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Colonial Collecting and Display
Encounters with Material Culture from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
264 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-0-85745-941-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (May 2013)
eISBN 978-0-85745-942-8 eBook
“Wintle’s book is an insightful examination of Andamanese and Nicobaresematerial culture during the late 19th century and early 20th century, and it reminds readers that there is much to be gained by studying the history of objects.” · Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
“In a brief concluding chapter, Wintle looks to a future in which the complex stories of these collections can be told in new ways that collaborate with and serve contemporary Andamanese and Nicobar Islanders and that acknowledge the larger, complex, and multidimensional colonial and postcolonial histories in which they played a part. Her book is an important contribution to doing just that.” · Museum Anthropology
"An excellent, thought-provoking text on the material culture and popular representations of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There is detailed primary research combined with a sophisticated theorisation of museological and collecting processes. The book demonstrates a nuanced understanding of Western perceptions of these cultures from the mid-19th to mid-20th century, and will clearly contribute to the growing literature on post-colonialism, collections and museums." · Louise Tythacott, University of Manchester
"This book brings new information and interesting insights into the fields of history, material culture studies and museum studies - . It is well written, well researched, scholarly, and accessible." · Sandra Dudley, University of Leicester
In the late-nineteenth century, British travelers to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands compiled wide-ranging collections of material culture for scientific instruction and personal satisfaction. Colonial Collecting and Display follows the compelling history of a particular set of such objects, tracing their physical and conceptual transformation from objects of indigenous use to accessioned objects in a museum collection in the south of England. This first study dedicated to the historical collecting and display of the Islands' material cultures develops a new analysis of colonial discourse, using a material culture-led approach to reconceptualize imperial relationships between Andamanese, Nicobarese, and British communities, both in the Bay of Bengal and on British soil. It critiques established conceptions of the act of collecting, arguing for recognition of how indigenous makers and consumers impacted upon "British" collection practices, and querying the notion of a homogenous British approach to material culture from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Claire Wintle is a Senior Lecturer in the History of Art and Design at the University of Brighton. She holds degrees from the Universities of Manchester and Sussex and has worked in collections and public programs at the Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton & Hove, and National Museums Liverpool.