Travelers' World

Travelers' World

by Harry Liebersohn
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0674027477

ISBN-13: 9780674027473

Pub. Date: 03/31/2008

Publisher: Harvard University Press

In a beautifully crafted narrative that transports the reader from the salons of Europe to the shores of Tahiti, Harry Liebersohn examines the transformation of global knowledge during the great age of scientific exploration. He moves beyond the traditional focus on British and French travelers to include Germans, Russians, and some Americans, as well as the

Overview

In a beautifully crafted narrative that transports the reader from the salons of Europe to the shores of Tahiti, Harry Liebersohn examines the transformation of global knowledge during the great age of scientific exploration. He moves beyond the traditional focus on British and French travelers to include Germans, Russians, and some Americans, as well as the Tahitian, Hawaiian, and other Pacific islanders they encountered. Germany gets special attention because its travelers epitomized the era’s cosmopolitanism and its philosophers engaged most fully in a multicultural understanding of humanity.

Famous adventurers like Captain Cook make appearances, but it’s the observations of such naturalists as Philibert Commerson, George Forster, and Adelbert von Chamisso that helped most to generate a new understanding of these far-flung societies. These European travelers saw non-Europeans neither as “savages” nor as projections of colonial fantasies. Instead the explorers accumulated a rich storehouse of perceptions through negotiations with patrons at home, collaborators abroad, salon philosophers, and missionary rivals.

Liebersohn illuminates the transformative nature of human connections. He examines the expectations these servants of empire brought to the peoples they encountered, and acknowledges the effects of Oceanian behaviors, including unexpected notions of sexuality, on the Europeans. Equally important, he details the reception of these travelers upon their return home.

An unforgettable voyage filled with delightful characters, dramatic encounters, and rich cultural details, The Travelers’ World heralds a moment of intellectual preparation for the modern global era. We now travel effortlessly to distant places, but the questions about perception, truth, and knowledge that these intercontinental mediators faced still resonate.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674027473
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
03/31/2008
Pages:
402
Product dimensions:
0.82(w) x 5.50(h) x 8.50(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Map: The Pacific Ocean

Map: Europe in 1815, after the Congress of Vienna

Introduction

Travelers as Ethnographers-Histories-Dimensions of a World

1. Travelers

Philibert Commerson—George Forster—Adelbert von Chamisso

2. Patrons

France—Great Britain—Russia—Germany

3. Collaborators

Ahutoru—Tupaia, Mai, Mahine—Elliot de Castro, Marin, Kadu—Ali'i and Kings—Kingship in Tahiti: The Pomares-Kingship in Hawaii: Kamehameha

4. Philosophers

Diderot and the Shock of Tahiti—Kant and George Forster—Wilhelm von Humboldt on Linguistic Diversity

5.Missions

Dumont D'Urville and the Triumph of Racial Science—Sex, Speech, and Prophecy in Tahiti—Native Missionaries, New Englanders, and kapus in Hawaii—Science and Religion in Conflict

6. Darwin, Melville, and the End of a World

Darwin and the "More Cheerful View"—Melville and the Casket Ships

Conclusion

Travelers as Interpreters—Travelers as Mediators

Chronology

Notes

Select Bibliography

Illustration Credits

Index

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