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Title: Introduction: In the Margins of Anthropology
Contributor(s): Hulme, P (author); McDougall, Russell John (author)
Publication Date: 2007
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Abstract: The conceit of history used to that it just recounted what had happened. There is now a broader recognition that all histories are teleological, actually written backwards from the present, wittingly or unwittingly organized by current concerns. If that is generally true, then it must be especially the case with histories of entities – literatures, nation states, disciplines – where so much tends to be invested in present configurations. One particular complication facing histories of disciplines is that they need to respond to two absolutely conflicting imperatives. In order to establish intellectual credibility disciplines have had to claim venerable ancestors – Thucydides for history, Strabo for geography, Aristotle for literary criticism. But in order to be as fully modern and scientific as the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries demanded, they have had at the same time to stress the novelty of their protocols and vocabulary.A further complication then arises from the fact that most disciplinary histories are written from the inside: senior figures recasting a disciplinary tradition. Even the more capacious histories will work to bring more material and figures into the disciplinary tent, while paying little attention to what lies outside it. But, as we are increasingly aware, what lies just outside provides exactly the material against which all disciplines had to definethemselves in the first place. For that reason, the margins of a discipline can offer particular insight into both its history and its future. Anthropology has as complicated a history as any discipline.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Writing, Travel, and Empire: In the Margins of Anthropology, p. 1-16
Publisher: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd
Place of Publication: London
ISBN: 9781845113049
Field of Research (FOR): 200211 Postcolonial Studies
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
Other Links:,M1
Series Name: International Library of Colonial History
Series Number : 10
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Appears in Collections:Book Chapter

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