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Title:Cosmopolitan Visions and Municipal Displays: Museums, Markets, and the Ethnographic Project in Germany, 1868--1914
Author(s):Penny, H. Glenn, III
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Peter Fritzsche
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:This dissertation is a materialist and social history of cultural institutions and their guiding concepts. It is focused on the creation and development of ethnographic museums in Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, and Munich, and the ways in which the cultural and social interests and desires of scientists, civic associations, collectors, patrons and visitors, as well as the force of a growing international market in material culture, shaped the science of ethnology and German ethnographic museums. It explores the appeal of ethnology in Germany and seeks to explain why Germans, more than a decade before they began seizing colonial territories, created the world's largest ethnographic museum, and why German scientists such as Adolf Bastian, who isolated themselves from the race debate, energetically spearheaded a world-wide effort to "save" the material traces of humanity. It argues that the inspirations, motivations, and legitimacy for the creation of German ethnographic museums stemmed from a combination of cosmopolitan visions. German cultural scientists drew on the cosmopolitan character of the Humboldtian tradition to fashion their world views, and their ethnological efforts were driven by a strong liberal humanism and a powerful historicist tradition. They created museums to support their search for global explanations about the essential nature of what they regarded as a unitary humanity, and they gained assistance from a range of worldly provincials in these German cities who were enticed by the idea of participating in this international science and sought to use it to enhance and advertise the cosmopolitan character of their cities and themselves. These Germans developed a powerfully future-oriented ethnology, that eschewed evolutionary schemes, and racialist contentions. But once they began to pursue their ethnographic project, it was channeled and shaped by scientists, collectors, boosters, and competitors inside and outside of Germany. The cosmopolitan ideals that initially drove this movement gradually combined with, and were eventually overshadowed by, more modern, professional, and materialist concerns. As a result, between 1868 and 1914, a project that began with attempts to locate the most essential elements of humanity, ironically ended by articulating the fundamental difference between Europeans and peoples in faraway lands.
Issue Date:1999
Description:388 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9944964
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1999

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