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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

Anandi Salinas

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May 6, 2017

VAR SUPPLEMENT: Cheikh Lo and Beth Buggenhagen on Senegalese Portrait Photography

May 6, 2017 | By | No Comments

Classroom Activities and Discussion Questions

Beth Buggenhagen’s “If You Were in My Sneakers: Migration Stories in the Studio Photography of Dakar based Omar Victor Diop” analyzes Omar Victor Diop’s body of work, “Project Diaspora: Self Portraits 2014.” This teaching supplement aims to provide discussion questions and activities for students and instructors to engage with portrait photography in an African postcolonial and global context. Students will test their assumptions about the ability of photographic images to re-inscribe historical representations and construct narratives that subvert and critique a wide range of contemporary issues, including racism, and migration. How do we capture images of contemporary and historical accounts of migration while at the same time respecting the dignity of migrants?

Brainstorming:

  1. Over these past few years, you have probably been struck by iconic photographic images that went viral in the social media outlets about migration and refugee issues. What are the dominant images of migration and migrants and refugees? How do you react to such images? Do they alter your understanding of migrant and refugee issues?
  2. How does Diop want to portray human migration? Does he succeed?
  3. In “Project Diaspora: Self Portraits 2014,” Diop appears in each of these images. Are these selfies? What distinguishes a selfie from a self portrait, if anything?

Reading & Watching Comprehension:

  1. How does the author interpret the abolitionist bust in Girodet’s painting of Belley in relation to the soccer ball prop featured in Diop’s photographic re-enactment of the same painting?
  2. Based on the article and the YouTube videos below, write one paragraph about how Diop’s background has shaped his artistic choices.

Compare and contrast:

  1. Choose 2 portraits of different authors in the article. Look at them and organize your thoughts about their similarities and differences in a balanced paragraph of six sentences.
  2. Considering the article, orally report what you think the photographers intended to narrate through those images, and share your opinion if you agree or disagree.

Observe and read:

  1. How do European colonial photographic props differ from Omar Victor Diop’s contemporary props?

Reflection: Words and Images:

  1. Creating a Portrait
    1. Form a pair group to create a portrait of a stigmatized or controversial sport, Hollywood star, or political figure.
    2. What props would you associate her or his image with, if you were to condemn or change that stigmatization in a photographic enactment?
  2. Selfies
    1. What props did you often use in your own self-portrait photography? Why? What meaning do these props hold for you?
  3. Takeaway
    1. Do you think photography is an effective tool for re-writing biased historical accounts to positively impact current migration, racial or gender problems in the world? Argue to support your point of view.

Media links:

Omar Diop’s background

Additional Resources:

  1. African Arts, Special Issue on African Photography: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/toc/afar/48/3
  2. Omar Victor Diop: https://www.omarviktor.com/
  3. Feature documentary that follows five internationally acclaimed photographers commissioned by the Annenberg foundation including Omar Victor Diop as they capture the lives of displaced people on five continents: https://www.annenbergphotospace.org/refugee-film
Kate Hennessy

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May 4, 2017

Announcing the 2017-2018 SVA/Robert Lemelson Fellows!

May 4, 2017 | By | No Comments

Congratulations to our inaugural cohort of the SVA/Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellows! 

  • Donagh Coleman (UC Berkeley, joint UCSF program), “Tudam Death and the Tibetan Ontological Body”
  • Saudi Garcia (New York University), “Visualizing Dominican Blackness: Digital Media Infrastructure and Insurgent Black Consciousness in Santo Domingo”
  • Camilo Leon-Quijano (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales), “Photographic Commitment: Exploring Rugby-women’s Empowerment Through Multimedia Approaches”
  • Page McClean (University of Colorado, Boulder), “Conectividades: The Social Life of Chile’s Southern Highway”
  • Steve Moog (University of Arkansas), “Behind the Scene(s): Collaborative Visual Ethnography in Indonesia’s Do-it-yourself Punk Rock Scene”
  • Reese Muntean (Simon Fraser Univesity), “Virtual Reality Documentation of Salak Yom: Crafting 3D & Virtual reality Applications to Communicate Traditional Knowledge & Cultural Values”
More information on the SVA/Robert Lemelson Foundation here: LINK
Aynur Kadir

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April 5, 2017

SVA/Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowship Program 2017-2018

April 5, 2017 | By | No Comments

Fellowship Details and Application Instructions

The SVA/Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowships are designed to provide graduate students working in the field of visual and multimodal anthropology with funding to pursue exploratory research for planning their doctoral dissertation research and/or methods training to prepare for their doctoral dissertation research. Research projects supported by the funding should have the potential of advancing the field of visual anthropology. Normally, fellows receive their awards after their first or second year of graduate training as they begin to develop their dissertation research projects. We expect to award up to six fellowships in 2017 with each fellow up to an amount of $6,000 depending upon need. Of the total amount granted, up to $2,500 may be used for video/film equipment.

