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Across the Great Divide: Journeys in History and Anthropology (review)

Across the Great Divide: Journeys in History and Anthropology (review) book reviews Divide is a retrospective presentation of Douglas's career as a historian. Most of the chapters have appeared previously as essays in journals. Theoretical reflections and developments provide the unifying framework for the book. Those who anticipate a coherent historical narrative--a type of Islander-centered, anticolonial history of nineteenth and twentieth century New Caledonia--will be disappointed. On the other hand, this book will appeal to the theoretically inclined among historians and anthropologists; Douglas delves deep into the epistemological problems of recuperating an authentically Kanak perspective on nineteenth (and some twentieth) century events. She strives to "denaturalize conventional categorical boundaries, anchor abstractions and mediate oppositions; to explore ways of knowing indigenous pasts and identifying indigenous agency through critical readings of colonial texts" (1). A historian by training, Douglas nonetheless presents this book in terms of her own engagement with anthropology. Her intellectual travels began in the 1960s, when Aboriginal struggles for rights inspired her scholarship, continued through the 1970s with engagement in Geertzian ethnography, then proceeded through the discovery of how to "read" documents for hegemonic narratives (of racism and conquest) and conquered voices (of the Kanak), until finally reaching the climax, in the late 1990s, of a deeply http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Contemporary Pacific University of Hawai'I Press

Across the Great Divide: Journeys in History and Anthropology (review)

The Contemporary Pacific , Volume 12 (2) – Jul 1, 2000

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9464
Publisher site
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Abstract

book reviews Divide is a retrospective presentation of Douglas's career as a historian. Most of the chapters have appeared previously as essays in journals. Theoretical reflections and developments provide the unifying framework for the book. Those who anticipate a coherent historical narrative--a type of Islander-centered, anticolonial history of nineteenth and twentieth century New Caledonia--will be disappointed. On the other hand, this book will appeal to the theoretically inclined among historians and anthropologists; Douglas delves deep into the epistemological problems of recuperating an authentically Kanak perspective on nineteenth (and some twentieth) century events. She strives to "denaturalize conventional categorical boundaries, anchor abstractions and mediate oppositions; to explore ways of knowing indigenous pasts and identifying indigenous agency through critical readings of colonial texts" (1). A historian by training, Douglas nonetheless presents this book in terms of her own engagement with anthropology. Her intellectual travels began in the 1960s, when Aboriginal struggles for rights inspired her scholarship, continued through the 1970s with engagement in Geertzian ethnography, then proceeded through the discovery of how to "read" documents for hegemonic narratives (of racism and conquest) and conquered voices (of the Kanak), until finally reaching the climax, in the late 1990s, of a deeply

Journal

The Contemporary PacificUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jul 1, 2000

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