This volume brings together the work of twenty historians, anthropologists, and literary scholars who have tried to examine the nature of the encounter between Europeans and the other peoples of the world from roughly 1450 to 1800, the early modern era. The book is world-wide in scope - ranging from Hawaii, Australia, and China to the Americas and Africa - but is unified by the central underlying theme that implicit understandings influence every culture's ideas about itself and others. These understandings, however, are changed by experience in a constantly shifting process in which both sides participate. This makes such encounters complex historical events and moments of 'discovery'. The scholars gathered here grapple with the questions of how we observe, and how observation and representation can reveal as much about ourselves as about those we observe.
Preface; Introduction; Part I. European Visions of Others in the Late Middle Ages: 1. The outer world of the European middle ages Seymour Phillips; 2. Cultural conflicts in medieval world maps John B. Friedman; 3. Spain circa 1492: social values and structures Miguel Angel Ladero Quesada; 4. The conquests of the Canary Islands Eduardo Aznar Vallejo; 5. Tales of distinction: European ethnography and the Caribbean Peter Hulme; Part II. Europeans in the Vision of Other Peoples; 6. Persian perceptions of Mongols and Europeans David Morgan; 7. Sightings: initial Nahua reactions to Spanish culture James Lockhart; 8. Dialogues of the deaf: Europeans on the Atlantic Coast of Africa Wyatt MacGaffey; 9. Early Southeast Asian categorizations of Europeans Anthony Reid; 10. Beyond the Cape: the Portuguese encounter with the Peoples of South Asia Chandra Richard de Silva; 11. The 'Indianness' of Iberia and changing Japanese iconographies of Other Ronald P. Toby; Part III. Adjustments to Encounter: 12. Essay on objects: interpretations of distance made tangible Mary W. Helms; 13. The indigenous ethnographer: the indio ladino as historian Rolena Adorno; 14. What to wear? Observation and participation by Jesuit missionaries in late Ming society Willard J. Peterson; 15. Demerits and deadly sins: Jesuit moral tracts in late Ming China Ann Waltner; Part IV. Observers Observed: Reflections on Encounters in the Age of Captain Cook: 16. Theatricality of observing and being observed: 'Eighteenth-century Europe' 'discovers' the ?-century Pacific Greg Dening; 17. North America in the era of Captain Cook: three glimpses of Indian European contact in the age of the American Revolution Peter H. Wood; 18. An accidental Australian tourist: or a feminist anthropologist at sea and on land Diane Bell; 19. Circumscribing circumcision/uncircumcision: an essay amidst the history of difficult description James A. Boon; Part V. Annotated Bibiliography.