Isaak Iselin in Hawaiʻi, 1807
What kinds of sources and knowledge did Isaak Iselin use and how did they shape his narrative? Building on the texts that Iselin read prior to his departure, this exercise focuses on the oral and written sources Iselin accessed during his voyage.
By analysing these different sources in Iselin's text, it is possible to reconstruct its worldview—a worldview that was often complex and opaque. This analysis also helps historians to understand how information travelled along existing EuroAmerican networks in the Pacific of the day, and how knowledge emerged at the intersection of prior readings, native informants, heresay and relayed news.
The aim of this exercise is to unpeel different layers of knowledge in a given passage from Iselin's account.