Registry of Anthropological Data Wiki

  • Name of Archive: Human Studies Film Archive
  • Description of Archive: The Human Studies Film Archives (HSFA) is an internationally recognized center devoted to preserving and provding access to moving images that document the world's cultures and landscapes from the beginnings of motion picture film to the present. The Archives officially began its mission in 1975 when, as the National Anthropological Film Center, it initiated a program that both created and collected films of anthropological research interest. The Archives promotes the importance of moving image materials as an integral part of the anthropological record. HSFA collections and resources support research on specific cultures, the development of ethnographic film, and the broad study of visual culture.
  • Data and Document Types: motion picture film, video recordings, audio recordings, photographs, manuscripts
  • Location of Archives: Suitland, Maryland (Smithsonian Institution)
  • About the Collections: The HSFA collections comprise more than eight million feet of film and one thousand hours of video recordings. These visual research resources, along with related documentary materials, encompass a braod range of documentary, travelogue, ethnographic, and amateur genres that span most of the 20th century. Associated collections include more than 250,000 photographs, fieldnotes and shot logs, audio field recordings, and a series of "video diaglogues" with well-known anthropologists.
  • Collection Highlights: John Marshall's film and video collection of the Ju/'hoansi (Bushmen) of the Kalahari (1950-2000); Napoleon Chagnon and Timothy Asch's footage of the Yanomamo of Venezuela (1968 and 1971; David and Judith MacDougall's footage of the Turkana of East Africa (1974); the entire ouevre of American-Argentine ethnographic filmmaker, Jorge Preloran (19 ); the Millennium Televsion series hosted by David Maybury-Lewis; Joseph Dixon's footage of Crow Agency (Montana, 1908); Benjamin Brodsky's travel lecture film, Beautiful Japan (1918); Matthew Stirling's By Aeroplane to Pygmyland (New Guinea, 1927); Mellville Herskovits' footage of native life in West Africa and Haiti (1931 and 1934); and Robert Zinng's ethnographic study of the Huichol and Tarahumara (northern Mexico, 1933).
  • Online access: HSFA has two online exhibits: A Million Feed of Film/A Lifetime of Friendship: The John Marshall Ju/'hoan Bushman Film and Video Collection, 1950-2000 and the Jorge Preloran Collection at the Human Studies Film Archives. HSFAFILMCLIPS is HSFA's YouTube channel. Around the World with HSFA is HSFA's iTunesU page. HSFA catalog records can be found on the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS), some of which have clips and still images attached. (Not all HSFA collections are cataloged.) HSFA also contributes to the SIRIS blog which is found on the main page. Located on the SIRIS Collections Search Center is an aggregation of HSFA film clips on SIRIS and YouTube.
  • Recognition: The John Marshall Film and Video Collection of the Ju/'hoansi (Bushmen) of the Kalahari was inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2009.
  • Research and Outreach: The HSFA provides access to a diverse community of researchers including anthropologists, independent filmmakers, and native community members and promotes research in its moving image resources by encouraing applications for Short-Term Visitor appointments offered by the Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Grants. Over the years, the HSFA has supported the visual anthropology community by preserving and providing access to footage shot by independent filmmakers for new productions and museum exhibitions. Working with colleagues in the Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology, the HSFA staff identifies the interests of various native communities and, whenever possible, makes historical images of these communities availabe to them. In the field, these visual resources have been used to elicit oral histories and to prompt reflections on various kinds of social change.