1986 / 52 minutes

Directed by
André Singer
Country of production
United Kingdom
Strangers Abroad

Central Television’s major documentary series looks at the first anthropologists to stop ‘armchair theorising’ and go out to live among the peoples who so interested them. The six part series was filmed all over the world, from the frozen Canadian Arctic to the dry outback of Australia, from New Guinea to India, Africa to the South Pacific.The programme makers retraced the steps of the pioneering anthropologists in those countries and, by following the life story of each scholar, they reveal how social anthropology has contributed to our lives. This second part of the series follows the British anthropologist, ethnologist, neurologist and psychiatrist William H.R. Rivers. William Rivers originally trained as a doctor. On a Cambridge University expedition to the Torres Straits north of Australia, his psychological tests on the islanders made him realize the unexpected importance of relatives in their society. His subsequent work as a pioneering psychologist in the First World War and his research into the workings of the nervous system bring something new to anthropology: a scientific approach. His field study with a hill tribe in southern India, the Todas, ultimately set the trend for anthropologists to go and visit the cultures in which they were interested, rather than staying at home theorizing.

Language and subtitles
English (no subtitles)
History of Anthropology Public Figure

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