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Analysis of Ethnological Encyclopedias, based on the Example of the Ladrone islands (Marianas)


Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Jeon, Hyeong Mi
Term Paper, Categories of Historical Sources Class, July 2010



Table of Contents


I. Introduction
II. Encyclopedia
II.1 Definition of Encyclopedia
II.2 Kinds of Encyclopedias
II.3 Purpose of Encyclopedias
II.4 Worth of a Historic Encyclopedia as a Historical Source
III. Ethnological Encyclopedia "A general view of manners, customs, and curiosities of nations"
III.1 Author of "A general view of manners, customs, and curiosities of nations"
III.2 Date of publication: Background of that era
III.3 Orders of content
III.4 Purpose of this Encyclopedia
III.5 Records concerning Ladrone Island
IV. Ethnological Encyclopedia "Marriage rites, customs, and ceremonies of all nations and universe"
IV.1 General information about this encyclopedia
IV.2 Records concerning Ladrone islands in this encyclopedia
IV.3 Comparison with encyclopedia "A general view of manners, customs, and curiosities of nations"
V. Comparison with other kinds of encyclopedias
V.1 Secular encyclopedias
V.2 Religious encyclopedias
V.3 Geographical encyclopedias
VI. Characteristics of Ethnological Encyclopedias
VI.1 Distinctive features of ethnological encyclopedias
VI.2 Benefits of ethnological encyclopedias
VI.3 Weak points of ethnological encyclopedias
VII. Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography



I. Introduction
            Encyclopedia has been considered as one of the most credible, precise and objective source among many records concerning history. However, even though encyclopedia is an assembly of facts, they are also containing perspectives of author who recorded those facts. Therefore, encyclopedias are also not objective sources as many people believe. First, the brief information of encyclopedia shall be given in this paper. Then, there will be an analysis of ethnological encyclopedias by records of Ladrone islands (1). Furthermore, the comparison with other kinds of encyclopedia with ethnological encyclopedia will be given in this paper.

II. Encyclopedia

II.1 Definition of Encyclopedia
            Encyclopedia is an assembly of information from all branches or particular part of branches. It usually arranges the information in alphabetical order.

II.2 Kinds of Encyclopedias
            An encyclopedia deals with every area of human activity. Furthermore, there are lots of types of encyclopedias. Those kinds of encyclopedias are classified by the purpose, or what area it deals with. The most common one is secular, general encyclopedia. It deals with general knowledge of every field that human works in. There are some encyclopedias deals with detail knowledge or fact about specific fields. Among those encyclopedias, this paper will especially deal with ethnological encyclopedia.

II.3 Purpose of Encyclopedias
            The main purpose of the encyclopedia is to be reference, since it deals with a lot of information from various fields. Encyclopedias which deal diverse kinds of area, such as "Encyclopaedia Britannica", provides main source that they got their information from, and it contributes to expand one¡¯s knowledge in some specific areas.
            Other main function of the encyclopedia is to collect and organize data. When there were no internet or libraries, encyclopedias were made to gather all information in one central location and provide easier access to the scholars who wanted to get some information about some specific field. Those collections and organizations also contribute in preservation of data. Moreover, method of organization of data is used till today, for instance, an alphabetical order.

II.4 Worth of an encyclopedia as a historical source
            Since encyclopedia is an assembly of information in systemized way, not only it preserves data or records, but it also affects about understanding of knowledge in various areas. Before internet was invented, it was important to amend the information in the encyclopedia annually. Sometimes it was for correction of wrong or changed information, and some information were added and discarded. Therefore, by comparing change of contained information in encyclopedia, scholars can make conjectures about historical situations of some period, and affectation of the information as time changes.

III. Ethnological encyclopedia "A general view of manners, customs, and curiosities of nations"

III.1 Author of "A general view of manners, customs, and curiosities of nations"
            Sir Richard Phillips, the publisher and author of this book, was born in 1767, and lived until 1840. He had a lot of interest in education of students, and himself was English school teacher. He mainly taught geography in his school, and later on, he wrote several books concerning geography.

III.2 Date of publication : Background of that Era
            Exploration to the new world was started from late 16th century, but around the publication of this encyclopedia, early 1800s, was the period of industrial revolution. Radical developments in technology provided people more opportunity to travel to the unknown places in world other than Europe or America. People who borrowed the ability of technology of transportation went exploration to the unknown places such as pacific islands or Asian continent. There was another radical change in early 1800s, unification of countries in Europe. As they unify themselves, they got stronger power than before. At the same time, imperialism was widespread thorough whole Europe. Technology, strong power, new idea made them to expand colonies in other area. Therefore, many European countries were passionate in expanding their colonies.

