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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Missionary Expertise, Social Science, and the Use of Ethnographic Knowledge in Colonial Gabon
Author:Cinnamon, John M.ISNI
Year:2006
Periodical:History in Africa
Volume:33
Pages:413-432
Language:English
Geographic term:Gabon
Subjects:missions
anthropology
colonial period
Religion and Witchcraft
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
colonialism
About persons:Robert Hamill Nassau (1835-1921)ISNI
H. Trilles (1866-1949)ISNI
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/history_in_africa/v033/33.1cinnamon.pdf
Abstract:To examine the often contentious relationship between missionary expertise, social science, and ethnographic knowledge in colonial Gabon, this article looks comparatively at the fieldwork experiences and writings of the American Presbyterian, Robert Hamill Nassau (1835-1921), and the French Spiritan, Henri Trilles (1866-1949). Both men claimed expert ethnographic understanding based on long-term, first-hand daily contact with Africans, while at the same time expressing standard missionary shock at African customs, fetishism and cannibalism. The article shows that, while their works were not primarily intended to be acknowledged and appreciated by the colonial State, their current value is to be found to a large extent in the insights they provide in the day-to-day specifics of the early colonial encounter - as ethnographies, therefore, not of the African people described, but of interactions on the colonial frontier. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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