Segments in this Video

Mental Characteristics of the Islanders (03:02)


Dr. William Rivers starts off as a doctor then studys psychology and finally discovers a new interest, anthropology.

Torres Straits Expedition (03:04)

An exhibition sets off for an exploration of the peoples of the islands of Torres Straits. Upon arrival researchers realize that the natives have already been introduced to Christianity.

Belief in Superstition (04:21)

Each member of the Torres Straits exhibition will have specialize in a particular aspect of the culture. Now, one is able to understand the traditions of these people.

Native Skills (02:00)

From games to serious activities, researchers studied the islanders of the Torres Straits thoroughly. Their technical skills are easily accepted but researchers question the islanders' mental capacity. They are believed inferior.

Ambitious Project (04:07)

Researchers record cultural aspects of the Torres Straits islanders in journals. One such recording is a sound recording new for its time.

Genealogy Records of Torres Straits Islanders (02:58)

William Rivers recorded all of the different pedigrees as far back as 5 or 6 generations. He was able to classify them by their village.

Classification of Torres Straits Islanders (01:19)

An expert explains the psychology of Rivers' method of classifying the native people

Egypt and Diffusion Theory (01:43)

Rivers' curiousity about the Torres Straits islanders color perception prompted him to test workers on an archaeology dig in Egypt. Colleague Elliott Smith developed a theory of diffusionism which suggests that the entire cultural system of the human race traces back to the ancient Egyptians.

Theory of Social Organization Tested (03:05)

Learn how the people of Todas tribe on the isolated Nilgiri plateau of Southern India are very different than any of the other people that surround them.

Changing Marriage Customs (02:45)

The viewer learns marriage customs of the people of Todas tribe on the isolated Nilgiri plateau of Southern India.

Toda Life (00:56)

Learn about games played by the Todas tribe on the isolated Nilgiri plateau of Southern India from the journal writings of William Rivers.

Dairy Shrines (03:24)

We learn that the ritual life of a dairy man of who is also a priest features largely in the social life of Todas tribe on the isolated Nilgiri plateau of Southern India

Sacred Areas (01:37)

A member of the Todas tribe on the isolated Nilgiri plateau of Southern India explains that his motherland is divided into 15 clans.

Colonials Life in India (01:54)

Rivers lived a comfortable segregated life while he studied the people of the Todas tribe. He compares Toda culture with his own. The Book of Common Prayer applies to Rivers and the restrictions that he must abide to in regards to marriage.

Understanding Marriage Restrictions within Culture (03:21)

Rivers was bound by the Book of Common Prayer which regulates whom one can marry. We learn differences between the cultures, specifically marriage between relatives. Cousin marriage within the Toda culture is regulated in a particular way.

Toda Marriage Customs (03:38)

The marriage process begins with child betrothal and includes paternity designation. The bow-giving ceremony designates which among many possible fathers will take responsibility for raising the child. Rivers was among the first to take a new look at morality within the context of this culture.

Rivers' Research in the South Pacific (02:05)

Rivers recorded kinship patterns using the genealogical method as he sailed the South Pacific. He believed local knowledge was disappearing. Amused bewilderment at Rivers' practices was expressed as a poem in one colleague's journal.

River's Legacy (04:03)

Rivers wanted to make anthropology a science. He was among the first to acknowledge the concept of bias in research. He endeavored to be as objective as possible. Rivers introduced the psychoanalytic approach to the treatment of shell-shock in World War I. He died suddenly at the age of 58.

Credits: William Rivers: Everything Is Relatives (00:51)

Credits: William Rivers: Everything Is Relatives

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William Rivers: Everything Is Relatives

Part of the Series : Strangers Abroad
DVD Price: $159.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $239.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $159.95



William Rivers, trained as a doctor, administered psychological tests to the islanders of the Torres Straits north of Australia and discovered the importance of relatives in their society. His work as a psychologist and medical researcher enabled him to bring something new to anthropology: a scientific approach. His field study with a hill tribe in southern India, the Todas, ultimately set the trend for anthropologists to go and visit the cultures in which they were interested, rather than staying at home and theorizing. (52 minutes)

Length: 52 minutes

Item#: BVL2543

ISBN: 978-1-4213-9365-0

Copyright date: ©1985

Closed Captioned

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