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Palgrave Studies in Pacific History

Science, Museums and Collecting the Indigenous Dead in Colonial Australia

Authors: Turnbull, Paul

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  • The first in-depth history of scientific curiosity about the Australian Indigenous body
  • Expands the understanding of the relations between exploration and collecting in spheres of European colonial ambition and metropolitan-based medico-scientific activities
  • Reveals the ethical tensions and disruptive dangers of the scientific interest in Aboriginal remains and their treatment
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-51874-9
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-51873-2
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Softcover £24.99
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-84766-5
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About this book

This book draws on over twenty years’ investigation of scientific archives in Europe, Australia, and other former British settler colonies.  It explains how and why skulls and other bodily structures of Indigenous Australians became the focus of scientific curiosity about the nature and origins of human diversity from the early years of colonisation in the late eighteenth century to Australia achieving nationhood at the turn of the twentieth century.  The last thirty years have seen the world's indigenous peoples seek the return of their ancestors' bodily remains from museums and medical schools throughout the western world. Turnbull reveals how the remains of the continent's first inhabitants were collected during the long nineteenth century by the plundering of their traditional burial places. He also explores the question of whether museums also acquired the bones of men and women who were killed in Australian frontier regions by military, armed police and settlers.

About the authors

Paul Turnbull is Professor of History and Digital Humanities at the University of Tasmania, Australia, and Honorary Professor in History at the University of Queensland, Australia.  He is the author of numerous essays on Western biomedical interest in the indigenous peoples of Oceania and is co-editor of The Dead and Their Possessions: Repatriation in Principle, Policy and Practice (2004) and The Long Journey Home: the Meanings and Values of Repatriation (2010). 

Reviews

“Turnbull’s work is a rigorous and lively testimony to the significance of the history of science discipline for contemporary issues of indigeneity and postcoloniality. … Historians of science and collections, museum professionals, scientists, and activists concerned with repatriation will therefore find this book useful and valuable reading.” (Ricardo Roque, Isis, Vol. 111 (1), 2020)
“The strength of Turnbull’s book is the systematic way he works through the different processes of collecting. … Turnbull’s ground-breaking work reads as two separate books: one on the removal of the remains and the other on the return of remains. However, in both areas, Turnbull has made a significant contribution to both the study and practice.” (Gareth Knapman, History Australia, Vol. 16 (3), 2019)

Table of contents (14 chapters)

Table of contents (14 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook £19.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-51874-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £109.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-51873-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Immediate ebook access, if available*, with your print order
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover £24.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-84766-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Immediate ebook access, if available*, with your print order
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Science, Museums and Collecting the Indigenous Dead in Colonial Australia
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in Pacific History
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-51874-9
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-51874-9
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-51873-2
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-84766-5
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 428
Number of Illustrations
6 b/w illustrations
Topics

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