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Anglo-German Anthropology in the Malay Archipelago, 1869–1910:Adolf Bernhard Meyer, Alfred Russel Wallace and A.C. Haddon

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Chapter Summary

The indigenous inhabitants of New Guinea and surrounding islands, along with so-called 'Negrito' groups in mainland Southeast Asia and the Malay Archipelago, stood at the forefront of European anthropological and ethnological interest during the second half of the nineteenth century. German researchers interested in these groups frequently engaged in transnational dialogue and debate: they read, reviewed and translated one another's work, corresponded on matters of interest, and corroborated or contradicted one another's conclusions. This chapter illuminates these scholarly connections by focusing on the German traveller-naturalist and museum director Adolf Bernhard Meyer. His connections with English-speaking colleagues, particularly the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace and the anthropologist Alfred Cort Haddon, shed light on the mutually constitutive nature of metropolitan knowledge and field experience, the role of translation in Anglo-German scholarly dialogue, and the variable interpretation of anthropological data within different national cultures of scientific knowledge.

Keywords: Adolf Bernhard Meyer; Alfred Cort Haddon; Alfred Russel Wallace; Anglo-German scholarly dialogue; European anthropological interest; European ethnological interest; Malay Archipelago; Negrito groups; New Guinea; Southeast Asia



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