Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.531297
Title: Local knowledge & indigenous agency in the history of exploration : Studies from the RGS-IBG collections
Author: Jones, Lowri Madeleine
ISNI:       0000 0000 5417 3100
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2010
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Abstract:
This thesis is about the role of local knowledge and indigenous agency in histories of nineteenth-century exploration. Focusing especially on the archival collections of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), it examines four case studies in order to consider the nature and significance of European dependence on local inhabitants during exploratory expeditions. Following traces of non-European intermediaries who contributed to the 'work' of exploration, but seldom received any recognition, the thesis also engages with the methodological challenge of reading metropolitan scholarly collections 'against the grain' in the hope of retrieving marginalised voices or experiences. The theme of archival visibility is thus as important as that of erasure. The first case study reconsiders of one of the most celebrated examples of nonEuropean participation, i.e. the pandits of the Survey of India. Focusing especially on published accounts, it questions the concept of a 'heroic indigene'. The second case study develops the idea of archival visibility with a discussion of Thomas Baines' oil paintings and sketches from the North Australian Expedition of 1855- 57. Considering the functions of expeditionary picture making, it highlights the diverse relationships that brought explorers together with indigenous and local inhabitants. The third case study attends to the role of local informants through a discussion of the Nile controversy, 1850s-70s. Examining a set of sketch maps, this chapter highlights the significance of trust and testimony within the production of knowledge. Finally, the fourth case study considers a collection of photographs of British Guiana, which were donated by Everard im Thurn in 1892. Together these case studies reveal something of the negotiated and sometimes collaborative aspects of scientific exploration and travel in the context of colonial encounters. Concurrently, it suggests routes through such collections of published, manuscript, picture, map and object collections as housed at the RGS-IBG.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.531297  DOI: Not available
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