Butterflies & Barbarians: Swiss Missionaries and Systems of Knowledge in South-East Africa

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Swiss missionaries played a primary and little-known role in explaining Africa to the literate world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This book emphasizes how these European intellectuals, brought to the deep rural areas of southern Africa by their vocation, formulated and ordered knowledge about the continent. Central to this group was Junod, who became a pioneering collector in the fields of entomology and botany. He would later examine African society with the methodology, theories, and confidence of the natural sciences. On the way he came to depend on the skills of African observers and collectors. Out of this work emerged, in three stages between 1898 and 1927, an influential classic in the field of South African anthropology, Life of a South African Tribe.