Material Histories: Objects and Imaginings of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


This chapter examines the changing ways in which the identities of the Andaman and Nicobar Islanders have been constructed through material culture, and explores how histories of the Islands in the West have been bound up with the interpretation and display of objects. I examine the capricious histories of the Islands as they have been constructed in the West and especially in the UK. I eveal that even the British, hegemonic versions of Andamanese and Nicobarese history are not singular or unchanging manifestations, but rather contested, complex and multifaceted in their ways of seeing. Investigating selected moments from the modern history of British intervention in the Islands, I explore firstly how such objects have been used to categorize or fix their makers and users as ethnographic subjects; secondly, how objects have acted to harness the histories of the Islands in order to shed light on European agendas and concerns, and thirdly how Andamanese and Nicobarese objects have been used to relate the Islands’ populations to wider entities such as ‘Asia’, ‘India’ and the ‘Andaman and Nicobar Islands’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManifestations of History: Time, Space, and Community in the Andaman Islands
Place of PublicationDelhi
PublisherPrimus Books
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9789384092047
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2016


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