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SVA Blog - Society for Visual Anthropology

Aynur Kadir

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October 23, 2017

Call for Applications for Co- Directors for the 2018 SVA Film and Media Festival

October 23, 2017 | By | No Comments

The Society for Visual Anthropology invites applications for Co- Directors for the 2018 SVA Film and Media Festival. This is a 3-year position that will begin after the end of the 2017 meetings and continue until the end of the 2020

 

Overview

The Society for Visual Anthropology’s Film & Media Festival screens work by students, professional anthropologists, and professional filmmakers at the annual SVA Film & Media Festival, which is currently held during the American Anthropological Association’s annual conference.

 

The film festival co-directors will work with the film festival jury, comprised of anthropologists and filmmakers, who select work to be included in the Festival on the basis of anthropological relevance and value to the field. Low budget and shorter works receive as careful attention as high budget or longer works. The SVA bestows a number of awards each year, including best overall films (at different lengths), best student work, and when appropriate the Jean Rouch Award for collaborative and participatory work.

 

Qualifications

 

Qualifications of the Film Festival co-directors:

 

  1. An advanced degree in Anthropology and a background in fields related to visual anthropology.
  2. Proven organizational skills, especially in managing events (i.e. workshops, conferences, and/or visual exhibitions)
  3. Background in some aspect of film or media production

 

Responsibilities include:

 

  1. Work with the SVA board to solicit films through annual calls for films.
  2. Contract with the festival hosting site, filmfreeway.com to make sure listing is up to date and has the appropriate deadlines.
  1. Send out a call for and organize groups of pre-screeners.
  2. Create a pre-screening profile in filmfreeway.com so that pre-screeners can enter their comments.
    1. Organize pre-screening of films via filmfreeway.com giving pre-screeners access to the films they will be asked to view, set deadlines for their comments and control their access to the films.
    2. Creates a jury in consultation with the SVA Board.
    3. Hosts the jurying meeting and works with the Film Festival jury to coordinate jurying of films.
    4. Determine prize winners with jury; notify winner and assist with coordination of travel plans and award presentations.
    5. Schedule the Film & Media Festival in consultation with AAA staff.
    6. Advertise for the film festival.
    7. Organize staffing for the film festival itself at the Annual Meetings of the AAA.
    8. Manage budget in consultation with SVA Treasurer, including costs for jurying, technical support, staff, travel awards, and advertising.

 

The film festival co-editors should commit to the following work effort:

 

  1. One or two hours a week from January to early March for festival planning/preparation.
  2. Three to four hours a week from mid-March to April for festival related communications, database preparation.
  3. Five to six hours a week in April and May for pre-screening communications, data input, etc.
  4. One week in May or June for jurying preparation and jurying hosting.
  5. One or two hours a week from July to September for conference and film festival coordination and planning, and to prepare an annual report for the SVA Board.
  6. Four – six hours/ wk in September, October and early November for festival coordination and planning.
  7. At least several days immediately before, during and after the AAA annual meeting for festival management. (Past co-editors found that at least half of every day at the annual meeting was used in festival related activities). Co-editors should expect to arrive at the AAA meetings one day early (Tuesday) and stay until Sunday; they are also expected to attend the SVA Board Meeting as well as the SVA Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony.

 

Compensation

The film festival editor is a voluntary position and does not receive direct compensation for time or effort. The SVA Board will reimburse expenses directly related to film festival upon approval. Jurying travel and meal expenses are covered by the SVA. Film Festival co-editors’ attendance at the AAA annual meeting is required and reimbursed (up to $1500 total to be shared between the two co-editors).

 

For further information or to submit an application please email SVA President-Elect Matthew Durington: durington@Towson.edu

 

Aynur Kadir

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October 14, 2017

Extended deadline for AAA Film Pitch Workshop: October 30th, 2017

October 14, 2017 | By | No Comments

Are you currently working on a film? Are you interested in getting feedback?

Are you interested in ethnographic film production but not yet ready to share a project in progress?

Due to the enormous success of the 2016 Pitch Session, we are once again convening a Film Pitch Workshop at the 2017 Annual Meeting.  Please join us for the 2nd Annual Society for Visual Anthropology Film Pitch Workshop, December 1st from 1-5 PM.

