Anthropology, Collecting and Colonial Governmentalities

1 April 2014

Anthropology, Collecting and Colonial Governmentalities

A special issue of the journal History and Anthropology, guest edited by Rodney Harrison and colleagues at the University of Western Sydney, is now available online.

The 10 papers brought together in this special issue on Anthropology, Collecting and Colonial Governmentalities, edited by Rodney with Tony Bennett and Ben Dibley, have their origin in the workshop, 'Colonial Governmentalities', held in late October 2012 at the Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney, as part of the Australian Research Council-funded project, 'Museum, Field, Metropolis, Colony: Practices of Social Governance'.

The special issue contributes to an emerging literature on the materialities of colonial government by considering the changing relations between practices of data collecting, styles of anthropological knowing and modes of governing which target the conduct of colonial and metropolitan populations. Drawing on comparative studies from Australia; the Australian administered territory of Papua; France; French Indo-China; New Zealand; North America and the United Kingdom; the papers consider the implications of different forms of knowledge associated with practices of collecting—anthropology, archaeology, folklore studies, demography—in apparatuses of rule in various late nineteenth and early twentieth century contexts.

The final conference of the ARC-funded research project on 'Museums, Collecting, Agency' is being held at the Australian Museum in Sydney on the 1-2 April 2014. The conference will explore questions of agency as they relate to museum and museum-like practices of collecting, particularly in connection with histories of colonialism and their legacies. In this it contributes to lively engagements within museum scholarship on the role of objects and colonialism.