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History Workshop: “The Compilers: The Production and Presentation of Knowledge in African Colonial Contexts, 1830–1900.”

Dr. Lindsay Frederick Braun, UO History,
Friday, May 25, 10:00-11:30 am,
McKenzie Hall, Room 375.

In in the second half of the nineteenth century, the collection and consumption of geographic and ethnographic information about unknown regions—and, increasingly, newly colonized ones—fed a growing market in Europe and the United States.  In this era, before the widespread deployment of imperial institutions that could collect, curate, and authenticate this knowledge for redistribution and colonial rule, that same task tended to fall to a small number of individuals (or compilers) within each territory. This project uses a few examples from southern and northern Africa to raise questions about how widespread that tendency was, why it could exist in that historical moment, and the broad range of positions and vocations these figures might occupy.