Recreating First Contact explores themes related to the proliferation of adventure travel which emerged during the early twentieth century and that were legitimized by their associations with popular views of anthropology. During this period, new transport and recording techlogies, particularly the airplane and automobile and small, portable, still and motion-picture cameras, were utilized by a variety of expeditions to document the last untouched places of the globe and bring them home to eager audiences. These expeditions were frequently presented as first contact encounters and enchanted popular imagination. The various narratives encoded in the articles, books, films, exhibitions and lecture tours that these expeditions generated fed into pre-existing stereotypes about racial and techlogical difference, and helped to create them anew in popular culture. Through an unpacking of expeditions and their popular wakes, the essays (12 chapters, a preface, introduction and afterward) trace the complex but obscured relationships between anthropology, adventure travel and the cinematic imagination that the 1920s and 1930s engendered and how their myths have endured. The book further explores the effects - both positive and negative - of such expeditions on the discipline of anthropology itself. However, in doing so, this volume examines these impacts from a variety of national perspectives and thus through these different vantage points creates a more nuanced perspective on how expeditions were at once a global phemen but also culturally ordered.
Joshua A. Bell is Curator of Globalization in the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Combining ethnographic fieldwork with archival and museum based research, he has worked with communities of the Purari Delta, Papua New Guinea, on various projects regarding the history of their engagements with resource extraction. As part of this work he has, and is, carrying out projects on the visual and material histories in Papua and their legacies. Alison K. Brown is a Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen. She has undertaken fieldwork and museum-based research in western and subarctic Canada and northern Scotland on projects that address the ways in which artefacts and photographs can be used to think about colonialism and its legacies. She is co-author of Sinaakssiiksi aohtsimaahpihkookiyaawa/Pictures Bring us Messages: Photographs and Histories from the Kainai Nation (2006) with Laura Peers and members of the Kainai Nation, and is currently working on a book that addresses the relationships between First Nations and British museums. Robert J. Gordon is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of the Free State in South Africa and the University of Vermont. His area focus is on southern Africa and Papua New Guinea. His eclectic interests range from violence, law, and state making/breaking to the media and dogs. Among his books are Law and Order in the New Guinea Highlands (1985) with Mervyn Meggitt, The Bushman Myth (1992), Tarzan was an Eco-Tourist (2006) co-edited with Luis Vivanco, and most recently, Going Abroad: Travelling like an Anthropologist (2010).
Date of Publication
Sociology & Anthropology: Professional
Place of Publication
Country of Publication
Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press
black & white illustrations, figures
Alison K Brown, Joshua A Bell, Robert J Gordon
Unsewn / adhesive bound,Paper over boards,With dust jacket