‘In Search of Us’ by Lucy Moore

Fara Dabhoiwala at The Guardian:

What linked these loosely connected scholars, the book suggests, was their interest in using the study of exotic cultures to illuminate the peculiarities of the “civilised” world. As Malinowski put it, “in grasping the essential outlook of others, with reverence and real understanding, due even to savages, we cannot help widening our own”. Anthropology thus became a means of showing what humans had in common, rather than what separated them.

One admirer of William Rivers’s intellectual approach was especially impressed by “his lovely gift of coordinating apparently unrelated facts”. The same could be said of Moore. When Malinowski arrived on the Trobriand Islands, she tells us, he brought with him 24 crates of supplies, including “lemonade crystals, tinned oysters and lobster, various kinds of chocolate and cocoa, Spanish olives, cod roes, jugged hare, tinned and dried vegetables, half-hams, French brandy, tea, six different kinds of jam and plenty of condensed milk”.

more here.