5
Amateurs and Cultural Ecologists

Modern Kalahari ethnography has it origins in a melting chocolate bar and the economic failure of the first microwave oven. At the risk of oversimplifying, let me explain the chain of events.

The Raytheon Corporation, founded in 1922, was active in developing radar during the Second World War. After the war, a Raytheon engineer working with a tabletop radar contraption noticed that his chocolate bar was melting, apparently as a result of microwaves. Laurence Marshall, co-founder and chairman of the corporation, was keen to develop peaceful post-war pursuits for his company. The 'radar cooker', as he called it, seemed to fit the bill. However, he had a good deal of trouble selling the idea to railway companies or any other likely consumers. Fellow directors at Raytheon opted to pursue other ventures instead, and Marshall sold up his shares, retired and took his family off to study the Bushmen, who, he believed, lived a more peaceful existence than the 'civilized' societies of the West (see J. Marshall 1993: 22–6).


The Marshall Family

Lorna Marshall and the Marshall Expeditions

Laurence Marshall was born in 1889 and died in 1980. His wife Lorna was the proud owner of the prototype microwave oven until 1978, when it was moved to a museum. She was born in 1898 and died in 2002. Laurence and Lorna and their children Elizabeth and John each had a role to play in the family's expeditions and in their work among G/wi and especially among so-called !Kung Bushmen (now known as Ju/'hoansi). Laurence took part in all the family's eight expeditions – the Peabody Museum Kalahari Expeditions (1950, 1951 and 1952–3) and the Peabody-Harvard Smithsonian Kalahari Expeditions (1965, 1956, 1957–8, 1959 and 1961) – primarily as organizer and still photographer. For ease of reference, Lorna preferred to call them simply the Marshall Expeditions. She was there for most of them, though not the first or in 1956 and 1957–8. She acted as the main ethnographer, while Elizabeth wrote as well, and John was responsible for filming. Lorna once told me that her family's original plan had been to study animal behaviour, but friends at Harvard had warned them that a certain degree of

-53-

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Anthropology and the Bushman
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • 2: From Early Encounters to Early Anthropology 11
  • 3: Victorian Visions of the Bushman 23
  • 4: Beckoning of the Kalahari 39
  • 5: Amateurs and Cultural Ecologists 53
  • 6: An Original Affluent Society? 67
  • 7: The Return of Myth and Symbol 83
  • 8: Kalahari Revisionism and Portrayals of Contact 97
  • 9: Advocacy, Development and Partnership 113
  • 10: Representations and Self-Representations 129
  • 11: Reflections and Conclusions 143
  • References 149
  • Index 172
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