III.3 Orders of content
            Every encyclopedia has systemized order in their information. Most of them are alphabetical order. Unlike those books, this book used distinctive method of organization of information. It starts to inform about northern Europe, than it goes downward. As it introduce about whole Europe, than it starts to inform about Asia. It chose the method of organization by the place - it starts to inform from north-east, then it informs about the eastern parts of the world.

III.4 Purpose of this Encyclopedia
            Since author had deep concern on education of students, and considering the fact that he was a schoolteacher, this encyclopedia was made to inform to students and scholars about other places in world. Also, it contains the map of that area, therefore, it can be said that it is to inform travelers about specific areas. Furthermore, considering the fact that it contains the way to project and draw the map in the very last part of the book, it can be said that this book is to give information to travelers how to record the things that they have seen.

III.5 Records concerning Ladrone islands (2)
            The records concerning Ladrone islands in this encyclopedia mainly describe the feature of inhabitants in that place. He defames inhabitants of Ladrone islands by saying that they are rude and unpolished people. Also, he compares the inhabitants or Ladrone islands with Europeans by saying that they are more robust and stronger than Europeans. He also says that inhabitants of Ladrone islands as unpolished and rude people. These records in this ethnological encyclopedia contain opinions and perspectives of author more than the fact itself.

IV. Ethnological Encyclopedia "Marriage rites, customs, and ceremonies of all nations and universe"

IV.1 General information about this encyclopedia
            This encyclopedia was published in 1822, by a women publisher and writer named Augusta Hamilton, in London. According to the preface of this encyclopedia (3), this book is to inform the role of women in a lot of culture, and to reform the inequality of both sexes. She got information from the records of earlier travelers, laborers and other people who traveled to those countries. She also got her source from many famous books or encyclopedias in those eras.

IV.2 Records concerning Ladrone islands in this encyclopedia (4)
            This book mainly depicts about the role of women in culture and living in Ladrone islands. The dominant of role of women in Ladrone islands is emphasized as following records.
            "In the Ladrones, the men were formerly governed by their wives, the women assuming those prerogatives which in most other countries are invested in the other sex, and were regarded as though they were queens or sacred priestesses of the great national deity."
            As this part suggests, this record is mainly and heavily focused on women's role in rite and culture. Also, this part involves author¡¯s opinion and perspective about the rites and activities of women, since it is a personal thing to decide whether women are in dominant position over men or not.

IV.3 Comparison with encyclopedia "A general view of manners, customs, and curiosities of nations"
            In 19th century, the period when this encyclopedia was published, the right of women was low in Britain. As the preface of this book, the author acknowledged that situation, and she wanted to recover the equality of both sexes. She thought that both genders are should be in the same position since the history is made up by those two genders together. To recover the status of women in that society, she wanted to inform about the role of women in rites in many diverse culture. Therefore, her writing is mostly focused on the important and dominant of women in many rites and cultures. It is contrary to the fact that encyclopedia "A general view of manners, customs, curiosities of nation" does not contain any single record about the role of women in Ladrone islands. If the records in "Marriage rites, customs, and ceremonies of all nations and universe" are fact, and if the this encyclopedia does not contain any perspective of author - such as superiority as a men - it should have contain records concerning women. However, it just depicts funny features of inhabitants of the Ladronea by saying that they were fat or massive but they were not lazy, and defames the inhabitants of the Ladrones by saying them they were savages.
            Therefore, by the comparison of these two encyclopedias, the information in ethnological encyclopedia can be affected by the status of publisher or recorder of it. Some of information can be emphasized more than other information, while some of information are discarded by the necessity of author.

V. Comparison with other kinds of encyclopedia

V.1 Secular encyclopedia (5)
            Information about Ladrone islands in secular encyclopedia is brief and general compared to other kinds of encyclopedia. It does not deal with specific area of some topics. Compared with other kinds of encyclopedia, the perspective of author does not strikingly noticed, since the author tries to be objective and neutral in this writings.

V.2 Religious encyclopedia (6)
            One of the distinctive features of religious encyclopedia compared to other encyclopedia is that it contains history of religion of the Ladrone islands. It mainly discusses history of Catholicism in Ladrone islands. However, by saying that Catholicism is the sole religion of the island, the author reveals his own perspective toward the custom of Ladrone islands. According to ethnological encyclopedias, by the analysis of the records of rites in Ladrone islands, it is evident that there's local religion developed which developed independently in those nations. However, as author of this encyclopedia ignores the existence of those religions, he puts his own perspective towards inhabitants of Ladrone islands.

