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British Academy Lectures 2012-13Published in the online Journal of the British Academy$
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Janet Carsten and Simon Frith

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265666

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265666.001.0001

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Andaman Islanders and Polar Eskimos:emergent ethnographic subjects c.1900

Andaman Islanders and Polar Eskimos:emergent ethnographic subjects c.1900

Radcliffe-Brown Lecture in Social Anthropology read 24 October 2012 by

(p.3) Andaman Islanders and Polar Eskimos:emergent ethnographic subjects c.1900
British Academy Lectures 2012-13

Kirsten Hastrup

British Academy

In this lecture the focus is on A.R. Radcliffe-Brown’s ethnographic work, notably his fieldwork in the Andaman Islands in 1906–8. About the same time, the Danish ethnographer Knud Rasmussen studied the Polar Eskimos in North-West Greenland. While sharing a general quest for ethnographic description of little-known groups, they styled their fieldwork in different ways, saw colonialism in different terms, adhered to different knowledge traditions, and not least, worked in different natural environments. This resulted in very distinct portraits of ‘the natives’, which were to cast long shadows into the present, within which the history of first encounters is firmly embedded.

Keywords:   A R Radcliffe-Brown, Knud Rasmussen, ethnographic fieldwork, spatial history, colonialism, narrative styles, Andaman Islands, Polar Eskimos

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