Butterflies & Barbarians- Swiss Missionaries & Systems of Knowledge in South-East Africa by Patrick Harries

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Swiss missionaries played asignificant role in explaining Africa to the Literate world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This book reveals how these European intellectuals, brought to deep rural areas of South-Eastern Africa by their vocation, formulated and ordered knowledge about the continent.

Central to the group was Henri-Alexandre Junod, a pioneering collector in the fields of entomology and botany. He would later examine African society with the methodology, theories and confirdence of the natural sciences.
Harries examines how local people absorbed important ideas into their own body of knowledge. This is a history of new ideas and practices that shook african societies before and during the early years of colonialism. It is equally a history of ordinary people and their ability to adapt and subvert these ideas.

ISBN: 9780852559833
pp. 352;228x150 mm