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Histories and Classification in Timorese Anthropology

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Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)

Abstract

The preceding chapters have analysed the epistemic trajectory of the Coimbra collection by focusing on the connections between things and words. This chapter continues this analysis. At Macao, as we saw, practices of classification and description oriented to a commercial framework divorced the human skulls from texts and information. This separation between words and things attested to the absence of historiographical work. Skulls without ‘history’ were, therefore, received at Coimbra Museum. At Coimbra, skulls and words were reconciled, but Macao’s missing historical information was not recovered. The scholars presumed the indigenous identity of the skulls. Anthropology’s coming of age as a scientific discipline at the university paved the way for studying the skulls as evidence of the human races. A student at Coimbra, Barros e Cunha, produced a craniological text about the collection. The purpose was to classify the races of Timor. Consequently, the location of the skulls doubled. Physically, they inhabited the Coimbra museum storerooms, while, epistemically, they found their place in the scientific text enveloped in anthropological language. Therefore, it is the circulation of this text that we must now principally follow, if we are to understand further epistemic developments in the collection.

Keywords

Ethnic Origin Physical Anthropology Historical Narrative Black Race Human Skull 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Wallace’s anthropological considerations first appeared in 1863–65, and were then later re-published in The Malay Archipelago in 1869. See for example: Wallace, ‘On the Varieties of Man in the Malay Archipelago’, Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London, 3 (1865), 196–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    The ‘Malay Archipelago’ comprised the Malay Peninsula to the Philippines on the north, the Nicobar Islands on the west to the remote Solomon, beyond New Guinea, on the east. For Wallace’s line and the traditions of biogeographical mapping, see Jane R. Camerini, ‘Evolution, Biogeography, and Maps: An Early History of Wallace’s Line’, Isis, 84 (1993), 700–27. For a review of recent work on Wallace, see Jim Endersby, ‘Escaping Darwin’s Shadow’, Journal of the History of Biology, 36 (2003), pp. 385–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    This approach derived from a tradition of inquiry into the regional distribution of human races that had been combining geography and ethnology in a common project of knowledge since the early nineteenth century. In Britain, those interested in the ethnic imbroglios of the ‘Indian Archipelago’ turned attention to ethno-geography, notably John Crawfurd. See J. Crawfurd, ‘On the Connexion between Ethnology and Physical Geography’, Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London, 2 (1863), pp. 4–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    John Crawfurd, for instance, influentially suggested that the Timorese ‘seem [ed] to be of a race intermediate between the Malay and Papuan Negro, but partaking most of the first’. Still, the Timorese mixture was so peculiar that it likely represented ‘an aboriginal and distinct race’ more than an ‘admixture of these two’. John Crawfurd, A Descriptive Dictionary of the Indian Islands & Adjacent Countries (London: Bradbury & Evans, 1856), p. 433. See also Crawfurd, ‘On the Connexion Between Ethnology and Physical Geography’, 11Google Scholar
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    These accounts comprised the works of the British sailor William Dampier (c. 1700s), and of the French naturalists L. de la Tour (1811), François Péron (1807), and L. de Freycinet (1825). As a rule these travellers were limited to the surroundings of Kupang. Nineteenth century ethnologists did not explicitly mention Portuguese sources of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries—eventually the first European texts to mention ethnological aspects of the region. For this reason, I do not discuss early Portuguese sources. Prichard, Researches into the Physical History of Mankind, p. 312. For a bibliography of the relevant travel accounts used as proofs for the existence of dark races in Timor, see E. T. Hamy, ‘Documents pour servir à l’Anthropologie de Timor’, Nouvelles Archives du Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris, X (1874), 247–53.Google Scholar
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    Henry O. Forbes, ‘On Some Tribes of the Island of Timor’, JAIGBI, 13 (1884), 405; Forbes, A Naturalist’s Wanderings, p. 465. Forbes did not encounter ‘any true Papuan’, yet he held paradoxical positions as regards Timor’s Papuan connection. He initially suggested in 1884 that Timor presented ‘a mixture of Polynesian and Malay races, in about equal proportions’, but modified his statement in 1885 into ‘a mixture of Malay, Papuan, and Polynesian races.’ See Ibid., pp. 466–7; Forbes, ‘On some tribes of the island of Timor’, pp. 405–7. Cf. Forbes, ’On the Ethnology of Timor-Laut’, JAIGBI, 13 (1884), 8–31.Google Scholar
  22. 37.
    William H. Flower, ‘President’s Address. Address delivered at the Anniversary Meeting of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, January 27tn 1885, on the Classification of the Varieties of the Human Species’, JAIGBI, XIV (1884–5), 379, n. 1.Google Scholar
  23. 38.
    In his Australasia of 1879, Wallace continued to hold to a Papuan classification of the Timorese; A. H. Keane classified the ‘mixed Papuan peoples’ of Timor as’SubPapuans West’. See Wallace, ed., Australasia (London, 1879), pp. 429–30; Keane, ’On the Relations of the Indo-Chinese and Inter-Oceanic Races and Languages’, p. 263.Google Scholar
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    Cf. Londa Schiebinger, ‘The Anatomy of Difference: Race and Sex in Eighteenth Century Science’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 23, 4 (1990), 387–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 59.
