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Alfred Cort Haddon: A Very English Savage

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Volume 5

Anthropology's Ancestors

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Alfred Cort Haddon

A Very English Savage

Ciarán Walsh

306 pages, 21 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-982-6 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (September 2023)

ISBN  978-1-80073-984-0 $24.95/£19.95 / Pb / Published (September 2023)

eISBN 978-1-80539-371-9 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“The book is lively, well-written, and has the conviction of an author who has thought deeply about the subject. It is also the case that there is room for much more work on Haddon, and the author has provided a more fully-rounded account than we yet have.” • David Shankland, Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI)


An innovative account of one of the least-understood characters in the history of anthropology.

Using previously overlooked, primary sources Ciarán Walsh argues that Haddon, the grandson of anti-slavery activists, set out to revolutionize anthropology in the 1890s in association with a network of anarcho-utopian activists and philosophers. He regards most of what has been written about Haddon in the past as a form of disciplinary folklore shaped by a theory of scientific revolutions.

The main action takes place in Ireland, where Haddon adopted the persona of a very English savage in a new form of performed photo-ethnography that constituted a singularly modernist achievement in anthropology.

From the Introduction:

Alfred Cort Haddon was written out of the story of anthropology for the same reasons that make him interesting today. He was passionately committed to the protection of simpler societies and their civilisations from colonists and their supporters in parliament and the armed forces.

Ciarán Walsh works as a freelance curator and writer. In 2009, he curated an internationally acclaimed exhibition of photography by John Millington Synge which brought the photography of Alfred Cort Haddon into focus.

Subject: Anthropology (General)Theory and Methodology
Area: Europe


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