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The Race Question in Oceania

A. B. Meyer and Otto Finsch between metropolitan theory and field experience, 1865–1914

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Hilary Howes

In 1873 the German naturalist A.B. Meyer spent five months in New Guinea. He had expected «bloodthirsty and untamed savages» and was amazed to find «men of milder customs». His compatriot Otto Finsch returned from a voyage through Hawaii, Micronesia, New Zealand and Torres Strait declaring Germany’s most respected anthropologists wrong. Human races could not be neatly distinguished: they «merge into one another to such an extent that the difference between Europeans and Papuans becomes completely unimportant». This richly interdisciplinary book explores the transformative impacts of personal encounters in Oceania on understandings of human difference, and illuminates the difficult relationship between field experience and metropolitan science in late nineteenth-century Europe.

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The Race Question in Oceania Hilary S. Howes The Race Question in Oceania A. B. Meyer and Otto Finsch between metropolitan theory and field experience, 1865-1914 Bibliographic Information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available in the internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Howes, Hilary Susan, 1980- The race question in Oceania : A. B. Meyer and Otto Finsch between metropolitan theory and field experience, 1865-1914 / Hilary Susan Howes. pages cm. — (Germanica Pacifica ; volume 12) Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978-3-631-63874-3 1. Ethnology—Oceania—History—19th century. 2. Ethnology—Oceania—History—20th century. 3. Ethnol- ogy—Fieldwork—Oceania. 4. Race—Social aspects—Oce- ania—History—19th century. 5. Race—Social aspects—Oce- ania—History—20th century. 6. Meyer, Adolf Bernhard, 1840- 1911—Criticism and interpretation. 7. Finsch, O. (Otto), 1839- 1917—Criticism and interpretation. 8. Oceania—Race rela- tions. 9. Oceania—Social life and customs. I. Title. GN662.H695 2013 305.8009162—dc23 2013014406 ISSN 1439-3387 ISBN 978-3-631-63874-3 (Print) E-ISBN 978-3-653-03392-2 (E-Book) DOI 10.3726/978-3-653-03392-2 © Peter Lang GmbH Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften Frankfurt am Main 2013 All rights reserved. Peter Lang Edition is an Imprint of Peter Lang GmbH. Peter Lang – Frankfurt am Main · Bern · Bruxelles · New York · Oxford · Warszawa · Wien All parts of this publication are protected by copyright. Any utilisation outside the strict limits of the copyright law, without the permission of the publisher, is forbidden and liable to prosecution. This applies in particular to reproductions,...

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