Settler Colonialism and the Transformation of Anthropology: The Politics and Poetics of an Ethnographic Event

TitleSettler Colonialism and the Transformation of Anthropology: The Politics and Poetics of an Ethnographic Event
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsWolfe, Patrick
Number of Pages255
PublisherCassell
CityLondon
Abstract

This work analyzes the politics of anthropological knowledge from critical perspective that alters existing understandings of colonialism. At the same time, it produces fresh insights into the history of anthropology. Organized around a historical reconstruction of the great anthropological controversy over doctrines of virgin birth, the book argues that the allegation tells a great deal about European colonial discourse and little if anything about indigenous beliefs. By means of an Australian example, the book shows not only that the alleged ignorance was an artifact of the anthropological theory that produced it and that the anthropology was an artifact of the anthropological theory that produced it, but also that the anthropology concerned has been closely tied into both the historical dispossession and the continuing oppression of native peoples. The author explores the links between metropolitan anthropological theory and local colonial politics from the 19th century up to the present, settler colonialism, and the ideological and sexual regimes that characterize it.

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