From Maps to Mummy-Curses: Rethinking Encounters, Ethnography and Ethnology

S.S. Davies, Neil Whitehead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This volume explores the ways in which distinctive representational modes—in textual, visual and artefactual media—work as contact zones for cultural encounters. The case studies, whose subjects range chronologically from classical antiquity to the present day, historicize the objects, subjects, media and epistemologies of ethnography. The contributors explore gender and cultural hybridity in Herodotus' History, mapping and pre-modern discourses on wonders in the East, the trope of the cannibal in the Renaissance, early modern Jesuit responses to castration, the early twentieth-century British Museum mummy curse, and the ethics of the continuing use of anthropology as a military weapon. As a group, the essays offer interventions on notions of encounter, ethnography and ethnology, on the contexts and mentalities that prompt and structure modes of othering and, consequently, self-inscription. The volume engages with questions of cognition, epistemology, realpolitik and the relationship between experience and mental frameworks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-182
Number of pages10
JournalHistory and Anthropology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • history of anthropology


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