have much to tell us about anthropologists and the people they studied. The book charts the diversity of anthropological expeditions and analyzes the often passionate arguments they provoked. Drawing on recent developments in gender studies, indigenous studies, and the history of science, the book argues that even today, the ‘science of man’ is deeply inscribed by its connections with expeditionary travel.

Martin Thomas is Associate Professor of History at the Australian National University. He has written extensively about anthropology, exploration, and cross-cultural contact. His publications include The Many Worlds of R. H. Mathews: In Search of an Australian Anthropologist (2011) and Expedition into Empire: Exploratory Journeys and the Making of the Modern World (2015), with the former winning the National Biography Award of Australia.

Amanda Harris is a cultural historian at the University of Sydney whose research explores intercultural exchange, gender, and the performing arts. Amanda’s edited book Circulating Cultures: Exchanges of Australian Indigenous Music, Dance and Media was published in 2014 and her research has also appeared in Women and Music, History and Anthropology, Women’s History Review and Australian Historical Studies.

Subject: General Anthropology General History General Mobility Studies


List of Illustrations

Introduction: Anthropology and the Expeditionary Imaginary: An Introduction to the Volume
Martin Thomas and Amanda Harris


Chapter 1. Assembling the Ethnographic Field: The 1901-02 Expedition of Baldwin Spencer and Francis Gillen
Philip Batty

Chapter 2. Receiving guests: The Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Strait 1898
Jude Philp

Chapter 3. Donald Thomson’s Hybrid Expeditions: Anthropology, Biology and Narrative in Northern Australia and England
Saskia Beudel


Chapter 4. Looking at Culture through an Artist’s Eyes: William Henry Holmes and the Exploration of Native American Archaeology
Pamela Henson

Chapter 5. The Anomalous Blonds of the Maghreb: Carleton Coon Discovers the African Nordics
Warwick Anderson

Chapter 6. Medium, Genre, Indigenous Presence: Spanish Expeditionary Encounters in the Mar del Sur, 1606
Bronwen Douglas

Chapter 7. Ethnographic Inquiry on Phillip Parker King’s Hydrographic Survey
Tiffany Shellam


Chapter 8. Gender and the Expedition: Anthropologist Elsie Clews Parsons and the Politics of Fieldwork in the Americas in the 1920s and 1930s
Desley Deacon

Chapter 9. What Has Been Forgotten? The Discourses of Margaret Mead and The American Museum of Natural History Sepik Expedition
Diane Losche

Chapter 10. Gender, Science and Imperial Drive: Margaret McArthur on Two Expeditions in the 1940s
Amanda Harris


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