“Ancestors”: Interviews by Alan Macfarlane

For the first installment of the "HAU Video Archives" project, we bring you videos of some of our favorite interviews conducted by Alan Macfarlane with leading thinkers in anthropology. 

History of Macfarlane's project (in his own words):

“The interviews were started by Jack Goody in 1982. He arranged for the filming of seminars by Audrey Richards, Meyer Fortes and M. N. Srinivas. Since then, with the help of others, and particularly Sarah Harrison, I have filmed and edited over ninety archival interviews. Having started with leading anthropologists, my subjects have broadened to include other social scientists and, recently, biological and physical scientists.We started by using low-band U-matic tape and the quality was not good. Later, digital cameras became available and recent films (e.g., Geertz), were made on a Sony three chip camera using a radio microphone. Mark Turin managed to transfer films from a variety of formats to DV tapes and developed the web application. Sarah Harrison has done most of the later transfers to mp4 and has made the summaries of the interviews. Recently the advent of a large digital store in Cambridge, DSpace, has made it possible to mount the collection for the web. This has been done with the help of Tom de Mulder and Xiaoxiao Yan and financial support from the British Academy. We have also expanded the interviews from anthropology to other disciplines and interests. New films are being added quite frequently. If you know of any that should be added (either by including here, or by a link) or could help by interviewing a colleague, please write to: am12@cam.ac.uk.”

– Alan Macfarlane 

Click the icons below for descriptions and videos of selected interviews:

Laura Appell   Horace Barlow   David Brokensha   Elizabeth Colson   Mary Douglas

Stephan Feuchtwang   Ruth Finnegan   Keith Hart   Marilyn Strathern   Stanley Tambiah

Watch other interviews with anthropology's ancestors at Alan Macfarlane's website.