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Butterflies and Barbarians By Patrick Harries

Butterflies and Barbarians
by Patrick Harries

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A complex and layered analysis of the impact of Swiss missionaries on the ordering and understanding of the African continent.
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Butterflies and Barbarians Summary

Butterflies and Barbarians: Swiss Missionaries and Systems of Knowledge in South-East Africa by Patrick Harries

The Swiss missionaries played a primary role in explaining Africa to the literate world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This book emphasises how these European intellectuals, brought to the deep rural areas of southern Africa by their vocation, formulated and ordered knowledge about the continent. Central to this group was Junod who became a pioneering collector in the fields of entomology and botany. He would later examine African society with the methodology, theories and confidence of the natural sciences. On the way he came to depend on the skills of African observers and collectors. Out of this work emerged, in three stages between 1898 and 1927, an influential classic in the field of South African anthropology, Life of a South African Tribe. At the same time Patrick Harries examines how local people absorbed imported ideas into their own body of knowledge. Through a process of interchange and compromise, Africans adapted foreign ways of seeing and doing things, and rapidly made them their own. This is a history of new ideas and practices that shook African societies before and during the early years of colonialism. It is equally a history of ordinary people and their ability to adapt, change, and subvert these ideas. Professor T.O. Ranger says: 'Now, really for the first time, Harries sets these arguments in a wonderfully persuasive, detailed and dynamic context. He really understands the principle of nineteenth-century botany and insect classification, the organising concepts of linguistics, and the changing assumptions of ethnography and anthropology. One gets a profound sense of intellectual formation of debate and development of ideas. Missionary ideas are themselves no single thing but constantly in debate and in flux.' PATRICK HARRIES is Professor of History in the University of Basel North America: Ohio U Press; South Africa: Wits U Press; Zimbabwe: Weaver

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Butterflies and Barbarians Reviews

The range of this book is impressive and the treatment of its subjects, whether the local church scene in Vaud or Junod's cataloguing of butterflies, richly detailed. In his linking of Christianity, colonialism, and Western science through the prism of a small mission, Harries has set a very high standard and example that should be of great interest to students not only of African missions but of colonial Christianity in general. JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE Shows us exactly how the levered interactions of knowledge, power, and negotiation worked, in the critical era of missionaries' assemblage of ethnographic knowledge. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW The great achievement of Patrick Harries's remarkable new book is that it places southeastern Africa and Switzerland in a single analytic and interpretive field. The range of this book is astonishingly broad. AFRICAN STUDIES REVIEW Provides insightful information on the life, thought, and work of missionary anthropologist Henri-Alexandre Junod. MISSIOLOGY Fills an important gap [...] by detailing Swiss missionaries' part in creating European knowledge about south-eastern Africa in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN AFRICAN STUDIES This wonderful, complex study of missionary thought in action is probably best described as an extended meditation on the intricacies of cultural encounter on the imperial frontier. Will be of particular interest to those in the fields of anthropology, history, biology, and mission studies. THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORICAL STUDIES This lavishly illustrated volume [is] a towering achievement that lifts mission studies to a level of sophistication rarely achieved in the past. AFRICAN HISTORY

About Patrick Harries

Patrick Harries is Professor of History in the University of Basel and author of Work, Culture & Identity: Migrant Laborers in Mozambique & South Africa 1860-1910

Table of Contents

Switzerland African itineraries & Swiss identities Landscape Christianity Natural science Linguistics Literacy Anthropology Politics

Additional information

Butterflies and Barbarians: Swiss Missionaries and Systems of Knowledge in South-East Africa by Patrick Harries
Patrick Harries
Used - Very Good
James Currey
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This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.