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Birders of AfricaHistory of a Network$
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Nancy J. Jacobs

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300209617

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300209617.001.0001

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Authority in Vernacular Traditions and Ornithology

Authority in Vernacular Traditions and Ornithology

(p.101) Chapter 4 Authority in Vernacular Traditions and Ornithology
Birders of Africa

Nancy J. Jacobs

Yale University Press

This chapter provides a broad overview of the relations between scientific authority and white racial prejudice around the turn of the twentieth century. The interplay of these two characteristics of authority, on how it differed between the vernacular and ornithological traditions, and about how race mattered to some birders, accounts for much of the politics of birding in twentieth-century Africa. The chapter suggests that the way facts circulate and the types of authority they create are the defining characteristics of birding traditions. Recreational birdwatching, ornithology, and vernacular traditions, collectively and in the plural, are distinguished from one another by types of facts and networks. Facts here are not necessarily observable data; rather, they are more along the lines of explanations and interpretations.

Keywords:   scientific authority, white racial prejudice, authority, race, vernacular traditions, ornithology, recreational birdwatching, twentieth-century Africa, birders

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