The Amazon Indian is an icon that straddles the world between the professional anthropologist and the popular media. Presented alternately as the noble primitive, the savior of the environment, and as a savage, dissolute, cannibalistic half-human, it is an image well worth examining. Stephen Nugent does just that, critiquing the claims of authoritativeness inherent in visual images presented by anthropologists of Amazon life in the early 20th century and comparing them with the images found in popular books, movies, and posters. The book depicts the field of anthropology as its own form of culture industry and contrasts it to other similar industries, past and present. For visual anthropologists, ethnographers, Amazon specialists, and popular culture researchers, Nugent's book will be enlightening, entertaining reading.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations, Preface: Talismanic Indians, 1. Introduction: Anthropology with Pictures, 2. The Head Hunter Cliché, 3. Visualizing Social Memory: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in Amazonia, 4. The Tropic of Amazon: Missing Peoples and Lingering Metaphors, 5. The Professional Literature: ‘What I Saw in the Tropics’, 6. Method and Data: Framing Indians, 7. Amazonia on Screen: Building a Lost World, 8. Conclusion, References, Index, About the Author
Stephen Nugent teaches anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and is director of the Centre for Visual Anthropology. His longterm interest in Brazilian Amazonia is represented in Big Mouth (1990), Amazonian Caboclo Society (1993), and Some Other Amazonians (2004). He is an editor of the journal Critique of Anthropology.