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Out of Our Minds: Reason and Madness in the Exploration of Central Africa
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Out of Our Minds: Reason and Madness in the Exploration of Central Africa

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  26 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Explorers and ethnographers in Africa during the period of colonial expansion are usually assumed to have been guided by rational aims such as the desire for scientific knowledge, fame, or financial gain. This book, the culmination of many years of research on nineteenth-century exploration in Central Africa, provides a new view of those early European explorers and their ...more
Paperback, 335 pages
Published June 13th 2000 by University of California Press (first published May 14th 2000)
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Sam Beer
Apr 12, 2012 Sam Beer rated it it was amazing
Fabian challenges two particular conceptions of exploration and ethnography in central Africa in the late 19th and early 20th century: the explorer as a rational agent of science, and the explorer as a complicit agent of the empire, who may therefore be dismissed out of hand. In spite of (because of?) the madness often demonstrated by the cited ethnographers, accounts often contained shockingly self-aware critiques of contemporary ethnographic theory and practice, many of which remain quite rele ...more
This work easily tops the list of the best non-fiction I’ve read in quite some while. Certainly different (in form and style only, for the themes are consistent) from his highly abstruse work Time and the Other. Fabian invites us to the epistemological exercise of traveling ‘through the minds of travelers’: these travelers being a collection of men from German and Belgium expeditions in Central Africa during the late 19th and early 20th century, a pivotal time in the history of contact. “Our tar ...more
Justin Dell
This monograph constitutes a considerable challenge to the romantic myth of the European colonial explorer as an intrepid hero, guided by reason, charting new lands for king and country. The truth is, German and Belgian explorers of central Africa, who form the case study in Fabian's text, often went 'out of their minds' in ecstasy as they were immersed in a nexus of experiences 'on the ground' in the mission field. Instead of remaining immutably European in character and deportment (in the myth ...more
Nov 05, 2013 Tomas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school
[officiele recensie]

Deze recensie is geschreven met het oog op de instrumentele waarde die Fabian in Out of our minds neerschrijft. We bevatten deze tekst als een kritische blik op verleden kennisverwerving en geschiedschrijving. Daarom kunnen de ideeën die hier worden aangehaald voldoende worden geïnterpreteerd om tot een eigen kritische vorm van denken over het menselijk handelen komen. Waar Fabian zich uitlaat over het verleden, ontdekkingsreizigers
Jul 01, 2009 Naeem rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those serious about understanding cultural encounter, ethnography, and colonialism
Recommended to Naeem by: Sara-Maria
I read this book rather quickly (sneaking it in against my ban on reading and writing this summer), in order to determine if I would read it again.

I plan to read it again with great care. There is something both fantastic and essential that Fabian has put his finger on.

I refer you to the detailed and excellent review by Sara-Maria:

Aug 03, 2009 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
A friend of mine gave me this book after I returned from a year in Malawi, exhausted, depressed, and extremely self-critical for not having accomplished all (or really hardly any) of what I'd set out to do; it helped put my own experience into perspective.
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