A PITCH SESSION FOR ETHNOGRAPHIC FILMMAKERS: DEVELOPING YOUR STORY, INTEGRATING YOUR RESEARCH, FINDING FUNDING AND DISTRIBUTION

This workshop uses the pitch format of documentary film festivals in which filmmakers pitch their work-in-progress to a jury of funders, distributors and award winning filmmakers. For each film presented, the jury will provide feedback including strategies for visualizing anthropological content and suggestions for developing your narrative and structure. Other discussion topics include conceptualizing your audience, and opportunities and strategies for funding and distribution.

Preselected filmmakers will give a 10 minute presentation of their project that includes a description of the story, themes, research, visual style, plans for completion and a short video sample. Our workshop format is intended to encourage lively discussion between jurors, other workshop participants and the presenting filmmakers. Discussion will address both the effectiveness of the pitch and the substance of the film project.

The goals of the workshop are:

  1. To model how to present a film project to potential collaborators, funders & distributors.
  2. To provide concrete strategies for turning research into visually compelling stories.
  3. To direct participants to funding and distribution opportunities.

Pitch jurors are to be announced.

Two Ways to Participate
PITCH YOUR PROJECT: Whether your project is in development, production, or in rough cut stage, this is an opportunity to get feedback on your work-in-progress from a jury with expertise in anthropological filmmaking, funding and distribution. Seven filmmakers (or filmmaking teams) will be selected to pitch projects. Those interested in presenting their film project should send a brief Pitch Proposal to Alice Apley by October 30, 2017. The organizers will select a mix of experienced to first-time filmmakers.
NONPITCHING WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS: As a workshop participant, you can observe the pitches, get ideas for projects, join the discussion about the projects in progress, learn from the pitches, and plan for a future visual project.
Pitch Proposal
If you are interested in pitching, send a one-page description of your project and a video sample. It should include:
  • Short synopsis describing the significance of the project, brief discussion of the issues, themes and story you will explore, and the visual style of the film (e.g. observational, experimental documentary etc).
  • Your bio, including your unique qualifications for completing this project successfully, such as knowledge, skills, access or history of involvement with the characters and/or subject matter.
  • Please also include a short status report describing where you are in the research, development and/or production process, what work has been completed and a brief timeline.
  • Production-related photo (optional).
  • Also send a trailer, teaser, or clips via a single streamable link of film footage or visuals (still or moving). (7 minutes maximum)

For questions, email Alice Apley or Sarah Elder.

Aynur Kadir

By

October 11, 2017

Extended deadline for proposals: Displacements: December 8, 2017

October 11, 2017 | By | No Comments

Call for Proposals: Displacements

Call for Proposals
2018 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Cultural Anthropology
Cosponsored by the Society for Visual Anthropology

Thursday, April 19–Saturday, April 21, 2018
An online event
Tune in from wherever you are, or come together to invent and collaborate

Extended deadline for proposals: December 8, 2017

* * *

Displacements are in the air: episodes of profound political upheaval, intensified crises of migration and expulsion, the disturbing specter of climatic and environmental instability, countless virtual shadows cast over the here and now by ubiquitous media technologies. What does it mean to live and strive in the face of such movements? What social and historical coordinates are at stake with these challenges? And what kind of understanding can anthropology contribute to the displacements of this time—given, especially, that our most essential techniques like ethnography are themselves predicated on the heuristic value of displacement, on what can be gleaned from the experience of unfamiliar circumstances?

Exclusionary politics of spatial displacement always depend on rhetorical and imaginative displacements of various kinds: a person for a category, or a population for a problem. In the face of such moves, the critical task of ethnography is often to muster contrary displacements of thought, attention, imagination, and sensation. What forms of social and political possibility might be kindled by anthropological efforts to broach unexpected places, situations, and stories? The 2018 SCA Biennial Meeting, cosponsored by the Society for Visual Anthropology, will invite such prospects in tangible form, as experiences of what is elsewhere and otherwise. This is a conference that will itself displace the conventional modes of gathering, taking place wherever its participants individually and collectively tune in.

For the first time, in 2018, the SCA Biennial Meeting will take place as a virtual conference. We invite you to contribute an individual audio/video presentation of 5–10 minutes in length, a proposal for a panel of related presentations, or an idea for some localized form of in-person collaboration to which conference participants could have access. You may simply choose to record yourself giving a talk or reading a paper. But we especially encourage efforts to take us elsewhere along with you in a more sensory and immersive register: multimedia presentations, voiceover essays spliced with fieldwork fragments, sound works, short films, photo sequences, and so on. In this spirit, here is another call for submissions to the Biennial Meeting, one expressed in a different manner.

