Chapter

Travel, Exploration, and Occupation

Johannes Fabian

in Out of Our Minds

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2000 | ISBN: 9780520221222
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923935 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520221222.003.0002
Travel, Exploration, and Occupation

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Put as simply as possible, exploratory travel was movement through space. But before and even during the trip, traveling was an operation: personnel, supplies, and equipment had to be recruited, acquired, and put to work. This chapter begins with the image of the solitary European leading his caravan, hinting at the probability that this stereotype was of logistical importance. The European-centered expedition often performed its information-gathering tasks at the periphery. When caravans finally got on their way—generic descriptions of such departures were part of most of the travelogues—travelers had to face difficulties that sometimes outranked the problems of logistics. As they entered new regions, they had to deal with local rulers of varying stature and legitimacy. Local politics would have been a factor affecting travel. Getting to places depended, furthermore, on the habits and rules established for caravan travel, which the explorers found when they arrived in Africa.

Keywords: exploratory travel; European caravan; information gathering; local politics; logistics; Africa; caravan travel

Chapter.  12011 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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