Anthropology | Alexander Street


Alexander Street builds and curates comprehensive, multimedia resources for the study of anthropology, including the largest collection of ethnographic videos and previously unpublished archival field materials. Content is presented on a multimedia platform that reflects the integrated methods of field research, through linking and cross-searchability of text, audiovisual, and archival primary sources. 

Resources work in tandem to bring the fieldwork process to life by juxtaposing original fieldwork with subsequent published ethnographies, as well as follow up studies and visual ethnographies that span a century.

Archive and Manuscript Collections

Anthropological Fieldwork Online

Alexander Street has partnered with archives and holding institutions around the world to bring the fieldwork underpinning the great ethnographies of the early 20th century into the digital world, available in the cross-searchable collection Anthropological Fieldwork OnlineLearn more.

Printed Works Collections

Anthropology Online

Anthropology Online brings together a wide range of written ethnographies, seminal texts and contemporary studies, many of which are the final published works resulting from the research digitized in Anthropological Fieldwork Online. Learn more.

Video Collections

Ethnographic Video Online Series

Alexander Street is the most comprehensive resource for visual anthropology in the world, providing access to over 2,000 hours of film and always growing, from raw field footage to crafted ethnographies and documentaries. Available in any current model popular today for acquiring video, from single titles, to PDA, to curated collections, these offerings provide core visual materials for anthropology courses of all levels. Learn more.

Documentary Educational Resources Collections

Documentary Educational Resources (DER) is the premier source for classic and contemporary ethnographic films, which explore modern cultural struggles and artistic traditions and offer a longitudinal view of changing communities, cultures and identities. DER films are essential to the undergraduate classroom, as they illustrate key concepts, promote critical thinking skills, and generate discussion in cross-disciplinary settings, including anthropology, cultural studies, indigenous studies, history, media and film studies. Learn more

Audio Collections

Ethnographic Sound Archives Online

Ethnographic Sound Archives Online brings together previously unpublished historic audio recordings and their supporting field materials, opening new paths for the study of music in its cultural context. The collection brings together 2,000 hours of audio recordings from field expeditions around the world, particularly from the 1960s through the 1980s—the dawn of ethnomusicology as a codified discipline. Learn more.

Alexander Street brings unique functionality to this material. Deep indexing lets users search and browse by cultural group, place, subject, and ethnographer, optimizing visibility for all material. Users can also search video transcripts to locate specific cultural groups, rituals, traditions, or case studies and watch relevant material within seconds, or pour through thousands of pages of archival content to learn how anthropology’s biggest names did their work. For example, users can read Bronislaw Malinowski’s original field notebooks alongside his published ethnographies, and find follow-up studies and visual ethnographies from his Trobriand Islands field site created a century later.

Teaching Support

Ethnographic Video Online, Royal Anthropological Institute Teaching Edition  (NEW!)

A curriculum-aligned collection of videos and segments curated to support the teaching of introductory anthropology courses.  Each video and segment within this collection are accompanied by a teaching guide providing background information, lesson plans, and classroom exercises and activities. There are a variety of themes that are discussed including family and kinship, gender roles, cultural identity, belief systems and other topics centered around diversity, change, and culture. All teaching materials within this collection are created by the Education Committee of the Royal Anthropological Institute


Anthroplogy Resource Library

Collections are available in the Anthropology Resource Library:

Introducing the Anthropology Commons

In order to spur digitization initiatives and open publishing opportunities for archives, Alexander Street is contributing 10% of revenues from new purchases of our anthropology collections to an Open Archive fund, which will go toward building the Anthropology Commons, a repository of open primary sources critical to the study of anthropology and the history of the field. To kick-start this initiative, the Ruth Benedict Papers will be openly and freely available. Learn more.


See an overview of the database with links to guides, tutorials, and more. Visit the Libguide.

Featured Collections

Anthropology Online

Anthropology Online brings together a wide range of published ethnographies, seminal texts, memoirs, contemporary...

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