Air travel is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and one of the chief ways that an academic livelihood contributes to carbon pollution. We are exploring the virtual conference format with the ideal of carbon-neutral activity in mind. This format will also enable broader geographical participation, most especially against the backdrop of a political climate of unequal restrictions on international travel. We hope, too, that the web-based media platform we are developing for the conference will allow for novel explorations of expressive form in anthropology.

One of the chief values of the academic conference no doubt lies in face-to-face meetings and interactions. We hope, however, that this effort may provoke decentralized, affinity-based forms of collaboration, interaction, and uptake, in the spirit of experimentation that the SCA and SVA have long encouraged. We therefore invite participants to consider gathering together into local nodes of collective participation in the conference: viewing parties, classroom activities, departmental engagements with the conference, hackathon-style events that culminate in outputs that can be shared with other conference attendees, or anything else you can imagine.

All presentations must be prerecorded and shared in advance with the organizers. The presentations will be posted sequentially, in real time, during the conference and will be available to registered conference attendees for viewing, commentary, and discussion over those three days. We are exploring the possibility of a digital archive of presentations for those who want to participate, although more ephemeral contributions are also welcome.

Technical guidance on presentations will be forthcoming soon, but we want to assure you that nothing more complicated is required than what can be done on a typical smartphone. In the meantime, if you are conducting summer fieldwork, feel free to start gathering audiovisual materials that you may wish to incorporate in your presentation (in keeping with the research ethics of your particular field site). Also, keep in mind that if you would like to organize a local node of collective participation, we will work with you to provide some form of support for your event.

The extended deadline for proposals is Friday, December 8, 2017. Please write to displacements@culanth.org with a title and 200-word description of proposed presentations, panels, collaborations, and local events. Panel proposals should include an abstract for each individual presentation, as well as one for the panel. Presentations themselves will be due in late February 2018. Further details on conference registration will be available soon.

Aynur Kadir

By

October 6, 2017

SVA Members | Mark Your Calendars! AES & SVA Joint Spring Meeting

October 6, 2017 | By | No Comments

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Dear SVA Members,

The American Ethnological Society and the Society for Visual Anthropology welcomes you to participate in the joint spring meeting, Resemblance, on March 22-24, 2018!

In an era of “fake news” and “alt” political movements, what counts as meaning making? How can we understand epistemology in an era of madness? The issue of resemblance is as much a pressing social question as it is an academic preoccupation. The American Ethnological Society and the Society for Visual Anthropology explore the theme of resemblance at their 2018 joint spring conference. Welcoming anthropologists, artists, media makers, and community members to Philadelphia during March 22-24, the meeting will provide an opportunity to revisit and explore anew what we believe is knowable as anthropologists and the ways we may wish to rethink our priorities and approaches in our era of heightened violence, strife, surveillance, and policing.

Resemblance is at the very heart of anthropology, as its practitioners have sought to demonstrate the commonalities of all people. While resemblance relies upon recognition and likening, it is also a means of comparison to what one perceives and believes they already know. The conference organizers invite proposals for panels consisting of papers or multimodal presentations, as well as individual submissions that theoretically, methodologically, visually, or otherwise examine the conference theme. We welcome graduate students to present their work in its early stages and to network with more established practitioners. The conference will feature exhibitions, speakers, films, performances, as well as a town hall discussion about how our field can wield greater influence in public struggles of resemblance.

Mark your calendars and look out for submission information this fall!

All the best,

Stephanie Takaragawa


Mailed from the American Anthropological Association
2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 1301 • Arlington, VA 22201-3386
tel: 703.528.1902 • fax: 703.228.3546
Kate Hennessy

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September 25, 2017

Mount Holyoke College, Tenure-track visual and media anthropology position

September 25, 2017 | By | No Comments

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Mount Holyoke College invites applications for a tenure track position in cultural anthropology at the assistant professor rank to begin fall 2018.

We are looking for an ethnographer who specializes in media and visual anthropology, with attention to the politics of representation regarding cultural forms such as race, class, gender, religion, and ability. We welcome candidates who incorporate video, photography, and/or other innovative techniques into their ethnographic methodology. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues in interdisciplinary fields such as Film Studies, Africana Studies, Latin American and Latinx Studies, and Journalism, as well as with community-based and global education programs.