Eligibility:    

o   Fellowships are open to all graduate students without regard to citizenship or place of residence.

o   Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate program at the time of application and during the period of the fellowship.

o   Applicants’ proposed research must be in the field of visual anthropology, broadly defined, but they do not need to be students in departments of anthropology.

o   Applicants cannot have completed more than four years of graduate education, including all institutions that they have attended.

o   Applicants must be current members of the Society of Visual Anthropology (SVA), a section of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) as of April 25, 2017.

Details on joining the AAA and the SVA can be found at www.Americananthro.org. (Note: If the applicant is not a current member, we suggest submitting the membership application well in advance to be sure that the membership is current by the deadline.)

The funding cannot be used to collect data for the fellow’s master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation.

Fellows are prohibited from accepting the Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowship in conjunction with any other summer or research funding for the same projector over the same time frame as the proposed research supported by the Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowship.

All fellows are required to attend the 2017 AAA Annual Meeting to be held in Washington, D.C. (November 29-December 3, 2017).

Permissible Uses of Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowship

Funding: Financial support can be requested to support all travel expenses, including airfare, ground transportation, and visa application fees; living expenses and housing; fieldwork expenses such as gifts for participants, translator and field assistant fees; and all other reasonable and justified expenses. Funds may not be used to pay for graduate school tuition. Budgets must include financial support up to a maximum of $600 to attend the 2017 AAA Annual Meeting to be held in Washington, D.C.

Funding cannot be used to support language training in more commonly taught languages, such as Spanish, French, and Arabic. Some funding can be used to support language instruction for languages where formal instruction is limited, but the focus of the project should be on pursuing exploratory research rather than strictly language instruction. Funding can be used for methods training, but the methods in question must be tied directly to the larger research project and it will be this project that is the focus of the selection committee’s review. Proposals for general methods or statistical training, for example, are unlikely to be funded. We expect to fund proposals between $3,000 and $6,000. You may request a larger amount than the stated limit, but it is very unlikely that an award over $6,000 will be made.

Application  components:

(1)  Application form: Download the fellowship application form from the Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowship website,or from here.  complete the form using Adobe Acrobat or Reader, and save it with your last name in the title.

(2)  Project statement: In 750 -1,000 words (excluding references), please describe the specific research activities or training that you will carry out with support from the SVA/Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowship. Explain in detail how you will use your time, including any preliminary data you will collect and analysis you are considering. Please specify the ways in which this preliminary research and/or methods training has the potential to make your dissertation research more successful. Please indicate whether you have ever spent time in the field site in question. If so, please indicate the length of time and experience you have there, and how this bout of research will be different from previous visits. Finally, your proposal should specifically address how your research program has the potential to advance the field of visual/multimodal anthropology. The statement should be single-spaced, and use a 12-point font and one-inch margins on all sides. Any references included should be narrowly focused, and should not exceed 300 words.

(3)  Brief curriculum vitae: In one single-spaced page, provide details on your education with dates of enrollment; any research funding, fellowships, and awards you may have received, including amounts and dates, and any academic publications and presentations you may have completed. Include details on prior employment, volunteer work, and other experience only if it is directly relevant to the proposed research. Other information, such as teaching experience, should not be included.  

(4)  Budget and budget justification: In one single-spaced page, provide a detailed and specific budget with justification for the items and amounts included. Justification should include mention of how costs were estimated. Your budget must include support up to $600 for attendance at the 2017 AAA meetings, and this amount can be listed as a single item in your budget.

(5)  Letter of recommendation: Applicants must obtain a letter written in support of their application from a faculty member familiar with their work and research aspirations. Normally, this will be the chair of the student’s graduate research advisory committee. Please provide the attached information sheet to the individual who is writing the letter. It is the applicant’s responsibility to be sure that the letter is received by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Only one letter of recommendation will be accepted.

