Englightenment or Empire: Colonial Discourse in German Culture

By Russell A. Berman | Go to book overview

4
ENGENDERED COLONIES

If distant travel implies an encounter with another culture, such encounters by no means rely on a single or stable epistemological frame. Forster’s curiosity about the foreign sensibility stands in marked contrast to Cook’s stolid disregard for cultural alterity. If control was at issue it was the geometric map of space that was Cook’s prize, not the specific constellation of meanings, values, and practices on the South Island of New Zealand. Rohlfs is, in some ways, heir to Cook’s science, except that science itself has in the course of nearly a century undergone profound changes. The split between lay and professional practitioners had grown enormously between the 1770s and the 1860s, and the erstwhile disregard for the other cultures had been transformed into denigration and contempt. This new hostility explains the colonial turn in the geographic discourse, although it is still territorial control rather than culture—the hearts and minds, so to speak—that concerned Rohlfs. In contrast, the missionary Stern exemplifies the practice of hermeneutic engagement, in which the priorities were reversed: culture rather than territory was foremost, although his colonial animus is quite comparable to Rohlfs’s. All this points to a range of possible variation in the traveler’s account between physical geography and cultural ethnography, which implies as well a range of genres. Much of this is surely true for colonial writing in general, or rather for any writing about other cultures and places—that is, travel literature. Within colonial discourse, however, German material is

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Englightenment or Empire: Colonial Discourse in German Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1- The Enlightenment Travelogue and the Colonial Text 21
  • 2- Gerhard Rohlfs and Geographic Writing 65
  • 3- Henry Stern and Missionary Space 104
  • 4- Engendered Colonies 134
  • 5- Colonial Literature and the Emancipation of Women 171
  • 6- The Myth of Anticolonialism 203
  • Notes 241
  • Selected Bibliography 249
  • Index 259
  • In the Modem German Culture and Literature Series 271
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