For full details about this position, please go to this site: https://jobs.mtholyoke.edu/index.cgi?&JA_m=JASDET&JA_s=557
Kate Hennessy

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September 6, 2017

Tenure-track position, Bowdoin College

September 6, 2017 | By | No Comments

Bowdoin College’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology invites applications for a tenure-track faculty appointment in Anthropology at the Assistant Professor level beginning fall 2018. We seek a cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on issues of indigeneity, sovereignty, the environment, and/or media in Native American or other indigenous communities. We are especially interested in candidates whose areas of geographic and topical specialization complement and broaden those now covered in the Department.

We welcome applications from candidates committed to the instruction and support of a diverse student population and those who will enrich and contribute to the College’s ethnic and cultural diversity. We value a community in which students of all backgrounds are warmly welcomed and encouraged to succeed. In your application materials, we encourage you to address how your teaching, scholarship, and/or mentorship may support our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Bowdoin values a strong commitment to research and a promise of long-term successful scholarly engagement as well as a dedication to teaching excellence in a liberal arts environment. There is internal funding in support of research, a junior sabbatical leave, and an accelerated post-tenure sabbatical schedule. Teaching load is two courses each semester. The successful candidate will teach courses in their areas of expertise and will contribute to the rotation of core courses for the major in Anthropology (including Introduction to Cultural Anthropology; Ethnographic Research; History of Anthropological Theory; and Contemporary Issues in Anthropology, a senior capstone course). A Ph.D. in Anthropology is expected by date of appointment. We recognize that recruiting and retaining faculty may involve considerations of spouses and domestic partners. To that end, where possible, the College will attempt to accommodate and respond creatively to the needs of spouses and partners of members of the faculty.

Bowdoin College accepts only electronic submissions. Please visit https://careers.bowdoin.edu to submit: 1) a cover letter that details your scholarly research agenda and describes your teaching experience; 2) a curriculum vitae; and 3) the names and contact information for three references who have agreed to provide letters of recommendation. Review of applications will begin September 15, 2017.

Founded on the Maine coast in 1794, Bowdoin is one of the oldest and most selective coeducational, residential liberal arts colleges in the country. Located in Brunswick, Maine, a 30-minute drive north of Portland, the College is in an area rich with natural beauty and year-round outdoor activities. Bowdoin’s reputation rests on the excellence of its faculty and students, its intimate size, its strong sense of community, and its commitment to diversity (31.5% students of color, 5% international students and approximately 15% first-generation college students). Bowdoin College complies with applicable provisions of federal and state laws that prohibit unlawful discrimination in employment, admission, or access to its educational or extracurricular programs, activities, or facilities based on race, color, ethnicity, ancestry and national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, marital status, place of birth, genetic predisposition, veteran status, or against qualified individuals with physical or mental disabilities on the basis of disability, or any other legally protected statuses. For further information about the College please visit our website: http://www.bowdoin.edu.

Kate Hennessy

By

August 25, 2017

Call for Film Projects for the AAA Film Pitch Workshop

August 25, 2017 | By | No Comments

Are you currently working on a film? Are you interested in getting feedback?

Are you interested in ethnographic film production but not yet ready to share a project in progress?

Due to the enormous success of the 2016 Pitch Session, we are once again convening a Film Pitch Workshop at the 2017 Annual Meeting.  Please join us for the 2nd Annual Society for Visual Anthropology Film Pitch Workshop, December 1st from 1-5 PM.

A PITCH SESSION FOR ETHNOGRAPHIC FILMMAKERS: DEVELOPING YOUR STORY, INTEGRATING YOUR RESEARCH, FINDING FUNDING AND DISTRIBUTION

This workshop uses the pitch format of documentary film festivals in which filmmakers pitch their work-in-progress to a jury of funders, distributors and award winning filmmakers. For each film presented, the jury will provide feedback including strategies for visualizing anthropological content and suggestions for developing your narrative and structure. Other discussion topics include conceptualizing your audience, and opportunities and strategies for funding and distribution.

Preselected filmmakers will give a 10 minute presentation of their project that includes a description of the story, themes, research, visual style, plans for completion and a short video sample. Our workshop format is intended to encourage lively discussion between jurors, other workshop participants and the presenting filmmakers. Discussion will address both the effectiveness of the pitch and the substance of the film project.

The goals of the workshop are:

  1. To model how to present a film project to potential collaborators, funders & distributors.
  2. To provide concrete strategies for turning research into visually compelling stories.
  3. To direct participants to funding and distribution opportunities.

