Inuit and Whalers on Baffin Island Through German Eyes

Told from an ordinary man’s perspective, these are the journal and letters of Wilhelm Weike as he accompanied Franz Boas—the father of modern anthropology—on his journey to the arctic from 1883 to 1884. This extraordinary document of early arctic history provides a plain, direct view of the Inuit and the whalers in their arctic environment at the end of the 19th century. With invaluable contextual and complementary information, this book contributes key insights during the recent wave of scientific assessment of Franz Boas’s legacy in all social sciences.


William Barr

William Barr is a research fellow at the Arctic Institute of North America. A glacial geomorphologist by training, his major research focus is the history of exploration in the Arctic, a subject on which he has published extensively. In May 2006, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Historical Association for his contributions to the historiography of the Canadian North. Bernd Gieseking is a cabaret artist and author of children’s radio plays and theatre plays. He has taught courses in mdeia studies. He has hosted theatre, radio and TV shows, mainly solo. Since 1994, he has had a regular show, The Annual Satirical Review, and others. Ludger Müller-Wille is a retired professor of Geography/Northern Studies at McGill University and has studied ethnicity and human-environmental relations in the arctic and subarctic among Sámi and Finns (Sápmi/Finland), Inuit, Dene and Naskapi (Canada). Since the mid 60s, he has conducted research in cultural anthropology, geography and toponymy in subarctic Fenno-Scandia (Sápmi, Finland and Norway) with Sámi and Finns and in subarctic and arctic Canada (Nunavut, Nunavik, Northern Saskatchewan and Québec) with Inuit, Dene, Naskapi and Cree, supported by German, Finnish, Canadian and European Union funding institutions. Other projects concerned the history of arctic anthropology and geography focussing on Franz Boas and his contributions.


“Weike’s journal and letters do not stand alone. Introductory material and extensive background on both Boas and Weike and on the Arctic during the period add to and amplify the first-person account. Inuit and Whalers on Baffin Island through German Eyes greatly enriches our picture of the intermingling of indigenous and European cultures in the late nineteenth-century Arctic.” — (November 2011)
“As servant to Franz Boas ‘Weike finally gets his day in the limelight, and it is a cause for reflection on the social blind spots of even the greatest of men, as well as the scientific habit of monopolizing all of the credit for oneself, as if assistants, informants, and other hangers-on contributed nothing to the accomplishments of the scientist.'” —Jack David Eller, Community College of Denver

“Weike’s journal is a fascinating text and an exceptional piece of working-class literature.” —

“[A] German servant’s 1883 Arctic journal details challenges of daily living. . . . Weike’s descriptions of the Arctic weather and terrain, his precise observations of life and impressions of his encounters with Inuit, whalers and wildlife bring you back to a time when winter started in late August.” —


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286 Pages
9in * 228.6mm * 6in * 152.4mm * 0.7in17.78mm


November 01, 2011


Baraka Books



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