Revunenkova E. V. N. N. Miklouho-Maclay and His Studies of the Papuans of New Guinea

E. Revunenkova - Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
ORCID: 0000-0002-9580-9106
E-mail: evrevu@gmail.com

 

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ABSTRACT. The article presents a thorough overview of Nikolai N. Miklouho-Maclay’s studies of the life and culture of the Papua people of New Guinea. This research is of considerable historical and public interest. The author describes Miklouho-Maclay’s methodology of ethnographic studies in detail, stressing his desire to communicate with the local population in their language, mastery of which was of great importance to the traveler. Miklouho-Maclay’s letters and writing, drawings and objects comprising his ethnographic collections are all integral parts of his academic heritage. It is imperative that we should study them all together and in the context of each other: only then can we appreciate the full extent of Miklouho-Maclay’s contributions to scholarship. The article draws attention not only to the collected ethnographical observations (which Miklouho-Maclay considered his main purpose), but also to their theoretical base, which was characteristic of the ethnographic studies of the era. A true “man of science”, Miklouho-Maclay strove to share his anthropological and ethnographic observations with the prominent thinkers of the time, among them Karl Ernst von Baer, Ernst Haeckel, Rudolf Virchow, Thomas Henry Huxley, August Petermann and others. The article also describes creative developments based on Miklouho-Maclay’s heritage, which remains impactful in approaching the urgent problems of modern ethnographic scholarship.

 

KEYWORDS: Miklouho-Maclay, Papuans, language, rituals, modern research, ‘Maclay readings’

 

DOI 10.31250/2618-8600-2021-3(13)-6-26
УДК 001:39

 

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