Article ID: CBB008329293

Among ‘Savage and Brutal Nations’: Instructing Identity and Science in the Pacific (2022)


This article reads the ‘hints’ provided by the President of the Royal Society Lord Morton to James Cook on his first Pacific voyage in 1768, first to show what they reveal about the contested views of technological advance as an index of progress in European thought in the later eighteenth century and, second, how that connection between technology and progress serves to entrench distinct differences between European and Indigenous identities in the colonial mind. Morton's ‘hints’ served as a kind of script that told the Europeans how to communicate their position as bearers of superior enlightened humanity. They functioned, therefore, as a technology of identity by ordering the behaviour of the European newcomers and curating their perceptions of the Indigenous people they encountered. Although the ‘hints’ were a self-conscious expression of enlightened sensibilities, they remained a technology for the colonial projection of those sensibilities and for performance of European identity.

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Authors & Contributors
Williams, Glyndwr
Igler, David
Newell, Jennifer
McLynn, Frank
Gascoigne, John
Attenbrow, Valerie J.
Journal for Maritime Research: Britian, the Sea and Global History
Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Eighteenth-Century Studies
Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage
Yale University Press
University of Hawai'i Press
Oxford University Press
Cambridge University Press
University of California Press
University of Minnesota
Travel; exploration
Indigenous peoples; indigeneity
Cross-cultural interaction; cultural influence
Sea travel
Scientific expeditions
Cook, James
Banks, Joseph
Solander, Daniel Charles
Shaler, William
Darwin, Charles Robert
Dampier, William
Time Periods
18th century
19th century
17th century
20th century
Early modern
Pacific Ocean
Great Britain
Great Britain. Royal Navy
Royal Society of London
National Maritime Museum (Great Britain)
East India Company (English)

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