Pitch jurors are to be announced.

Two Ways to Participate
PITCH YOUR PROJECT: Whether your project is in development, production, or in rough cut stage, this is an opportunity to get feedback on your work-in-progress from a jury with expertise in anthropological filmmaking, funding and distribution. Seven filmmakers (or filmmaking teams) will be selected to pitch projects. Those interested in presenting their film project should send a brief Pitch Proposal to Alice Apley by October 15, 2017. The organizers will select a mix of experienced to first-time filmmakers.
NONPITCHING WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS: As a workshop participant, you can observe the pitches, get ideas for projects, join the discussion about the projects in progress, learn from the pitches, and plan for a future visual project.
Pitch Proposal
If you are interested in pitching, send a one-page description of your project and a video sample. It should include:
  • Short synopsis describing the significance of the project, brief discussion of the issues, themes and story you will explore, and the visual style of the film (e.g. observational, experimental documentary etc).
  • Your bio, including your unique qualifications for completing this project successfully, such as knowledge, skills, access or history of involvement with the characters and/or subject matter.
  • Please also include a short status report describing where you are in the research, development and/or production process, what work has been completed and a brief timeline.
  • Production-related photo (optional).
  • Also send a trailer, teaser, or clips via a single streamable link of film footage or visuals (still or moving). (7 minutes maximum)

For questions, email Alice Apley or Sarah Elder.

Aynur Kadir

By

June 30, 2017

Call for Proposals: Displacements

June 30, 2017 | By | No Comments

Call for Proposals: Displacements

Call for Proposals
2018 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Cultural Anthropology
Cosponsored by the Society for Visual Anthropology
Thursday, April 19–Saturday, April 21, 2018
An online event
Tune in from wherever you are, or come together to invent and collaborate

* * *
Displacements are in the air: episodes of profound political upheaval, intensified crises of migration and expulsion, the disturbing specter of climatic and environmental instability, countless virtual shadows cast over the here and now by ubiquitous media technologies. What does it mean to live and strive in the face of such movements? What social and historical coordinates are at stake with these challenges? And what kind of understanding can anthropology contribute to the displacements of this time—given, especially, that our most essential techniques like ethnography are themselves predicated on the heuristic value of displacement, on what can be gleaned from the experience of unfamiliar circumstances?

Exclusionary politics of spatial displacement always depend on rhetorical and imaginative displacements of various kinds: a person for a category, or a population for a problem. In the face of such moves, the critical task of ethnography is often to muster contrary displacements of thought, attention, imagination, and sensation. What forms of social and political possibility might be kindled by anthropological efforts to broach unexpected places, situations, and stories? The 2018 SCA Biennial Meeting, cosponsored by the Society for Visual Anthropology, will invite such prospects in tangible form, as experiences of what is elsewhere and otherwise. This is a conference that will itself displace the conventional modes of gathering, taking place wherever its participants individually and collectively tune in.

For the first time, in 2018, the SCA Biennial Meeting will take place as a virtual conference. We invite you to contribute an individual audio/video presentation of 5–10 minutes in length, a proposal for a panel of related presentations, or an idea for some localized form of in-person collaboration to which conference participants could have access. You may simply choose to record yourself giving a talk or reading a paper. But we especially encourage efforts to take us elsewhere along with you in a more sensory and immersive register: multimedia presentations, voiceover essays spliced with fieldwork fragments, sound works, short films, photo sequences, and so on. In this spirit, here is another call for submissions to the Biennial Meeting, one expressed in a different manner.

Air travel is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and one of the chief ways that an academic livelihood contributes to carbon pollution. We are exploring the virtual conference format with the ideal of carbon-neutral activity in mind. This format will also enable broader geographical participation, most especially against the backdrop of a political climate of unequal restrictions on international travel. We hope, too, that the web-based media platform we are developing for the conference will allow for novel explorations of expressive form in anthropology.

One of the chief values of the academic conference no doubt lies in face-to-face meetings and interactions. We hope, however, that this effort may provoke decentralized, affinity-based forms of collaboration, interaction, and uptake, in the spirit of experimentation that the SCA and SVA have long encouraged. We therefore invite participants to consider gathering together into local nodes of collective participation in the conference: viewing parties, classroom activities, departmental engagements with the conference, hackathon-style events that culminate in outputs that can be shared with other conference attendees, or anything else you can imagine.

