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Lecture 2

Notes on Readings for Week 2

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Week 2 - Objects andAnthropology - The Museum and the Field Thursday, Jan. 17/2013 Stocking - Objects and Others Petch - Notes and Queries and the Pitt Rivers Museum • Argued that some parts of the wider anthropological endeavor are more susceptible to visual an physical display in a museum than others (pg. 21) • The contribution that ethnographic museums can make has to be limited to certain areas of anthropological discourse • Pitt Rivers is based around collection • Quote “it is of importance to obtain from natives any portable specimens of their handiwork, tools, weapons, dress, ornaments, fetishes, etc.An where possible, the native descriptions of the objects [use of tools]” • Stresses that the most common things are of the most ethnographic value • Taken from Pitt Rivers.then Lane Fox’presidential address to theAnthropological Section of the BritishAssociation for theAdvancement of Science annual meeting. • He did this in light of the fact that “evidence which we desire to obtain is now rapidly disappearing” • The intention was to provide raw data that would be used as the basis for anthropological theorizing in the UK. • Put forward a revised series of questions under title Notes and Queries on Anthropology for the use of Travellers and Residents in Uncivilized Lands but found that the problem was many of the questions put forward in the book might appear to those not versed in the discipline of anthropology to be unimportant or childish when in fact they are of an utmost value (pg.. 22) • Because they have been less influenced by progressive changes (in their ‘unevolved' state?) They allow for the tracing of connections between the culture of different races and • localities • States that travellers only see that which they, as being experienced in civilized institutions, are trained to see • Information has been manipulated as well to suit preconceived notions Interest should be not only in what exists but also what is lacking • • Notes and Queries was used in order to “provide accurate anthropological observation on the part of travelers and to enable those who are not anthropologists themselves to supply the information which is wanted for the scientific study of anthropology at home” • The second editions stressed long-term residence among natives and the use of documentation such as cameras and sketches but warned that some things would not be understood such as ‘quasi-religious ceremonies, to totemic signs, past history of the race, and such like’ (pg. 23) • Other advice included for metallurgy, the obtaining of specimens and raw materials, but also there was a stress on arranging specific artifacts to be made such as native drawings by children by which to compare artistic skill in europeans • In the sixth edition material culture, rather than being under separate sections, subsumed under the heading of “Material Culture” • How is this important? • In the third edition “unclosed lands” was removed leaving the title just as Notes and Queries on Anthropology; and the second part was now “ethnography” rather than “culture - a semantic shift in the least, an intellectual one at best Week 2 - Objects andAnthropology - The Museum and the Field Thursday, Jan. 17/2013 • By 1912 the manual was aimed at the “academically trained ‘field-worker’and the fourth edition attracted international interest (pg. 24) • The collector now had to “watch the making of an article from start to finish” • And those objects impossible to collect should be described and recorded as fully as possible • Expected to pay the local market price and only more where heirloom pieces were considered • As always, provided packing instructions • Textiles had to be large enough to show the repeat • Collections was advocated because it was less bothersome to the traveler than to the academic • Fifth edition stresses obtaining full knowledge: to know the names of everything you see and their part and to study them would progress your understanding of the general ideas behind, say, the structure of a house, but also its history • The fifth edition stressed proper packing, suggesting that less care was taken by the collectors and that they were increasingly less professional on the whole (pg. 25) • Also for the first time was the reference to the collection and packing of human remains, and to the collection and packing of plants and animals “economically or ceremonially utilized by the natives in any way” • The final sixth edition in 1951 emphasizes the ritualistic aspects of material culture and usefulness of “an intelligent interest in artifacts and technological process” as an “excellent way of gaining the confidence of a people” suggesting that for most researches material culture was become a distinct, subordinate and dispensable aspect of field ethnography, where before it was suggests that material culture should be viewed in tandem with daily life as they are organically connected. • V. Structural-functionalist This edition stated that isolated objects are of little value in themselves and those • undocumented are useless. Collections should be well labeled and selected with a view to showing as complete as possible an industry of a people. Negative evidence inferred by the absence of a type of object from a collection is sometimes of great value but only if the the collection is comprehensive (pg. 26) The Pitt Rivers Museum’s Role in developing Advice for Fieldworkers Many people closely associated with the Pitt Rivers Museums have been connected at some • point with the production of advice about field collection, via Notes and Queries, between 1874 and 1951. (pg. 27) • This influence is often just inferred as there is little direct evidence of the importance of the Museum in the process of producing the manual’s editions Agreat deal can be inferred both from reviewing the individuals contributions and from setting • their contributions against they life’s work • An examination of the names of committee members, editorials staff, and acknowledgements given at the beginning of each edition has led to the identification of a total of 118 individuals associated with the production of the manual from 1874 to 1951. Of these, 5 were paid members of staff at the museum, 13 were closely associated with the Museum and anthropology at Oxford, 65 are not linked to museum but are to individuals associated with the musuem and in general the rest were linked to the museum in some way (many by donation) • Most contributors are linked through donated objects, but a very significant number were either members of staff or closely tied in with the museum and the development of anthropology at Oxford Week 2 - Objects andAnthropology - The Museum and the Field Thursday, Jan. 17/2013 • Pitt Rivers founding donation was linked with the establishment of the first academic post in anthropology in the UK, filled by Tylor. • Both men were leading intellectuals in England, had been presidents of theAnthropological Institute and of th
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