By Henrika Kuklick
A brand new background of Anthropology collects unique writings from pre-eminent students to create a worldly yet available advisor to the advance of the sector.
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Written by himself, Defoe’s 1719 book was effectively presented as non-fiction; indeed, Defoe’s name was not on the title page. Moreover, Defoe promised the reader instruction as well as entertainment. ” A deep sense of religious design pervades this fictional narrative of discovery, just as it earlier motivated Columbus and his patrons. Crusoe’s relationship to the “native” he met on his island, whom he named Friday, embodied widespread attitudes toward native peoples: a mixture of fear of the demonic (symbolized above all by the fear of cannibalism) and confidence in one’s calling to missionize, Christianize, and civilize.
Overall, Columbus’s writing constitutes a tentative breakthrough to a new mental as well as physical world. He struggles to make old and new fit together, sometimes arguing that the things he has seen confirm the original vision that had led him overseas, at other times giving way to an astonishment that is at least an implicit recognition of something novel and requiring elucidation. In the generation after Columbus many Spanish theologians turned to Aristotle in order to define the peoples of the New World as natural slaves, peoples who had deficient reason.
Acosta also uses his and others’ experience of the Americas to refute his contemporaries’ prejudices. One of his means is comparison with classical antiquity. : 328). : 432). : 432). qxd 18/06/2007 10:07 Page 23 Anthropology Before Anthropology 23 opinion of these peoples; for example, as late as the early nineteenth century, painters alluded to noble classical types in their portraits of North American Indians and Polynesians (Truettner 1979; Smith 1985). The Greeks and Romans (along with the Bible) provided Europe’s in-house stock of anthropological knowledge.