All presentations must be prerecorded and shared in advance with the organizers. The presentations will be posted sequentially, in real time, during the conference and will be available to registered conference attendees for viewing, commentary, and discussion over those three days. We are exploring the possibility of a digital archive of presentations for those who want to participate, although more ephemeral contributions are also welcome.

Technical guidance on presentations will be forthcoming soon, but we want to assure you that nothing more complicated is required than what can be done on a typical smartphone. In the meantime, if you are conducting summer fieldwork, feel free to start gathering audiovisual materials that you may wish to incorporate in your presentation (in keeping with the research ethics of your particular field site). Also, keep in mind that if you would like to organize a local node of collective participation, we will work with you to provide some form of support for your event.

The deadline for proposals is Monday, October 16, 2017. Please write to displacements@culanth.org with a title and 200-word description of proposed presentations, panels, collaborations, and local events, or any other queries. Further details on conference registration will be forthcoming.

Aynur Kadir

By

June 23, 2017

Tattoo(ed) Histories: Transcultural Perspectives on the Aesthetics, Narratives and Practices of Tattoo

June 23, 2017 | By | No Comments

What is known today as tattooing in Euro-American societies was encountered during colonial encounters and was introduced to Western European/North American societies by sailors and missionaries who had travelled to Polynesia and Japan. Preserved skins and ancient artworks reveal, however, that tattooing practices date back to ancient history and have been practiced around the globe.

In the early and modern history of the tattoo in Euro-American societies, it was mostly members of lower classes and subcultures who were tattooed, for example criminals, soldiers, sailors and prostitutes. As a result, tattoos were commonly defined as ‘savage’ and/or stigmatized, and were marginalized and deemed indicative of a person’s low social status. This also affected colonized people who were labeled ‘backward’ due to their tattooing practices. People holding powerful positions often branded prisoners, i.e. enslaved people, as a way of exercising power and control over ‘unruly’ bodies (Caplan 2000).

Over the course of the twentieth century, particularly since the 1950s, the popularity of tattoos has been growing worldwide. For example, European youth cultures started to refer to tattoos as marks of difference and resistance to fashion in the 1990s. In this context so-called “tribals” became popular images, which engage and reproduce primitivist discourse (Klesse 2000). Today tattoos and tattooed bodies seem to be omnipresent among a variety of social groups and can no longer be considered marginal appearances.

Although fashion and anti-fashion are common incentives for tattooing, motivations indeed are manifold: to decorate, assign or achieve a specific social status; to define group insiders and outsiders; to express and create identities; to heal, protect or divert spirit attacks. Tattooing may be considered as a means to reduce the permeability of the body and to reinstate boundaries of self and other, individual and society (Turner 2007).

Not only tattoo images are important in these contexts, but so are the process and practice of tattooing. In some societies, the relevance of tattoo is based on its being a proof that a specific ritual has been conducted. In others, tattooing is not considered as an individual practice and group tattooing is a rite of passage that creates group identity through shared pain experiences. Different stages of tattooing have to be taken into consideration when approaching tattoo, as suggested by Alfred Gell (1993). Tattoo narratives in such contexts may become part or constitutive of a person’s or group’s (oral) history.

Chapters in this edited volume will analyze the relevance of tattoos in the construction of socio-cultural bodies, lives and histories, both among individuals and groups, in the past and at present. As the editors seek to overcome a Eurocentric and North American bias in the study of tattoo, contributions from a diverse range of disciplines and research contexts are welcome.

Questions that the edited volume might address include, for example:

  • How do tattoo images and practices facilitate representations of self and other? How do they performatively (re)create biographies and histories?
  • How are tattooing experiences narrated and tattoo images discussed?
  • What do tattoo aesthetics and practices reveal about the often separately used categorizations of life-writing and life-imaging?
  • How does the permanence of tattoos affect the socio-cultural construction of bodies and histories? Do tattoos maybe even challenge ideas of permanence and continuance?
  • How are images and practices of tattoos linked to other modes of body modification, such as piercing, scarification, branding, cutting, binding or cosmetic surgery?

We are looking forward to receiving relevant paper proposals from a wide range of theoretical positions and disciplines. We invite proposals of ca. 300 – 500 words, a tentative title and a short biographical note of the contributor(s) as a single pdf before August 31, 2017. Please send proposals and inquiries to the following address: s.kloss@uni-koeln.de (Dr. Sinah Kloß, University of Cologne). Accepted contributors are expected to submit their full chap­ters of 6000 – 8000 words by February 28, 2018. The edited volume will be submitted for publication to a major academic publisher in early 2018. Routledge has expressed interest.