Deadline and submission details:

Deadline for application submission: 5 pm EST on Tuesday April 25, 2017

Your application should consist of only two files: (1) a PDF of the completed application form (section #1 above), and (2) a single PDF file that includes sections #2 (project statement and references), #3 (curriculum vitae), and #4 (budget and justification). Please include your last name in the name of both files. To submit your application, please email both files as an attachment to the SVA’s President, Stephanie Takaragawa (takaraga@chapman.edu) by the deadline. Applications received after this time and date will not be reviewed. We expect to contact awardees by the end of April, and hope to contact all applicants by May 1, 2017. Please contact Stephanie Takaragawa with any questions or if there are any changes to your application, such a receipt of other funding. 

2017-2018 SVA/RLF Fellowship Application Form

Anandi Salinas

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March 6, 2017

VAR SUPPLEMENT: Arjun Shankar on Critical Visuality and Image-Making

March 6, 2017 | By | No Comments

Classroom Activities and Discussion Questions

Anthropologists working with photography and youth have a common dilemma: how do we produce images that do not reinforce stereotypic imaginings of those who we work with which we are constantly consuming online and/or on television? How do we combat image regimes that portray those who we work with in uni-dimensional and deficiency-laden ways? This is the central dilemma brought up in the article, Auteurship and Imagemaking, which provides one example for how we might “see” communities differently through their own creative praxis.

The following two-part exercise is meant to provoke students to think critically about the types of images they consume as part of development and humanitarian aid interventions. They should, by the end of this lesson, be able to understand how images facilitate particular ways of seeing communities and the multiple agendas that these images are used for. Moreover, in doing this critical excavation, they should be able to begin thinking about how they can produce alternative images in collaboration with those depicted.

 Part-One

  • Have students pick a development or humanitarian aid organization that works with children whose image practice they want to assess. Have them delineate:
    1. What the organizations primary goals are
    2. Types of intervention strategies
    3. The primary populations that they work with
    4. Funding sources
  • Have students outline some of the assumptions that the organization has. These might include assumptions regarding:
    1. Who needs help and why
    2. Who should be facilitating change and why
    3. The appropriate means by which change can occur
  • Have students choose 3-4 images from the organization’s website. Once they have done this, have them answer the following questions:
    1. Who has taken the photograph? What social groups (racial, gender, national) are they a part of?
    2. Who is the primary audience for the photographs?
    3. What kind of photographic choices has the photographer made? How are the people in the photograph depicted?
    4. What do we learn about the community based on the images produced?
    5. How is the image distributed?
    6. What else is on there on the webpage on which the photograph is placed?
    7. What are the intended goals of these images?
    8. How might images like this influence how the organization intervenes and/or interacts with the community?
  • Given these forms of image circulation, have them identify the most serious representational issues that arise with regards to the community in question? Have them also postulate how those within the community depicted might react to such images.

Part-Two

  • Show students the image from the article Auteurship and Imagemaking. The driving question should be: what do you see?
    1. Ask them to identify where they think it was taken and why?
    2. Who they believe took the photograph and why
    3. For what purpose was the image taken?
    4. Where might the photograph have been exhibited and why?
    5. What do they learn from the images, about the photographer and/or those who are on screen?
  • Reveal to the students that these images were taken by students from a rural community in India. Then ask:
    1. How do these images challenge or complicate the depictions that were excavated in part one?
    2. How might images like these facilitate a different set of interactions between organizations and those who they are working with?

Extension Exercise

  • Have students design their own photo-voice project for youth:
  1. Who should be involved in the image-making process?
  2. What are the goals that the project should consider?
  3. What aesthetic choices might be made that differ from those that they have encountered in dominant visual regimes?
  4. What new questions should they ask? What criteria should they use to select photographs?
  5. How might there image-making practice change how organizations like those who they researched intervene?
Aynur Kadir

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March 4, 2017

The Kenneth W. Payne Prize for outstanding anthropological scholarship by a student on a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered topic

March 4, 2017 | By | No Comments

The Kenneth W. Payne Prize

 

for outstanding anthropological scholarship

by a student on a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans* topic

 

call for submissions

deadline for submission: June 1, 2017

 

