"Biali czytają książki, a my polujemy na głowy": handel ludzkimi głowami na Borneo
"White Men Read Books, We Hunt For Heads Instead": Head-Hunters from Borneo

Author(s): Helen Tiffin
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego

Summary/Abstract: In the eighteenth, nineteenth and the twentieth century "head trading" i.e., literal and metaphorical hunting for heads existed in numerous colonial contexts. At the close of the nineteenth century Borneo especially started to symbolise wildness of nature. Writing of Dayaks Europeans used (and sometimes questioned) existing stereotypes concerning head hunters. Carl Bock differs from other writers of that period because he makes an equation between head-hunting and cannibalism. On the other hand, Harriette McDougall, Spenser St. John, Alfred Russell Wallace, William Hornaday and A. C. Haddon minimise or negate that equation, stressing the civilised features of the Dayaks. The above-mentioned writers reflect to a certain extent European sentiments towards "civilisation" and "wildness" prevalent at the end of the nineteenth century, of which the best example can be found in Joseph Conrad's works where convenient attitudes are radically revalued.

  • Issue Year: 2004
  • Issue No: 8
  • Page Range: 55-71
  • Page Count: 17