Arguments about Aborigines: Australia and the Evolution of Social Anthropology

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In the nineteenth century, Australian Aborigines were used by European scholars as an exemplar of early human forms, and have consequently featured as the crucial case study for generations of social theorists and anthropologists. Arguments about Aborigines examines controversial subjects such as family life, religion and ritual, and land rights through the prism of Aboriginal studies. Professor Hiatt's book will provide a valuable introduction to Aboriginal ethnography, and is a shrewd and stimulating history of the central questions in Aboriginal studies.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In our native titles era, lawyers, historians and interested non-professionals would find it useful to learn more of anthropologists' intellectual engagements with Aboriginal people over the past century or so. This important book is a good place to start; it is an achievement worthy of a distinguished tribal elder." Bruce Rigsby, Australian Journal of Politics and History

"Reading each of these chapters as separate essays provides one with a brilliant and critical commentary on the history of anthropological thought....Reading the essays in their totality is fascinating. In many ways they read like a mystery of a detective story where the plot is set in the 1850's, subplots and mini-narratives are added on and eventually the 'scientism' of social anthropology displaces the misnomers of the nineteenth century as well as the metaphysics of Aboriginal thought and interpretation." Aram Yengoyan, American Anthropologist

"Reading the essays in their totality is fascinating. In many ways they read like mystery or detective stories in which the plots are set in the 1850's, subplots and mininarratives are added on, and eventually the scientism of social anthropology displaces the misnomers of the 19th century as well as the metaphysics of Aboriginal thought and interpretation. Each chapter drew me intellectually and inquisitively to the ideas and issues espoused prior to 1910." Aram A. Yengoyan, American Anthropologist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521460088
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2012
  • Pages: 225
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. Prologue; 2. Real estates and phantom hordes; 3. Group marriage; 4. The woman question; 5. People without politics; 6. High gods; 7. Conception and misconception; 8. Dangerous mothers-in-law and disfigured sisters; 9. Initiation: the case of the cheeky yam; 10. Epilogue; Notes; References; Index.
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