The Kenneth W. Payne Student Prize is presented each year by the Association for Queer Anthropology (AQA) to a graduate or undergraduate student in acknowledgment of outstanding anthropological work on 1) a lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans* topic, or 2) a critical interrogation of sexualities and genders more broadly defined. The Prize includes a cash award in the amount of $500. Submissions are encouraged from graduate or undergraduate students in any of the four fields of anthropology. To be eligible for consideration, work should have been completed since June 2016 and while the applicant was still enrolled as a student. Research papers as well as visual media (e.g. documentary film) are eligible for submission for this competition. Papers should be no longer than 40 pages, double-spaced, and typed in 11 or 12 point font; published papers or works accepted for publication will not be accepted for review. Visual media should run no longer than 60 minutes; media projects already under contract for commercial distribution will not be accepted for review.

 

THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS JUNE 1, 2017. Submit an electronic copy of the print submission as a Word (*.doc) or RTF (rich text format or *.rtf) attachment to payne.prize@gmail.com on or before the indicated deadline. Visual media projects should be available for download from an accessible website; send an email to payne.prize@gmail.com identifying the visual media project and indicating its accessibility. In either case, include with your email message a statement showing your intent to enter the 2017 Kenneth W. Payne Prize competition, and a 100-200 word abstract. Include your name, address, department and university, telephone number, and email address in the body of the email; in addition, indicate the stage of your graduate or undergraduate work at the time the submission was developed. You will receive a confirmation email that your submission has been received within a week of its receipt. Please only send duplicate copies or emails if you have not received a response after two weeks.

 

The committee intends to organize a roundtable from outstanding Payne Prize submissions at the 2017 annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association. Submissions will be judged according to the following criteria: use of relevant L/G/B/T/Q and/or feminist anthropological theory and literature, potential for contribution to and advancement of L/G/B/T/Q studies and our understanding of sexualities worldwide, attention to difference (such as gender, class, race, ethnicity, nation), originality, organization and coherence, and timeliness. The award will be presented to the winner at the AQA Business meeting during the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association (Washington, DC) November 29 – December 3, 2017.

Members of the 2017 Payne Prize Committee: Brooke Bocast (University of the Witswatersrand), Michael Connors Jackman (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Tayo Jolaosho (University of South Florida – 2017 Payne Prize Committee chair), Richard J. Martin (Harvard University) and Shaka McGlotten (Purchase College-SUNY).

Kate Hennessy

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March 3, 2017

2017 SVA Film and Media Festival Call for Submissions

March 3, 2017 | By | 2 Comments

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

The Festival jury, comprised of anthropologists and film scholars, selects 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 may bestow a number of awards each year, including the Festival’s highest recognition, the Joan S. Williams Award of Excellence, named for the Festival’s longtime organizer who retired in 2006. An award for Best Student Work is awarded annually and the Jean Rouch Award may be given for collaborative and participatory work.

If you wish to submit a production please visit: SVA on FilmFreeway

For more information, please contact:
SVAFilmFestival@gmail.com

2017 Festival Co-Directors:
Kathryn Ramey (kathryn_ramey@emerson.edu)
Ulla D. Berg (uberg@rci.rutgers.edu)

Anandi Salinas

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February 27, 2017

VAR SUPPLEMENTS: Spring 2016 (VAR 32:1) Special Issue on ‘the Greek Crisis’

February 27, 2017 | By | No Comments

Uncertain Visions: Crisis, Ambiguity, and Visual Culture in Greece

A woman photographing, with her mobile phone, the material landscape that followed a political demonstration against austerity measures in June 2011, near Syntagma Square. Images of debris, graffiti and destruction are often featured in various outlets as convenient metonyms of ‘the crisis’ and they fuel divergent cultural investments ranging from disdain for political instability to awe for protesting aesthetics. Though this picture is undercut by various levels of unknowability (e.g. what will her images do for viewers? What are these pictures for her?) it condenses a certain desire to ‘see’ and visualize ‘the crisis’ and hints at the ambiguity and unpredictable productivity of such photographs. The visualizing desire is central to commercial mechanisms and to many people’s aspirations and despite, its realist claims is often infused with uncertainty about what the crisis looks like. The density, ambiguity, impossibility and productivity of seeing, representing and visualizing the ‘Greek crisis’ are extensively considered by authors of this special issue. Photo by K. Kalantzis

