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  • 1.
    Buchan, Bruce
    et al.
    Griffith University, Australia.
    Andersson Burnett, Linda
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Knowing Savagery: Australia and the Anatomy of Race2019In: History of the Human Sciences, ISSN 0952-6951, E-ISSN 1461-720X, Vol. 32, no 4, p. 115-134Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    When Australia was circumnavigated by Europeans in 1801–02, French and British natural historians were unsure how to describe the Indigenous peoples who inhabited the land they charted and catalogued. Ideas of race and of savagery were freely deployed by both British and French, but a discursive shift was underway. While the concept of savagery had long been understood to apply to categories of human populations deemed to be in want of more historically advanced ‘civilisation’, the application of this term in the late 18th and early 19th centuries was increasingly being correlated with the emerging terminology of racial characteristics. The terminology of race was still remarkably fluid, and did not always imply fixed physical or mental endowments or racial hierarchies. Nonetheless, by means of this concept, natural historians began to conceptualise humanity as subject not only to historical gradations, but also to the environmental and climatic variations thought to determine race. This in turn meant that the degree of savagery or civilisation of different peoples could be understood through new criteria that enabled physical classification, in particular by reference to skin colour, hair, facial characteristics, skull morphology, or physical stature: the archetypal criteria of race. While race did not replace the language of savagery, in the early years of the 19th century savagery was re-inscribed by race.

  • 2.
    Buchan, Bruce
    et al.
    Griffith Univ, Australia.
    Andersson Burnett, Linda
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Knowing savagery: Humanity in the circuits of colonial knowledge2019In: History of the Human Sciences, ISSN 0952-6951, E-ISSN 1461-720XArticle in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    How was 'savagery' constituted as a field of colonial knowledge? As Europe's empires expanded, their reach was marked not only by the colonisation of new territories but by the colonisation of knowledge. Path-breaking scholarship since the 1990s has shown how European knowledge of colonised territories and peoples developed from diverse travel writings, missionary texts, and exploration narratives from the 16th century onwards (Abulafia, 2008; Armitage, 2000; De Campos Francozo, 2017; Pratt, 1992). Of prime importance in this work has been the investigation of the pre-positioning of colonised peoples within categories derived from European traditions of historical, religious, legal, and political thought as either 'savages' or 'barbarians' (Richardson, 2018; Sebastiani, 2013).

  • 3.
    Fur, Gunlög
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Different ways of seeing 'savagery': Two Nordic travellers in 18th-century North America2019In: History of the Human Sciences, ISSN 0952-6951, E-ISSN 1461-720XArticle in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Andreas Hesselius and Pehr Kalm both spent time in eastern North America during the first half of the 18th century. Both came with an ardent desire to observe and learn about the natural environment and inhabitants of the region. Both produced writings, in the form of journals that have proved immensely useful to subsequent scholars. Yet their writings also display differences that illuminate the epistemological and sociological underpinnings of their observations, and which had consequences for their encounters with foreign environments. Hesselius, who served as pastor to the Swedish congregation in Philadelphia from 1712 to 1724, described his experiences and observations with what we might call a historical awareness, while Kalm, known as the first of Linnaeus's students to travel to the New World, primarily offered dehistoricized and denarrativized taxonomic ethnographic descriptions. At first glance, Hesselius and Kalm appear to illustrate perfectly Michel Foucault's description of the difference between Renaissance and classical epistemologies. Kalm's disembodied and decontextualized representations fit well with Foucault's description of natural history in the classical age as consisting 'of undertaking a meticulous examination of things themselves horizontal ellipsis and then of transcribing what it has gathered in smooth, neutralized, and faithful words'. This article, however, points out that while Hesselius and Kalm arrive at similar descriptions of plants and other-than-human beings by employing different methodologies, when it comes to describing indigenous peoples their respective methodologies lead to radically different approaches, with Hesselius writing them into history, while Kalm relegates them to ethnology in the sense of savage 'peoples without histories'.

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