International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

A zoologist by training, Alfred Cort Haddon (1855-1940) became an ethnologist in 1887 and spent eight months working as an agent of the British Museum in the Torres Strait and parts of New Guinea. This was the beginning of a decade-long experiment in photo-ethnography that culminated in one of the first experiments in cinematography in the history of anthropology. Better known for his leading role in the Cambridge Expedition to the Torres Strait in 1898-1899, Haddon was committed to anti-imperial activism as a reaction to the destruction of Oceanic civilisations by Anglo-Saxon colonists. In 1899, Cambridge University offered Haddon a position in ethnology, which he redefined as cultural anthropology in 1910, while pursuing his interest in art, dance, and philosophy. He is acknowledged as a key figure in the history of British anthropology.

Keywords: Ethnology | Visual anthropology | Ethnographic photography | Anticolonialism | Ireland | Aran Islands | Oceania | Art | Dance | Abolitionism | Social reformism | Expedition to Torres Strait

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