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7 - Performing The Wonder in Sumatra

Theatrical Ethnography in a New World History

from Part III - East India Company Peripheries and the History of Modernity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 November 2022

Kathleen Wilson
Affiliation:
State University of New York, Stony Brook
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Summary

A pluriversal analysis of eighteenth-century British imperial designations of space, place and peoples through the contending performances cultures of British Sumatra as relayed by young naturalist William Marsden. In Bencoolen from 1771 to 1778, Marsden demonstrated that the island was the center of a new world historical language stretching from Madagascar to Easter Island. Here a performance of The Wonder! A Woman Keeps a Secret, in conjunction with the gathering of materials for his future history of Sumatra, galvanized new appreciation for Sumatrans’ diverse cultures and their place in Britain’s glbal history.

Type
Chapter
Information
Strolling Players of Empire
Theater and Performances of Power in the British Imperial Provinces, 1656–1833
, pp. 369 - 420
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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