Collecting the Solomon Islands: Colonial encounters & Indigenous experiences in the Solomon Island collections of Charles Morris Woodford and Arthur Mahaffy (1886-1915)

O'Brien, Aoife (2011) Collecting the Solomon Islands: Colonial encounters & Indigenous experiences in the Solomon Island collections of Charles Morris Woodford and Arthur Mahaffy (1886-1915). Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

As tangible manifestations of past and present interactions between humans and the material world, objects force us to reckon with the messy and often contradictory aspects of history. The establishment of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate in 1893 marked the formalisation of European control and dominance over the region, and brought about the cessation or alteration of many cultural traditions and practices. The transformations of the subsequent twenty years brought Islanders, colonial officers, and plantations owners together in the formation of a colonial society predicated on hierarchies of race and economics. Focusing on the museum collections of Charles Morris Woodford (1852-1927), an amateur naturalist and first Resident Commissioner to the Solomons, and Arthur Mahaffy (1869-1919), the first District Officer of the region, this thesis elucidates colonial micro-histories and indigenous perspectives embodied in these forms. Utilising these collections, alongside the men’s writings, photographs, and archival colonial records, this project reveals the various strategies and techniques employed to create their collections in the field and the complexities of the period’s cross-cultural interactions. The thesis also contributes to current ethnohistorical and theoretical understandings of how social relations are made and embodied in objects, complicates current colonial histories of the Solomons, and methodologically demonstrates the potentials of collections in historical based anthropological research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art History and World Art Studies
Depositing User: Megan Ruddock
Date Deposited: 15 May 2018 13:34
Last Modified: 15 May 2018 13:34
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/67067
DOI:

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