The People of Alor: A Social-Psychological Study of an East Indian Island
by Cora Du Bois
University of Minnesota Press, 1944
Paper: 978-0-8166-7140-3

The People of Alor was first published in 1944. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.A trained psychologist and anthropologist, Dr. Cora Du Bois spent a year and a half on Alor, a Netherlands East Indies island, collecting the material presented in this volume. On her arrival on Alor Du Bois, already equipped with a working knowledge of Dutch and Malay, quickly learned the language of the Alorese and, by administering simple medical aid, gained the confidence and interest of the villagers. An important feature of Du Bois’ work is the use of modern psychological techniques, among which are the Porteus Maze tests and the Rorschach test.During her stay on Alor, Dr. Du Bois obtained detailed autobiographies of eight Alorese men and women – filling what Dr. Abram Kardiner calls “the lamentable gap in the study of the relationship between personality and culture.”Aided by grants from both the American Council of Learned Societies and the Coolidge Foundation, the publication of Du Bois’ study represents a contribution not only to anthropology, but to psychology and, less directly but significantly, to economics and political science. Enlightened administrators of the post-war era will also find this study of value, offering as it does, background for the better psychological understanding of primitive people.

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