Claire Wintle’s first book is entitled Colonial Collecting and Display: Encounters with Material Culture from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Oxford: Berghahn, 2013). The book was the outcome of an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award co-hosted by the University of Sussex and Brighton Museum & Art Gallery. It examines the compelling history of a set of objects from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India, tracing their physical and conceptual transformation across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as they moved from being used by people in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to accessioned objects in a museum collection in the UK. The project uses a material culture-led approach to reconsider the imperial relationships between Andamanese, Nicobarese and British communities, both in the Indian Ocean and on British soil.
Image credit: The Nash, the home of Sir Richard Carnac Temple, c. 1904. Private Collection
The book includes chapters on displaying and visiting world cultures in UK provincial museums (especially Brighton Museum & Art Gallery), the important Victorian collectors Edward Horace Man and Sir Richard Carnac Temple, and representations of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in international exhibitions, illustrated periodicals and popular literature. Parts of the wider research project were published in Victorian Studies, the History Workshop Journal and several edited volumes. The project also led to an exhibition, Temple, Man and Tuson: Collecting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and an international conference, Objects, Images and Imaginings: Visual and Material Culture of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Image Credit: Temple, Man and Tuson: Collecting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands exhibition, Brighton Museum, c. 2008, photo: Claire Wintle
“Colonial Collecting and Display provides methodological insights into the analysis of collections assembled in the past in terms of their relevance for present museum display and documentation. Its successful combination of archival research with critical museological theory makes it very appealing for scholars working on material culture, museum studies, and the practices of collecting.” Museum Worlds
“Wintle brings the reader on [an] intriguing journey, providing numerous well-researched and argued stops along the way that serve to complicate the often-simplified narrative of colonial collecting and display.”Asian Anthropology
“Wintle’s book is an insightful examination of Andamanese and Nicobarese material culture during the late 19th century and early 20th century, and it reminds readers that there is much to be gained by studying the history of objects.” Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
“In a brief concluding chapter, Wintle looks to a future in which the complex stories of these collections can be told in new ways that collaborate with and serve contemporary Andamanese and Nicobar Islanders and that acknowledge the larger, complex, and multidimensional colonial and postcolonial histories in which they played a part. Her book is an important contribution to doing just that.” Museum Anthropology
"An excellent, thought-provoking text on the material culture and popular representations of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There is detailed primary research combined with a sophisticated theorisation of museological and collecting processes. The book demonstrates a nuanced understanding of Western perceptions of these cultures from the mid-19th to mid-20th century, and will clearly contribute to the growing literature on post-colonialism, collections and museums." Dr Louise Tythacott, University of Manchester
"This book brings new information and interesting insights into the fields of history, material culture studies and museum studies. It is well written, well researched, scholarly, and accessible." Dr Sandra Dudley, University of Leicester
“Colonial Collecting and Display is a must read for anyone interested in the peoples and material culture of India as well as the Nicobar and Andaman Islands. Due to the detailed object descriptions and the museological approach, the book is particularly interesting for ethnographers and museum experts. Owing to the illustrations and a clear and lucid writing style, it also constitutes a fascinating read for those who simply have an interest in learning about colonial encounters from a unique and original point of view.” ASEAS – Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies.