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

by Kirsten Hastrup

14 Apr 2016
Digital Object Identifier

Full text of article by Kirsten Hastrup posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 1, pp. 3-30.

Abstract: 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 Eskimo 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: cognitive evolution, emotional content, Palaeolithic material culture, sensory experience, distributed cognition, focused gaze, ontological security, psychological continuity.

Radcliffe-Brown Lecture in Social Anthropology, read 10 October 2012 (video recording)

Text printed 2014 in British Academy Lectures 2012-13

Version of article available in British Academy Scholarship Online (HTML)

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