By Ricardo Roque;
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Additional info for Headhunting and Colonialism: Anthropology and the Circulation of Human Skulls in the Portuguese Empire, 1870–1930
Head-hunting: n. 31 As victories were reported from Timor in 1896, the notion of ‘headhunting’ conveyed a meaning opposite to an interpenetration of European and nonEuropean cultures. 33 In the late nineteenth century, this latter meaning crystallized as a stereotype attached to remote nonWestern societies seen as the ‘barbarian’ otherness of ‘civilized’ Europe. It organized one of those anthropological dichotomies characteristic of the civilizing and evolutionist idioms of the Victorian age. A deterministic historical ordering juxtaposed to the classical category, and the tribal peoples of Southeast Asia especially ﬁtted into the stereotype.
In effect, it is argued here that the ethnography of Timorese traditional life must be completed with an anthropological history of Portuguese colonialism. The next section explores this possibility. It describes the Portuguese strategies for integrating indigenous conceptions into the principles of efﬁcient government. The Portuguese perceived colonial authority to be dependent on the intensiﬁcation of symbolic power and the preservation of customs recognized as traditional by the Timorese.
77 Parasitism in colonial interactions explores this trope. It invites us to understand power as an instance of weakness, immobility, and the relative deprivation of resources. This enables us to conceptualize colonial government in situations of feeble European presence, such as the one of the Portuguese in Timor, as seen in the Introduction to this book. In addition, power in parasitism, as suggested above, should be seen as grounded on ‘unequal exchanges’. In colonialism, to address the strength of weak forms of rule calls for an understanding of the symbiotic connections and circuits of unequal exchange interconnecting the indigenous and colonial communities.
Headhunting and Colonialism: Anthropology and the Circulation of Human Skulls in the Portuguese Empire, 1870–1930 by Ricardo Roque;