British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace is largely remembered for his theory of evolution through natural selection, which inspired Charles Darwin’s studies. He began his career as a surveyor’s apprentice and later introduced concepts such as reinforcement in animals, also known as the Wallace effect. He was awarded the Order of Merit.
Known for his pioneering work in cultural anthropology, Edward Burnett Tylor penned iconic works such as Primitive Culture, which was partially influenced by Darwin’s theory of evolution. Born to affluent Quaker parents, he quit school to focus on his business but was later drawn to anthropology. He popularized the term animism.
David Harvey is a Marxist economic geographer, podcaster, and a fellow of the British Academy. He is currently a distinguished professor of anthropology and geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). He has authored many books and essays and is one of the most cited authors of books in the humanities and social sciences.
Social anthropologist E. E. Evans-Pritchard is best remembered for his research on witchcraft, magic, and African cultures. Apart from teaching anthropology at Oxford, his alma, he had also worked in South Sudan and penned books such as Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande. He was also knighted for his achievements.
Gregory Bateson was an English anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, and visual anthropologist. Along with his colleagues, he developed the double-bind theory of schizophrenia. Also a cyberneticist, he was part of the core group of the Macy Conferences in Cybernetics. He was a member of philosopher William Irwin Thompson's esoteric nonprofit foundation Lindisfarne Association.
Best known for his work on the pre-industrialized societies, Alfred Radcliffe-Brown visited Andaman Island and Western Australia to study the social structure of the people there, later writing two important books on them. A renowned scholar, he taught at various preeminent universities across the globe before returning to England to establish the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford.
Son of British missionaries in Kenya, Louis Leakey spent his early days amid the Kikuyu people near Nairobi. With an elite education at Cambridge, he later revolutionized the fields of paleoanthropology and archaeology. His study of fossils in East Africa proved humans were older than previously thought.
Ernest Gellner was a British-Czech philosopher and social anthropologist who was considered one of the leading theoreticians on nationalism. A prolific author, he was able to attract critical attention with his very first book, Words and Things, in which he fiercely attacked what he called linguistic philosophy. He eventually developed an interest in social anthropology, before turning his attention to nationalism.
Best known for his work on symbols and rituals, British cultural anthropologist Victor Turner embarked on his lifelong study of the Ndembu people when as a young man he went to Zambia to work as a research officer. Spending his entire career studying rituals and rites of passage, he later applied them to world religion, publishing important works on them.
British-American anthropologist Ashley Montagu not only taught at Rutgers and The State University of New Jersey but also wrote UNESCO’s 1950 Statement on Race. He also dabbled in topics such as evolution and child care, and one of his best-known works is The Natural Superiority of Women.
English anthropologist and psychologist W. H. R. Rivers is best remembered for his work on the Todas of the Nilgiri Hills. A qualified physician, he also taught at Cambridge and worked extensively on medical psychology. One of his best-known works is Kinship and Social Organisation.
13 Jack Goody
Apart from teaching at Cambridge, British social anthropologist Jack Goody also penned books such as Death, Property and the Ancestors. He had also fought in World War II. His work in sociology earned him the knighthood. He was also made a Fellow of The British Academy.
British banker John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury, better known as Sir John Lubbock, had also been an MP. However, he is best known for his contribution to ethnography and archaeology. He is also credited with coining the terms Paleolithic and Neolithic, and is known for his books on animal behavior.
British-American anthropologist Colin Turnbull is best remembered for his books The Forest People and The Mountain People. After serving the naval reserves during World War II, he worked as a researcher at the Banaras Hindu University before returning to Oxford. He also taught at the George Washington University.
16 Max Gluckman
Best known as the pioneer of the Manchester School of anthropology, Max Gluckman is remembered for his extensive research on the law and politics of Africa. Apart from conducting fieldwork among the Ila, Tonga, and Lamba people, he had also taught at Oxford and Manchester.
20 Meyer Fortes
British social anthropologist Meyer Fortes had initially studied psychology before conducting his extensive research among the local tribes such as the Tallensi and the Ashanti of Ghana. He also taught at institutes such as Oxford and LSE and penned books such as Oedipus and Job in West African Religion.
A pioneer of British anthropology, Alfred Cort Haddon is remembered for his contribution of over three decades to Cambridge. While he initially went to the Torres Strait to study marine biology, he later devoted himself to the study of the indigenous people. His History of Anthropology remains his best-known work.
English biologist and anthropologist Walter Baldwin Spencer is remembered for his pioneering study of the indigenous population of Australia. He initially taught biology but later drifted to anthropology. He was also knighted but died while on an expedition to study the Ushuaia of the Tierra del Fuego.
The writer and co-producer of the Emmy-nominated series Ring of Fire, Lawrence Blair is an English anthropologist who has lived in Bali for over three decades now. Born in England, he later moved to Mexico. He has been a diver, a fisherman, an actor, a model, and a photographer.
26 Fred Nadel
32 Maurice Freedman
Especially known for his works on Chinese society and culture, British anthropologist Maurice Freedman became interested in the subject while doing field work in Singapore. Initially a professor at London School of Economics & Political Science and later at University of Oxford, he undertook a comprehensive study of Chinese society, publishing numerous works on its marriage, kinship, rules and religion.
34 Chris Hann
Particularly known for his work on economic anthropology, Chris Hann became interested in the subject while undertaking his first fieldwork in socialist Hungary and Poland, later supplementing his research by undertaking a comparative investigation in the post-socialist period. Later, he extended his work to include Turkey and Xinjian, concurrently diversifying his topics to include religion, civil society, ethnicity and nationalism.
35 Tim Ingold
Timothy Ingold, a British anthropologist, is a Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen. He discussed his entire career in the book From science to art and back again: The pendulum of an anthropologist. Ingold taught at the University of Helsinki (1973–74) and thereafter at the University of Manchester; he became professor in 1990 and Max Gluckman Professor in 1995.