1st Edition

Francis Huxley and the Human Condition Anthropology, Ancestry and Knowledge

By Ron Roberts, Theodor Itten Copyright 2021
    318 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    318 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Focused on the life and work of Francis Huxley (1923–2016), this book offers an exploration of the search to understand the human condition, one which is simultaneously biographical, philosophical, cultural, historical, political and epistemological.

    A member of the illustrious Huxley dynasty, Francis Huxley forged an unusual and innovative career, making key contributions to social anthropology, mental health care and the protection of indigenous peoples. His story reveals how the production and dissemination of ideas can be understood in an intergenerational context which is familial and sociological. The book reflects on the contemporary relevance of Huxley’s work, forging links between the central philosophical, cultural, scientific and political themes that dominate the turbulent early 21st century and the enduring questions that have driven human beings in the search to understand themselves and their place in the world. It will be of interest to scholars from across the social sciences and humanities.

    Part I: Introduction; 1. Chronology and Family Tree; Part II: Family Life, Ancestry and Haunting; 2. Parents; 3. Uncle Aldous; 4. Haunting; Part III: The Facts of Life; 5. Gordonstoun; 6. In the Royal Navy; 7. Oxford; 8. Love and History; Part IV: Social Anthropology: In Search of the World; 9. Anthropology and its Challenges; 10. The Ka’apor; 11. Saskatchewan; 12. Haiti Fieldwork; 13. St. Catherine’s Oxford; 14. Survival International: Anthropology and Social Justice; 15. Cosmology and the Sacred; Part V: The Human Condition; 16. The Philadelphia Association; 17. The late Francis Huxley; 18. Francis Huxley and the Human Condition


    Ron Roberts is a chartered psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society with over 30 years' experience in higher education. www.ronroberts.co.uk

    Theodor Itten is a retired psychotherapist. After 40 years practising in Switzerland he now lives in Hamburg, Germany. He studied social anthropology with Francis Huxley, who became his mentor and friend. www.ittentheodor.ch

    "A thorough and fascinating portrayal of my Uncle Francis, warts and all, which well convey his mercurial character together with a sure-footed appraisal of his life’s work and writing."

    Victoria Huxley, Niece.

    "This study of Francis Huxley is welcome and overdue, because he was one of the greatest anthropologists of Amazonian indigenous peoples. His observations were thorough and scientifically accurate, to the highest standards of his discipline. But Francis was exceptional in two other ways. His delightful writing style communicated his passion to general readers as well as academics. And he was a warm friend, almost a compatriot of the indigenous peoples he studied. He was fascinated by and empathised with mythology and their spirit and spiritual worlds, so that he almost thought as one of them."

    John Hemming, Author of People of the Rainforest

    "This is an immensely engaging and absorbing book. Thoughtful and well written, it skillfully conveys the many fascinating layers of Francis Huxley and his rich and varied life, loves and philosophy with great empathy."

    Fiona Watson, Survival International