Anthropological Legacies - Interviews

A Collection of Filmed Interviews with French Anthropologists

L’Ethnologie en héritage (Anthropological Legacies) is a collection of filmed interviews with leading figures in French anthropology recounting how they became anthropologists and helped shape the French disciplinary tradition in all its theoretical, thematic and geographical diversity. They evoke their first field experiences, unfold their itineraries, and describe the major stages of their careers.

A Record of the History of Anthropology

These testimonies were conceived as archives documenting anthropologists’ understanding of diverse African, Asian, Oceanic, American and European societies. The interviews reveal how the reflections of these anthropologists opened up new avenues of research, while echoing the lively debates to which they contributed. With various sensibilities, yet always in dialogue, these men and women address the unity of societies that , through and beyond their respective worldviews, question the human condition itself.

Sharing 70 Hours of Footage

Conducted first by Stéphane Jourdain and then by Gilles Le Mao, the interviews were produced by Gille Le Mao/La Huit Production with the support of the French Ministry of Culture. Launched in 2005, the collection is supervised by Alain Morel, former head of anthropological audiovisuals at the Mission du patrimoine ethnologique of the Ministry of Culture. It now has nearly twenty-five interviews of about 180 minutes each, totalling nearly 70 hours of footage.

Audiovisual Archives from the Colonial and Postcolonial Periods

As Alain Morel, the collection’s director, explains:

The content of these archives includes information on personal paths, on entering the profession (networks of relationships, trial and error and the role of chance), on the discovery and experience of the field, on the research topics, on the cultural data of the population studied, and on the theoretical debates and controversies in which these anthropologists have been involved.
The aim was to make documentaries with the goal of producing audiovisual archives. In addition to a patrimonial aim, there is a pedagogical ambition, insofar as extracts from these interviews can be used in the context of teaching anthropology or the history of the human sciences, either to better grasp the reality of the profession of anthropologist or to understand the methodological or theoretical reflections expressed in these interviews.
These documents also have an undeniable historical interest, which can be found, for example, in the political and economic contexts in which ethnology was practised during the colonial or post-colonial period, which are very different from those of today. Some of the ethnologists who participated in this collection began working in the 1950s and were privileged witnesses of the relations between colonizers and colonized.

A Partnership with La Huit Production and the Ministry of Culture

In the framework of a partnership between Huit Production, the Ministry of Culture and BEROSE, these interviews are progressively being put online since December 2020, and by 2023 the entire collection will be freely available on the BEROSE website.

List of interviews in the L’Ethnologie en héritage collection

  1. Isaac CHIVA (2005)
  2. Michel IZARD (2006)
  3. Gilbert ROUGET (2006)
  4. Marc PIAULT (2007)
  5. Georges CONDOMINAS (2008)
  6. Marc AUGÉ (2009)
  7. Georges BALANDIER (2010)
  8. Maurice BLOCH (2010)
  9. Roberte HAMAYON (2010)
  10. Maurice GODELIER (2011)
  11. Philippe DESCOLA (2012)
  12. Gilles TARABOUT (2012)
  13. Françoise HÉRITIER (2013)
  14. Jean MALAURIE (2012)
  15. Laurence CAILLET (2013)
  16. Jacques PIMPANEAU (2014)
  17. Emmanuel TERRAY (2014)
  18. Daniel FABRE (2015)
  19. Jacques HAINARD (2016)
  20. Martine SEGALEN (2017)
  21. Christian BROMBERGER (2019)
  22. Alban BENSA (2019)
  23. Bernard LORTAT-JACOB (2020)
  24. Dan SPERBER (Delivery 2022)
  25. Jean-Pierre OLIVIER DE SARDAN (Delivery 2022)