 

Contact Info:

Dr. Sinah Kloß

Morphomata Center for Advanced Studies
University of Cologne
Albertus-Magnus-Platz
50923 Cologne
Germany

Contact Email:
Anandi Salinas

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May 6, 2017

VAR SUPPLEMENT: Harjant Gill on Censorship and Ethnographic film

May 6, 2017 | By | No Comments

Harjant Gill’s article, “Censorship and Ethnographic Film: Confronting State Bureaucracies, Cultural Regulation, and Institutionalized Homophobia in India,” explores how anthropological knowledge, specifically in the form of ethnographic film, is shaped and reshaped by the public domains and venues in which it circulates such as television channels, international film festivals and community screenings, and increasingly on video-sharing websites including YouTube.com and Vimeo.com.

Unlike his writings including journal articles, which are often limited to an insular readership, his ethnographic films are viewed by wider audiences across the globe. Gill explores some of the implications of such mainstream public engagements on the process of anthropological knowledge production.

Classroom Activities and Discussion Questions

Engage with the same ethnographic film in different settings.

In the classroom followed by an open-ended discussion; online at home (on your own) followed by reading and responding to comments in the comments-section below. After each screening, write down a brief reflection about the film.

  1. Comparing the two reflections, does your understanding or perception of a given film change based on the venue in which it is being viewed? How so? Does the audience reactions, whether in pubic setting (like the classroom), or online shape your reception and engagement with the film? What insights does this exercises offer you into your reception and engagement with a piece of media like an ethnographic film? Do you think the filmmaker(s) catered their film to a specific audience? Why or why not? How does this add to your understating of the process of knowledge production in anthropology?

Using a country like India or the United States of America as an example to explore the practices related to state sponsored censorship, conduct independent research (online) on how the institutions tasked with rating or censoring media such as the Central Board of Film Certification of India (CBFC) or the Motion Picture Association of America define censorship.

  1. Identify specific guidelines (or the lack-there-of) that these agencies have used or are currently employing to censor visual media.
  2. Using discourse analysis, the exercise of “reading-against-the-grain,” write a critical reflection of how formal definitions and practices related to censorship are applied.
  3. How might these definitions and practices fluctuate and change over time? How might they react to the political and cultural climate of the moment? What does this tell us about democracy and free speech, and its relationship with the governmental institutions? How might censorship operate to reinforce certain hegemonic narratives about the nation? What are some of the different strategies employed by filmmakers and artists to circumvent state-sponsored censorship and subvert dominant ideology?

With the expansion and growing accessibility of new media technologies such as online blogs, web-based publications, video sharing websites, etc. it has become easier for academics and researchers to make their research findings publicly accessible to a far wider audience. As a result, these academics and researchers have also come under increasing scrutiny and attacks by anonymous individuals or trolls and online vigilante groups who disagree with or dislike their findings.

  1. Identify one such case from past reports or track the trajectory of one such form of popular media (or journal article), which has been challenged or misinterpreted or rendered “controversial” in popular media or online.For example: Anthropologist speaking out against Human Terrain Systems & War in Iraq in 2008

    Nivedita Menon’s Interview on Gender & Sexuality in India

  2. How might new media technologies represent sites that simultaneously provide access to knowledge as well as platform for those seeking to dismiss or debunk that knowledge? How should the academic or researcher respond to online trolling and other informal forms of censorship, or even fake news reports and academic blacklists? Given the challenges highlighted above, do you think it is important for anthropologists to undertake such public engagement efforts irrespective of the risks?

Related Readings & Films

Dick, Kirby, dir. 2006. This Film Is Not Yet Rated. IFC Films. DVD

Engelke, Matthew, ed. 2009. The Object of Evidence: Anthropological Approaches to the Production of Knowledge. West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell and Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland.

Mazzarella, William. 2013. Censorium: Cinema and the Open Edge of Mass Publicity. Durham: Duke University Press.

Mazzarella, William and Raminder Kaur, eds. 2009. Censorship in South Asia: Cultural Regulation from Sedition to Seduction. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Ethnographic Films by Harjant Gill

Sent Away Boys, 2016

Mardistan/Macholand, 2014

Roots of Love, 2010

Milind Soman Made Me Gay, 2007

Some Reasons For Living, 2003

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