Monday, May 4, 2009

Scoping the Amazon: Image, Icon, and Ethnography Book Review

Scoping the Amazon: Image, Icon, and Ethnographyalt

Since the founding of anthropology as a social science in the late 19th century up through the end of the 20th century, the field has been one of the primary brokers of culture and the industry that surrounds it. Beginning with the founding “fathers” of the field and their desire to define culture and its subsequent particulars, up until recently with struggles over identity and who has the right to define that identity, anthropology has played a major role. This is particularly true in countries and among indigenous peoples that were at one point part of Western civilization’s colonial and imperial past. As distant lands and people became known to science and were brought under the fold of Western colonial and imperial discourse, the construction, definition, and identities of “culture(s)” largely became the privy of anthropologists.
Scoping the Amazon: Indigenous Peoples Book Review
This is no more so true then in the Amazon region of South America. As Stephen Nugent articulates in the recent book Scoping the Amazonalt“the geographical remoteness and marginality of most Brazilian indigenous peoples that survived through the 20th century has meant that anthropology as a field has been a key source and reference point for much public understanding of and knowledge about extant Amazonian indigenous peoples” (p. 221).

In this powerfully argued, and potentially deconstructive book, Nugent focuses on one product line within the anthropological culture industry – indigenous peoples of Amazonia – and its portrayal across three different, though linked, historical projections: the “green hell” of Victorian naturalism; the hunter-gatherer landscape of modern ethnography; and the Amazonia of Hollywood and popular media.

By reformulating one of anthropology’s more recent core contradictions – that of replacing the universalism of science with the universalism of the visual – Scoping the Amazonaltoffers a new medium, photography, as a way of retaining the possibility of anthropology’s cross-cultural discourse while disavowing any scientific pretensions or associations. Whether this is actually possible is still undecided, but Nugent makes several strong arguments for and against such a universalism.

Read the rest of the review here: Scoping The Amazon: Image, Icon, and Ethnography.

Related Indigenous People's Issues by Keywords

Use the Search Function at the Top to Find More Articles, Fellowships, Conferences, Indigenous Issues, Book Reviews, and Resources

No comments:

Post a Comment

Contribute to Indigenous People's Issues Today

Do you have a resource on indigenous peoples that you would like to share? Indigenous People's Issues is always looking for great new information, news, articles, book reviews, movies, stories, or resources.

Please send it along and we will do a feature. Email it to the Editor, Peter N. Jones: pnj "at"

Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources

Privacy Policy for Indigenous Peoples Issues Today (

The privacy of our visitors to Indigenous Peoples Issues Today is important to us.

At Indigenous Peoples Issues Today, we recognize that privacy of your personal information is important. Here is information on what types of personal information we receive and collect when you use visit Indigenous Peoples Issues Today, and how we safeguard your information. We never sell your personal information to third parties.

Log Files

As with most other websites, we collect and use the data contained in log files. The information in the log files include your IP (internet protocol) address, your ISP (internet service provider, such as AOL or Shaw Cable), the browser you used to visit our site (such as Internet Explorer or Firefox), the time you visited our site and which pages you visited throughout our site.

Cookies and Web Beacons

We do use cookies to store information, such as your personal preferences when you visit our site. This could include only showing you a pop-up once in your visit, or the ability to login to some of our features, such as forums.

We also use third party advertisements on Indigenous Peoples Issues Today to support our site. Some of these advertisers may use technology such as cookies and web beacons when they advertise on our site, which will also send these advertisers (such as Google through the Google AdSense program) information including your IP address, your ISP, the browser you used to visit our site, and in some cases, whether you have Flash installed. This is generally used for geotargeting purposes (showing New York real estate ads to someone in New York, for example) or showing certain ads based on specific sites visited (such as showing cooking ads to someone who frequents cooking sites). Google, as a third party vendor, uses cookies to serve ads on this site. Google's use of the DART cookie enables it to serve ads to users based on their visit to sites on the Internet. Users may opt out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting the Google ad and content network privacy policy.

You can chose to disable or selectively turn off our cookies or third-party cookies in your browser settings, or by managing preferences in programs such as Norton Internet Security. However, this can affect how you are able to interact with our site as well as other websites. This could include the inability to login to services or programs, such as logging into forums or accounts.

Thank you for understanding and supporting Indigenous Peoples Issues Today. We understand that some viewers may be concerned that ads are sometimes served for companies that negatively depict indigenous peoples and their cultures. We understand this concern. However, there are many legitimate companies that utilize Google Adwords and other programs to attract visitors. Currently, we have no way of deciphering between the two - we leave it up to the viewer to decide whether the companies serving ads are honest or not.