    A previous study has revealed that another contemporary pioneer text in colonial physical anthropology—Fonseca Cardoso’s O Indigena de Satary—followed a similar international trajectory. See Ricardo Roque, ‘Equivocal Connections: Fonseca Cardoso and the Origins of Portuguese Colonial Anthropology’, Portuguese Studies, 19 (2003), 80–109.Google Scholar
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  29. 63.
    The exception that proved the rule was a dry and short review by Fonseca Cardoso in 1899. See A. da Fonseca Cardoso, ‘Joâo Gualberto de Barros e Cunha, Noricia sobre uma série de crânios da ilha de Timor, Coimbra, 1898’, Portugdlia, I (1899), 428.Google Scholar
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    Mendes Correia, ‘Timorenses de Okussi e Ambeno (Notas Antropol6gicas sobre Observações de Fonseca Cardoso),’ Anais Scientificos da Academia Polytechnica do Porto, XI, 1 (1916), 36–51. The paper used unpublished anthropometrical data collected in situ by the late captain Fonseca Cardoso, reputed anthropometrist and former officer in Timor. For Fonseca Cardoso and colonial anthropology in Portugal, see Roque, Antropologia e Império.Google Scholar
  31. 65.
    In turning to anthropometry, Correia was in line with the major methodological move taken by physical anthropologists loyal to the French anthropological tradition. Cf. Mendes Correia, ‘La Dispersion de l’Homme dans la Surface Terrestre’, Scientia (1927), p. 213; Mendes Correia, A Escola Antropológica Portuense (Porto: Instituto de Antropologia da Universidade do Porto, 1941), pp. 35–6; Topinard, Éléments.Google Scholar
  32. 66.
    His early international reputation built to a large extent on these papers. The papers on Timor were praised in L’Anthropologie, in 1916. See R. Verneau, ‘A. A. Mendes Corrêa, Timorenses de Okussi e Ambeno; et Antropologia timorense, 1916’, L’Anthropologie, XXVII, 12 (1916), 480–2Google Scholar
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    In the 1930s-40s, Correia achieved political prominence as the ideologue and driving force of the Estado Novo’s ‘scientific occupation’, a vision for statesponsored scientific research in the colonies under the direction of metropolitan academics and institutions. For Mendes Correia’s colonial anthropology, see Roque, ‘A Antropologia Colonial Portuguesa c. 1911–1950’, in Diogo Ramada Curto (ed.), Estudos de Sociologia da Leitura em Portugal no Século XX (Lisbon: FCG/FCT, 2006), pp. 789–822Google Scholar
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    Correia, ‘Timorenses de Okussi e Ambeno,’ p. 47. However, this opinion contradicted Deniker, another of Correia’s main references. Deniker suggested that, except for Malay influence on the coast, the ‘Papuan blood’ prevailed among the ‘Ema-Belos of the middle of the island’. Correia disregarded this point for the sake of his argument. Cf. Jean Deniker, The Races of Man. An Outline of Anthropology and Ethnography (London: Walter Scott, 1900), pp. 491–2; Correia, ’Timorenses de Okussi e Ambeno,’ 38.Google Scholar
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    Eventually, Mendes Correia first made this point in an article of 1916. Correia, Antropologia Timorense; A. Leite de Magalhães, ‘Subsidios para o Estudo Etnológico de Timor’, TSPAE, 1, II (1920), 46.Google Scholar
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    Magalhães, like Correia, advocated that the ‘primitive inhabitants’ of Portuguese Timor were of the ‘yellow’, ‘Malaysian race’. Magalhâes, ‘Subsidios para o Estudo Etnológico de Timor’, 48. See also: Leite de Magalhães, ‘Provincia de Timor. A Ilha de Ataúro. Notícia sobre a ilha e seus Habitantes’, BSGL, 36, 1–3 (1918), 47, 61–2.Google Scholar
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    Hereafter I follow Whyte’s distinction between historical and fictional stories based on content rather than on form, a distinction which preserves the possibility of ‘imaginary discourses’ to be ‘real’ if taken as ‘true’: ‘The content of historical stories is real events, events that really happened, rather than imaginary events, events invented by the narrator. This implies that the form in which historical events present themselves to a prospective narrator is found rather than constructed.’ Hayden Whyte, ‘The Question of Narrative in Contemporary Historical Theory’, History & Theory, 23, 1 (1984), p. 2. [emphasis in the original]Google Scholar
  47. 84.
    See Mendes Correia, ‘Antropologia de Timor’, BAGC, 108 (1934), 206. A short description of four Timorese skulls in 1925 also referred cautiously to Cunha’s contribution and followed Magalhâes in declaring to be ‘uncertain whether the crania studied by Barros e Cunha have belonged to Timorese’. Joaquim Pires de Lima and Constâncio Mascarenhas, ‘Contribuição para o Estudo Antropológico de Timor’, Arquivo de Anatomia e Antropologia (1925), p. 452.Google Scholar
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    Gentio de Timor received immediate praise and in that same year was granted the First Prize in the national Colonial Literature contest. Hero of the First World War and avowed right-wing nationalist, Correia was one of the army officers behind the military coup of 1926 from which the Estado Novo came out in 1933. He served in Timor from 1928 to 1933 as Military Commandant of Baucau, Director of Public Works, and President of the Dili City Council. Cf. A. Pinto Correia, ‘Notas de Etnografia Timorense (Região de Baucau)’, BGC, X, 106 (1934), 35–52. Hereafter my biographical sources for Pinto Correia are: Processo individual do Capitâo Armando Eduardo Pinto Correia, Lisbon, AHMiI, Box 666; Teôfilo Duarte, ‘Prefâcio’, in Correia, Timor de Lés a Lés, pp. 8–10.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Ricardo Nuno Afonso Roque 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Social SciencesUniversity of LisbonPortugal

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