From Savage To Self

Episodes

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Anthropology Faces the Future20160205

Anthropology Faces the Future20160205

Farrah Jarral concludes her series on anthropology by looking to the future, including the anthropology of outer space.

Farrah speaks to the thinker whose writing caused the biggest argument amongst her fellow anthropology students - Donna Haraway. She ponders the anthropology of artisanal cheesemakers, and their cheese, and learns what studying cheese has in common with studying outer space (it has nothing to do with the moon).

Producer: Giles Edwards.

We Are All Anthropologists Now20160204

We Are All Anthropologists Now20160204

Farrah Jarral shows how anthropology has seeped out of academia to infiltrate everyday life.

Farrah discovers how anthropologists helped direct early research into office automation. She speaks to an anthropologist working with drivers in Birmingham to understand how they use their time in the car, and gets dating advice from Helen Fisher, an anthropologist who has worked for a decade as Chief Scientific Adviser to match.com. And she reveals which British TV show she considers a "modern ethnographic masterpiece".

Producer: Giles Edwards.

01Anthropology Is Born20160125

GP, musician and anthropologist Farrah Jarral tells the amazing and unexpected story of anthropology. From its earliest roots studying 'savage' and 'primitive' cultures during the imperial era, through living among them in the post-colonial period, to the sometimes self-obsessed study of our own societies during the globalised present, Farrah traces the history of this influential discipline.

She asks the questions which anthropologists have asked for generations - how have we understood our own societies, how have we seen and understood those of others, what is it that we share, and what is it to be human - and situates them in the changing historical and intellectual contexts in which they were asked, and answered.

In this first episode, Farrah explains her own passion for anthropology and explores its birth as a distinct discipline.

Producer: Giles Edwards.

02The Colonial Encounter20160126

Farrah Jarral continues her exploration of the history of anthropology, looking at the colonial encounter.

In this episode she examines how closely anthropology was tied to colonialism, how major anthropological collections were built during the colonial period, and how quasi-scientific racism and some of the underlying attitudes towards 'savage' societies lead to a dark period in anthropological history.

But she also explores the history of one of early anthropology's greatest works: James Frazer's multi-volume work The Golden Bough - and how it was influenced by, and in turn influenced, wider intellectual trends in the early twentieth century.

Producer: Giles Edwards.

03Culture Goes Plural20160127

Farrah Jarral continues her journey through the history of anthropology.

In this episode she explores the legacy of one of the most influential anthropologists of all: Franz Boas. From pluralising the word 'culture' to developing the idea of cultural relativism and promoting the cause of anti-racism, Boas can claim a tremendous intellectual legacy. Farrah travels to New York City, where she sees one of his original displays at the American Museum of Natural History, and hears why he is known as the father of American anthropology.

Producer: Giles Edwards.

04Participating And Observing20160128

Farrah Jarral tells the story of how a bit of bad luck for Bronislaw Malinowski changed anthropology forever.

When Malinowski got stuck on a small chain of Pacific islands during the First World War, it seemed like little more than an unfortunate turn of events. In fact, it proved to be his making. The book he produced as a result of his fieldwork, Argonauts of the Western Pacific, upset much of previous anthropological practice. Instead of broad conclusions drawn from multiple cultures, Malinowski's intense immersion in a single culture reset the template. Participant observation became how social anthropologists practiced their trade - and Farrah meets an anthropologist who still relies on it to the present day.

Producer: Giles Edwards.

05Coming Of Age20160129

Farrah Jarral concludes the first week of her series on the history of anthropology by looking at the remarkable legacy of Margaret Mead.

Farrah looks at how Mead's first research trip to the South Pacific set a new template for how anthropological learning could be used in modern societies, upending how Americans thought about child-rearing and breastfeeding. And she argues that Mead's research in her second major research expedition changed forever notions of fixed gender identities.

Speaking to Margaret Mead's daughter, the anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson, and to an anthropologist who wrote a book called 'Margaret Mead Made Me Gay', Farrah explores the extraordinary legacy of this anthropological pioneer.

Producer: Giles Edwards.

06Anthropology Goes To War20160201

Farrah Jarral looks at the complex and controversial relationship between anthropologists and war.

Starting with Ursula Graham-bower, who lead Naga tribesmen against the Japanese in the Second World War, Farrah examines how anthropologists have been involved with armed conflict. She shows how US government funding allowed anthropology to expand rapidly during the Cold War, with controversial results. And she tells the story of the Human Terrain System: a programme embedding anthropologists and other social scientists with US Army combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan. To its critics, it flouted ethics rules; while its creator argues that it saved many lives.

Producer: Giles Edwards.

07Anthropology In Crisis20160202

Farrah Jarral examines how the end of empire brought a dramatic change of mindset.

Farrah hears how anthropology was forced to reckon with its colonial heritage, raising questions about how knowledge was produced - and by whom. She speaks to Professor Talal Asad, an academic who wrote a seminal book on the subject, and to an activist still fighting the same battles he first fought almost forty years ago.

But anthropology's existential crisis posed other questions about what it can really know, too, and about how research should be conducted; and Farrah meets up with an old colleague to see the results.

Producer: Giles Edwards.

08Anthropology Gets Practical20160203

Farrah Jarral explores the impact of anthropologists, and their research, on policy.

She explores how a turn towards the very practical - from lobbying on the behalf of native peoples to research into infectious tropical diseases - proved one part of the solution to anthropology's existential crisis.

She speaks to some of those involved, including Marcus Colchester, founder of the Forest People's Programme and Melissa Parker, creator of the Ebola Response Anthropology Platform. And she discusses the benefits of an anthropological approach with the world's highest-profile anthropologist: Jim Kim, President of the World Bank.

Producer: Giles Edwards.

09We Are All Anthropologists Now20160204

Farrah Jarral shows how anthropology has seeped out of academia to infiltrate everyday life.

Farrah discovers how anthropologists helped direct early research into office automation. She speaks to an anthropologist working with drivers in Birmingham to understand how they use their time in the car, and gets dating advice from Helen Fisher, an anthropologist who has worked for a decade as Chief Scientific Adviser to match.com. And she reveals which British TV show she considers a "modern ethnographic masterpiece".

Producer: Giles Edwards.

10Anthropology Faces The Future20160205

Farrah Jarral concludes her series on anthropology by looking to the future, including the anthropology of outer space.

Farrah speaks to the thinker whose writing caused the biggest argument amongst her fellow anthropology students - Donna Haraway. She ponders the anthropology of artisanal cheesemakers, and their cheese, and learns what studying cheese has in common with studying outer space (it has nothing to do with the moon).

Producer: Giles Edwards.