To learn more about Geil, click here for the Accidental Ethnographer Resource Center
A year ago on Round and Square (15 August 2012)—Rural Religion in China-11
|[a] Itinerary DHS|
|[b] Geil's 1893 Diary DHS|
The archives will be research-ready by early next year. In the meantime, I am going to give you some tidbits.
William Edgar Geil traveled all over the world, and his legacy is not unmixed. It is only accurate to say that his writing was "uneven," and veered more than occasionally into self-absorption. He did not speak or read the languages of the places to which he traveled, although that did begin to change with his utter fascination with China. On the very positive side, Geil took nothing from the places he visited. He was not a plunderer, like many other travelers of his day. And I must amend that slightly to say he "took" only photographs. His photos are a valuable and lasting resource for scholars and history aficionados all over the world.
|[c] Reading DHS|
And one more thing. Geil's travel ideas, his itineraries, were absolutely brilliant. To be sure, the "scholarly" or "literary" follow-through was often not nearly so impressive, but Geil knew something about reading the works of scholars and anticipating great projects many decades before anyone else really thought to carry them out. This is why I like to call him, fairly respectfully—but with a little bit of a wink, too—The Accidental Ethnographer. You can learn much more about him that has already been posted on this blog (check out the Accidental Ethnographer Resource Center to navigate through the material). This autumn, the students and I will continue to post fascinating little tidbits that show many aspects of Geil's powerful, quirky, and endearing personality.
As I have always said, he's complicated. Who would want life any other way?
Tomorrow, we start with the tidbits.
|[d] Tidbits DHS|