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Ethnographic inquiry in colonial India: Herbert Risley, William Crooke, and the study of tribes and castes

Fuller, C. J. (2017) Ethnographic inquiry in colonial India: Herbert Risley, William Crooke, and the study of tribes and castes. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 23 (3). pp. 603-621. ISSN 1359-0987

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-9655.12654

Abstract

Sir Herbert Risley and William Crooke, both officials in the colonial government, published the first two handbooks of tribes and castes in British India in the 1890s, each containing a lengthy ethnographic glossary with entries for individual tribes and castes. The handbooks are rarely consulted by modern anthropologists of India and have been criticized as colonialist misrepresentation. This article, which reassesses Risley's and Crooke's handbooks as contributions to anthropological knowledge, examines their collection and presentation of ethnographic information, particularly Risley's inquiry into caste ranking. It discusses criticism of the handbooks and their elitist bias, as well as the collaborative contribution made by Indian assistants. It briefly considers why Risley's and Crooke's work was uninteresting to leading metropolitan anthropologists and notes the greater interest of European sociologists.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(IS...
Additional Information: © 2017 Royal Anthropological Institute
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Sets: Departments > Anthropology
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2017 13:47
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2020 02:32
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/84172

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