Chapter

The Coup of 1858–1860

Ter Ellingson

in The Myth of the Noble Savage

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780520222687
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925922 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520222687.003.0017
The Coup of 1858–1860

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This chapter examines Hunt's description of the events of 1858 and the crisis that led to the transformation of the Ethnological Society. The ESL Minutes contain no information on the meeting beyond the postponement of the date; and the official news report of the meeting submitted by the society to the Athenaeum mentions only Sir James Clark's presiding and the election of officers, with no public hint of any crisis. Thus we have only Hunt's testimony suggesting the crisis produced by the disastrously small attendance at the 1858 meeting, and his hint of the crucial role it played in the transformation of the society. Hunt's chronology displays the usual inconsistencies with the contemporary record but is consistent with the political dynamics of the takeover of the society. By early 1860, the racist takeover of the society was awaiting only the elections of 1860 to receive official validation.

Keywords: anthropological racism; Ethnological Society; James Hunt; ESL Minutes; Sir James Clark

Chapter.  8164 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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