Buccaneer Ethnography: Nature, Culture and Nation in the Journals of William Dampier
Johns Hopkins University Press
Scholarly/refereed, publisher version
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It might seem odd to speak in the same breath of piracy and science; of the violent tales of buccaneer adventures and of the growth of enlightenment modes of knowledge; of lawless bands of criminals and of a circle of informed public men whose capacity for reason and reflection qualifies them as members of a civil community. How could pirates, as international outlaws, participate in any kind of civil discourse within their home states, much less at the level of the disinterested, supranational production of knowledge about places and people in the newly colonized parts of the globe? Yet, if in the late seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries new forms of discursive authority are emerging in response to the proliferation of texts of discovery and exploration, it must be important to identify how these outlaws of the seas, historically central to English colonization of the new world as well as to the growth of English maritime power, might have helped to reshape the language of imperialism. In order to understand how this occurred, we must recognize how "nation" and "empire" are doubly interrelated in this period: in the spirit of a newly invigorated imperium that is busy defining who does and does not belong within its jurisdiction; and in an imagined political community where the relationship between subject and state is constantly being negotiated, sometimes on colonial terrain. Part of what this essay will show is that the cultural transformation of the buccaneers from plundering pirates into ethnographic observers grows directly out of this connection between imperial administration and modern conceptions of political sovereignty.
This is the publisher's version, also available electronically from http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/eighteenth-century_studies/v033/33.2neill.html.
- English Scholarly Works 
Neill, Anna. (2000). "Buccaneer Ethnography: Nature, Culture and Nation in the Journals of William Dampier." Eighteenth-Century Studies, 33(2):165-180. http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1353/ecs.2000.0015.
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