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Anthropology's Global HistoriesThe Ethnographic Frontier in German New Guinea, 1870-1935$
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Rainer F. Buschmann

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831844

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831844.001.0001

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Commercializing the Ethnographic Frontier

Commercializing the Ethnographic Frontier

(p.29) Chapter 2 Commercializing the Ethnographic Frontier
Anthropology's Global Histories

Rainer F. Buschmann

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on Felix von Luschan's attempt to engage the commercial frontier in German New Guinea for the purposes of his African and Oceanic division at the Berlin Ethnological Museum. His attempt to secure the prominent German commercial presence in German New Guinea soon clashed with the traders' “colonial project” of securing profits from the exchange. The chapter illustrates that the conceptual clashes over indigenous artifacts separating science from commercialism predated Luschan's predicament by a century. The disagreement over the conceptualization soon became a widening gap, as Luschan demanded artifacts to be accompanied by exact descriptions. Such qualitative demands on artifact collection contradicted the quantitative German merchant commercial project. In his attempt to gain independence from colonial agents, Luschan now searched for new alternatives, pushing the anthropological field into new directions.

Keywords:   Felix von Luschan, German New Guinea, Berlin Ethnological Museum, artifact collection

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