Southern Anthropology: A History of Fison and Howitt’s Kamilaroi and Kurnai

by Associate Profesor Helen Gardner (Deakin University) and Dr Patrick McConvell (Australian National University)

From far-flung sites in Australia and the Pacific Islands, Lorimer Fison and A. W. Howitt produced the landmark study, Kamilaroi and Kurnai (1880). Their book revealed the complexity of Aboriginal and Pacific Island societies and changed the course of anthropology in the early years of the discipline. Using archival sources and an innovative approach, Southern Anthropology explores the research, writing and reception of Kamilaroi and Kurnai. Historical chapters track Fison and Howitt’s collection and analysis of anthropological material in the context of raging debates about the evolution of humans. This narrative is interspersed with an introduction to the kinship and social organisation of Aboriginal and Pacific Island people that highlight the enduring value of Fison and Howitt’s methods and the resurgence of their questions in contemporary anthropology.

‘Southern Anthropology makes an important and original contribution to the history of Anglophone and Antipodean anthropology’. – Professor Nicolas Peterson, Australian National University

(Publication forthcoming August 2015)



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