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Fieldwork as Translation: Linnaeus' Apostle Anders Sparrman and the Hottentot Perspective
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1567-430X
2013 (English)In: African literatures and beyond: a florilegium / [ed] Bernth Lindfors and Geoffrey V. Davis, Amsterdam-New York: Editions Rodopi B.V. , 2013, 149-176 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The critical reception of Sparrman's South African travelogue (as a whole text and not a source bank for particular scholarly interests) is, markedly, dominated by inaudibility and negligence. The resistance to examine the in-between-ness of Sparrman's dialogic meetings outside of their spatial and temporal hierarchies is persevering. Style is always personal. Genre is not. It within the interface of a social event shaped by speakers in translation, in exchanges of shared values transcending the colonial asymmetry that Sparrman emerged as a reciprocal, interactive agent.

This chapter discusses the entangled history of Anders Sparrman's travel account Resa till Goda Hopps-udden, södra pol-kretsen och omkring jordklotet, samt till hottentott- och caffer-landen, åren 1772-76, its decade long progression from fieldwork memoranda to the Swedish edition (1783) and the translations into German (1784) and English (1785, 1786). My focus is on the linguistic-cultural communication that evolved between Sparrman and his informants and how its critical denouncement of Boer colonial aggression and enactment of Khoisan struggle for survival were adjusted to the Linnean pedagogy for naturalist travellers and translators. I show how Sparrman endorsed the Linnean concept of 'socializing' with the people en route for the acquisition of data, how his fascination with language provided him with an incisive tool for self-reflexivity. I extend the notion of field-work to confront the postmodern negligence and rejection of Sparrman as a unique communicator and writer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam-New York: Editions Rodopi B.V. , 2013. 149-176 p.
Keyword [en]
18th century translation, South Africa, Khoisan, Boer, colonial anthropology, colonial ethnology
National Category
History of Ideas History General Literature Studies
Research subject
History Of Sciences and Ideas; Cultural Anthropology; history of education; Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-51416ISBN: 978-90-420-3738-0 (print)ISBN: 978-94-012-0989-2 (e-book)OAI: diva2:492064

A chapter in a Festschrift for James Gibbs.

Available from: 2012-02-07 Created: 2012-01-20 Last updated: 2014-04-11Bibliographically approved

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Granqvist, Raoul J.
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