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Living in the Stone Age – Reflections on the Origins of a Colonial Fantasy - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Living in the Stone Age: Reflections on the Origins of a Colonial Fantasy

Danilyn Rutherford


Living in the Stone Age scrutinizes a stubborn colonial fantasy: one that has trapped the people of the troubled Indonesian territory of West Papua in the past. The book focuses on the experiences of a handful of Dutch officials tasked with establishing a post in the Wissel Lakes region of the highlands when the territory was still part of the Netherlands Indies. Two of these officials played a key role in the campaign to retain western New Guinea as a separate Dutch colony after the Indies gained independence; they saw the Stone Age Papuans as too primitive to rule themselves. The book explor ... More

Keywords: West Papua, Wissel Lakes, colonial state building, colonial ideology, vulnerability, sympathy, technology, epistemology, ethics, cultural anthropology

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780226570105
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226570389.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Danilyn Rutherford, author
Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research

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Part 1 Sympathy and Its Discontents: A Colonial Encounter

Part 2 Vulnerability and Fantasies of Mastery

Part 3 Lessons for a New Anthropology

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