Ethnic impostors

Tobias B. Hug

in Impostures in Early Modern England

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780719079849
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702413 | DOI:
Ethnic impostors

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter investigates ethnic impostors, or people who claimed to be of a different ethnicity. It examines the perception of people who claimed to be of a different ethnicity, and identifies which features of ethnicity played a role in their success. The chapter explores the celebrated case of the pretended Formosan George Psalmanazar and Mary Baker, who passed herself off as Princess Caraboo from Javasu, and suggests that a shift in perception of the far-away ‘other’ was necessary to make ethnic imposture a worthwhile enterprise.

Keywords: ethnic impostors; ethnicity; George Psalmanazar; Mary Baker; Princess Caraboo; far-away other

Chapter.  9233 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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