British Academy lectures have previously been published in the Proceedings of the British Academy. Lectures are now made available in the new open access Journal of the British Academy. But they will also be printed in an annual volume. This volume publishes xx lectures from the 2012 and 2013programmes, which were posted to the Journal in 2013.The subjects covered include early 20th-century ethnographic research among the Andaman Islanders and Polar Eskimos, the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1932 and 1947, Edward Lear's nonsense poetry, university authors' rights and the end of the British Empire in India. The editors are Professors Janet Carsten and Simon Frith, who are both Fellows of the British Academy. The authors are all recognised experts in their fields within the humanities and social sciences and the texts published here have been rigorously peer-reviewed.