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Charles Campbell Macknight - Professor, social and cultural anthropologist

The Australian National University, Emeritus Faculty Inc.

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CollectionsANU Emeritus Faculty Oral History Project
Title: Charles Campbell Macknight - Professor, social and cultural anthropologist
Author(s): Macknight, Charles Campbell
Bygrave, Fyfe
Keywords: oral history
Emeritus Faculty
Charles Campbell Macknight
Publisher: The Australian National University, Emeritus Faculty Inc.
The ANU Emeritus Faculty has been for a number of years, conducting interviews with retired members of the Australian National University. The purpose of these interviews has been to gather and maintain a history of the university as far as possible from individual members who contributed to its community and development over decades. The following arises from a discussion Campbell Macknight had with Fyfe Bygrave in September 2016. Campbell commenced his career at the Australian National University as a graduate student in 1966. As an undergraduate at the University of Melbourne he had been influenced by the views of both John Mulvaney and John O’Brien. Later he was sponsored by Mulvaney to enrol as a graduate student at the ANU in the then Department of Anthropology and Sociology in the Research School of Pacific Studies. This was a most productive time for the Department. Pioneering fieldwork was establishing major themes in the prehistory of Australia and the southwest Pacific. Campbell’s PhD studies concerned the Indonesian fishermen who had once visited northern Australia and this took him to many places in Arnhem Land and adjacent areas. At that time, adequate funding was provided and permission to access such areas was more straightforward. Following his graduation, he was appointed to a lectureship to teach Ancient History in the Faculty of Arts. Strong links with the University of Melbourne were very influential in regards to the teaching of History at the ANU at that time and Campbell began to teach Bronze Age Greek and Roman History with courses for first year undergraduate students. Campbell began to teach Aboriginal History with innovative approaches to the subject such as focussing on Aboriginal experiences. At this time he commenced the supervision of Honours and PhD students. In 1987 Campbell developed a novel unit in first year history – ‘Approaching History’. It was a very successful unit involving the reading of original documents that centred around Southeast Asia. Campbell’s long-term research passion has involved the history of South Sulawesi. The studies involved examining artefacts and manuscripts from the period before1600AD when major external influences arrived. Aside from his teaching duties, Campbell was instrumental in establishing the Bachelor of Letters degree, was involved in the recruitment of students to his Department, was a member of the Faculties Research Grants Committee, was involved in the establishment of the Graduate School and had a keen and active interest in the ANU Staff Association. When asked to reflect on the University as a whole, he said it should have amalgamated with the Canberra College of Advanced Education when the opportunity arose. He believes this has condemned the ANU to being a small institution. Campbell also believes that the establishment of ‘Colleges’ has led to a situation where the Institute of Advanced Studies (as it was called) has been overshadowed by the (then) Faculties. He considers Sir John Crawford and Professor Peter Karmel to have been excellent Vice Chancellors and also speaks very highly of his departmental colleagues, all of whom were extremely supportive of each other. Campbell left the ANU at the end of 1993 and for 6 years held the Chair of Humanities at the University of Tasmania in Launceston.


File Description SizeFormat Image
ANUEF_OHP_Campbell_Macknight.mp3Interview97.6 MBMPEG Audio
ANUEF_OHP_Campbell_Macknight.pdfCurriculum Vitae122.38 kBAdobe PDFThumbnail
ANUEF_OHP_Campbell_Macknight.jpgPhotograph111.1 kBJPEG ImageThumbnail

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