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Young: An Anthropologist in Papua

Young, Michael; Clark, Julia

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ISBN 10: 0824825284 / ISBN 13: 9780824825287
Published by University of Hawaii Press, U.S.A., 2002
Used Condition Fine Hardcover
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About this title:


This book is a pictorial celebration of the work of a brilliant ethnographer. F.E. Williams was one of the most talented and productive anthropologists of his generation. Australian-born and Oxford-trained, he spent twenty years--the entirety of his working career--as Government Anthropologist in the Australian Territory of Papua, then ruled by the 'benignly paternalistic' proconsul Sir Hubert Murray.

One of the aims of An Anthropologist in Papua is to document, through Williams' photographs and, wherever possible, through his words, the sheer variety of his ethnographic discoveries and fieldwork experiences. Some 235 images have been selected, about 200 of which appear in print for the first time.

A substantial introductory essay provides the bibliographical, historical and anthropological contexts of Williams' ethnographic and photographic achievement. Such contexts are essential for a proper appreciation of his work: notably, the colonial milieu of Papua in the 1920s and 1930s; Williams' important relationship with Lieutenant Governor Murray (with whom he did not always see eye to eye); and his relationship with academic mentors such as Bronislaw Malinowski and R.R. Marett (who memorably said of Williams that he was 'a fine soldier who would make a grand explorer').

Williams' fieldwork in Papua was of unprecedented breadth and duration. The rich and varied ethnography he bequeathed (most of it published in six monographs) is complemented by some 2000 glass plates and negatives, his enduring contribution to the field of visual anthropology. His photographic records of the peoples among whom he worked spans almost twenty years: from 1922, when he made his first trip to the Purari Delta, to 1939, when he visited the newly contacted Lake Kutubu and neighboring valleys. During this period, Williams took photographs in about eighteen different ethnographic locations scattered throughout the eight administrative divisions of the Territory. His photography is therefore unique in its coverage of the inhabitants of Australia's largest former colony.

"Williams has left us with one of the world's best collections of ethnographic photographs.... The photographs are immediately their own best commendation: they are interesting in themselves, superb historical documents, and valuable ethnography. This is an authoritative piece of history." --- Professor Hank Nelson, Australian National University, Canberra

About the Author: Michael W. Young, a graduate of London, Cambridge and the Australian National University, is a social anthropologist with fieldwork experience of Papua New Guinea spanning thirty years. Julia Clark is the manager of Interpretation and Collections at the Port Arthur Historical Site in Tasmania.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Young: An Anthropologist in Papua

Publisher: University of Hawaii Press, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Edition: 1st Edition

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