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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Mary Kingsley, a Reassessment
Author:Flint, John E.ISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic terms:English-speaking Africa
West Africa
Great Britain
biographies (form)
History and Exploration
About person:Mary Henrietta Kingsley (British)(1862-1900)ISNI
Abstract:This article examines the ideas of Mary Kingsley not merely in abstract, but as the political theory of certain groups active in Late Victorian colonial affairs. M.K. deliberately shaped the theories to suit concrete political demands. She moved in the social circle of the Brit. traders to W. Africa, was friendly with Sir George Goldie and the Liverpool men. but the significance of these connections has never been fully investigated, perhaps because of lack of evidence. Hancock argues that her chief preoccupation was to harmonize the interest of traders, missionaries, and administrators into and integrated whole which would suit the characters of Afican society. Others implied that her essential commitment was to the African. It is argued here that M.K. was not a balanced thinker, that her object was not to harmonize conflicting interests, that to treat her theories on a purely philosophical level is to miss their significance, and that in fact she was completely partal and extreme. Nor was the African the focal-point of her thinking, though she herslef claimed that he was. M.K. was the intellectual and philosophic spokesman for the British traders to W. Africa. She urged their views, defended their interests, resisted attacks upon them, undermined the influence of their ennemies. Her activities were directed to these ends. References.