V.3 Geographical encyclopedia (7)
            The account of geographical encyclopedia follows the geographical elements of Ladrone islands. The descriptions in records are detailed, and they involved author¡¯s opinions and perspectives. Instead of provide latitude and longitude of the islands, it provides the features of geographical factors in Ladrone islands. Even though the geographical factors are mainly focused on this encyclopedia, but it shares the characteristics of ethnological encyclopedia by describing the ethnological elements of inhabitants of those islands.

VI. Characteristics of ethnological encyclopedia

VI.1 Distinctive features of ethnological encyclopedia
            One of the most distinctive features of an ethnological encyclopedia is that it mainly deals with customs of inhabitants of certain areas. Since it is a record of people, it can contain perspectives of author toward that people. Also, the contents of ethnological encyclopedia can be varied by the theme that author emphasizes.

VI.2 Benefits of ethnological encyclopedia
            Since ethnological encyclopedia contains perspective of the recorder, it let people to get perspective in various aspects in one fact. Since history is an assembly of various aspects in one fact, it is important to get aspects toward one fact by the people who have different status, nationalities or even genders.
            As every encyclopedia does, there are a lot of editions in ethnological encyclopedias, too. Therefore, by the analysis of each editions, readers can get how historical situations toward some knowledge as time changes, and this is considerable factor in historical studies.

VI.3 Weak points of ethnological encyclopedia
            Compared to other kinds of encyclopedia, the ethnological encyclopedia contains personal perspective, therefore it is biased. If reader accepts the information in encyclopedia without criticism, the reader can have distorted or extreme historical perspective since he is exposed so much to the perspective of an author. It is dangerous since it makes people to get narrow view toward historical facts.
            Unlike secular encyclopedias, ethnological encyclopedias does not contain broad field of knowledge. Therefore, it reader does not have enough knowledge, he or she cannot compare with other kinds of element that consists one fact, and that also leads readers to have distorted perspective toward historical facts.

VII. Conclusion
            Even though many people consider encyclopedia as most objective source, the recorder of encyclopedia is a person or group of people who have their status, such as gender, nationality or more other factors. Those factors make them to have perspectives on some specific facts, and they hinder person from record facts in an objective way. The perspective of author may not be expressed to the facts in a direct way, but it can be expressed in indirect way by the method of organization. Therefore, if people accept information in the encyclopedia without criticizing it, they can have biased perspective toward some historical facts. Still, even though encyclopedia contains perspective of the person who record it, it can be even more valuable than the facts without perspective, since history is an assembly of facts and opinions in various aspects, so it is important to know about every aspects toward one fact, and that became even more worthy. In this aspect, even when encyclopedia contains one's historical perspective, it can be also valuable source for people who study history.


Notes
           
(1)      Ladrone islands are an archipelago located in north western part of Pacific Ocean, consist of the summits of volcanoes. It is also called as Mariana islands. The name "Ladrone" menas theft in Spanish, since one of the early "discoverers" of these islands, Ferdinand Magellan, named them as Ladrone since inhabitants of those islands stole property from his ship.
(2)      Records concerning Ladrone islands in "A general view of manners, customs, and curiosities of nations", 1831, vol.1 p.219
(3)      Preface : "Marriage rites, customs, and ceremonies of all nations of the universe", pp.iii-viii
(4)      "Marriage rites, customs, and ceremonies of all nations of the universe", pp.225-227
(5)      Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911, MAR~MAR,
(6)      Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910
(7)      The encyclopaedia of geography, p. 166



Bibliography The following websites were visited in June/July 2010

Bibliographic References
1.      WHKMLA : Northern Mariana Islands, http://www.zum.de/whkmla/region/pacific/xnmi.html

Primary Sources
2.      Sir Richard Phillips, A general view of manners, customs, and curiosities of nations, first edition, vol.1, Johnson&Warner, 1831, posted on Google Books http://books.google.com/books?id=_30fAAAAYAAJ
3.      Lady Augusta Hamilton, Marriages, customs, and ceremonies of all nations of the universe, London 1822, Google books
4.      Article: Mariannes, Marianas, from Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 edition, posted by Classic Encyclopedia, http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Mariannes_Marianas
5.      Article: Mariana islands, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910 edition, posted by New Advent http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09660b.htm
6.      Entry : Ladrones, from Thomas. G. Bradford et al., The encyclopaedia of geography, Vol.III, 1837 p.166, posted on Google Books http://books.google.com/books?id=P8QBAAAAYAAJ

Secondary Sources
7.      Article: Encyclopedia, from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encyclopedia
8.      What is the purpose of an Encyclopedia ?, from ehow, http://www.ehow.com/about_6530558_purpose-encyclopedia_.html
9.      Article : Sir Richard Phillips, From Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Richard_Phillips
10.      Article : Mariana islands, from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariana_Islands



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