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Anthropological Teaching and Research in Australia

Nature volume 131, page 540 (15 April 1933) | Download Citation



THE passing of a resolution by the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science at its meeting at Sydney in August last, urging upon the Government the need for anthropological training for all white people who hold positions of authority or control over natives, has moved Prof. Raymond Firth to open the new volume of Oceania (vol. 3, pt. 1) with a survey of the progress of anthropology in Australia in the period 1926—32. The choice of this period as the limit of his survey is determined by the fact that its beginning coincides with the setting up of a Department of Anthropology in the Univer sity of Sydney and the appointment of Prof. A. Radcliffe-Brown to the chair, as the result of a resolution passed at the Australian meeting of the Pan-Pacific Congress in 1923. At the same time, a comprehensive scheme of research was initiated under the direction of the Committee for Anthropological Research of the Australian National Research Council, for which funds have been generously provided by the Rockefeller Foundation. In what has been accomplished, much has been due to Prof. Radcliffe-Brown, who, in virtue of his position in the University of Sydney and on the Research Council, has acted as a link in bringing closely together teaching and research. Investigation has been directed to both human biology and social anthro pology. Not only has the work of Spencer and Gillen in central and northern Australia been continued and extended, but Prof. Radcliffe-Brown and others have also conducted investigations in areas in the east and the west of the continent. In looking forward, Prof. Firth sees that much virgin soil has to be explored, not only in Australia, but also in New Guinea and Melanesia; but in the first-named, he points out, there is need for haste lest the material vanish.

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