“Introduction—Uncertain Visions: Crisis, Ambiguity, and Visual Culture in Greece,” by Konstantinos Kalantzis

  1. What are the possible roles of the visual in an inquiry into ‘the Greek crisis’? Give some examples of such an inquiry and describe how it may involve a sensory ethnography.
  2. What do we mean by sanguine approaches to the crisis? What kind of critical questions can we ask about anthropologists’ identification with suffering subjects?
  3. Note some problems and limitations that stem from using the term ‘crisis’ to describe contemporary Greek social practice.

4 3

On seeing as practice and metaphor – These pictures were taken during the early stages of what later became known as the ‘Indignant’ protests (compare to other demonstrations taking place during 2011 in Spain and elsewhere). They depict crowds of different social backgrounds, before the consolidation of political geographies that created a distinction between the more patriotic-nationalist and the more leftist assemblages (a distinction complicated anew with Greece’s post-2015 coalition government, comprised of a leftist and a rightist party united by anti-colonial; anti-austerity rhetoric). What interests me particularly about these pictures is that during the demonstrations the crowd kept looking around, following loud noises, to trace possible developments in the protest. In people’s anxious effort to see what was happening, one can grasp both the sensory landscape of Greek demonstrations, but also conjure a metaphor of a practice that most Greeks have been involved in; i.e. trying to sense and describe what it is that is happening with and to the country since 2010; their economies, relationships and spheres of daily life. This effort also concerns ethnographers, as the present phase has generated a significant corpus of work that this special issue engages. Photos by K. Kalantzis

“Chemtrails, Crisis, and Loss in an Interconnected World,” by Alexandra Bakalaki

  1. On the basis of the paper, what seem to be the challenges involved in internet research as opposed to participant observation?
  2. Why does the author explicitly refrain from categorizing the chemtrail narrative as a conspiracy theory?
  3. What are the ways in which middle class educated subjects who reject the chemtrail narrative stereotype those adhering to it? To what extent does this stereotyping draw on longstanding views on the merits of modernization?
  4. How does the chemtrail narrative relate to accounts that attribute the Greek economic crisis to the purposeful action of foreign agents?

 “Proxy Brigands and Tourists: Visualizing the Greek-German Front in the Debt Crisis,” by Konstantinos Kalantzis

  1. What does the author mean by nativism? What does nativism do for people in Greece, today and how is Crete enrolled? Give some examples of Crete’s signification that indicate how it is cast as a nativist force.
  2. What role does the visual play in the constitution of nativism in Greece?
  3. How does the locals’ approach to tourists relate to wider national trends as regards the perception of Germany? Does photography reveal things that differ or confirm wider political dynamics?
  4. How does the study of material culture help us grasp the ambiguous complexity in locals’ relationships with Germans in Sfakia, Crete? Give some examples of discontinuity between verbal and material manifestations.

5

This image depicts the faded graffiti of a now-abandoned restaurant in highland Sfakia. It depicts a man in Cretan attire (the emblematic figure of ‘The Cretan’ as found in dozens of Greek registers) and features two signs addressed to German visitors, assuring them that the owner speaks their language. The maker of the graffiti, a shepherd proud of his ability to painting, acquired the relevant language skills by living in Germany as a guest worker. His trajectory is indicative of the asymmetries and power dynamics in early Greek tourism; i.e. an ex-worker sets up a business to serve people from the (powerful) industrial host country. Such dynamics are grasped by locals’ expressions of suspicion of tourism and its demands; dynamics that are simultaneously subverted if one looks at particular material spheres, where the presence of Germans is marked by affect and admittance into local sociality.

Figure 6

Dynamics of affect and exchange are captured in figure 6 showing B&W images of local men framed at a shop mostly addressed to tourists in the city of Chania. These images were originally taken by a German woman in the 1980s. As part of her ongoing engagement with locals she circulated and gifted these images to the families of the sitters. The nephew of one of these subjects decorated the walls of his shop with these pictures. They then come to serve both as familial objects, but also as emblems of Sfakian descent in an environment that markets Cretan-ness for consumption. The practice further underscores the Sfakian use of pictures sent by visitors as a means of representing and remembering family members. The practice is replete with asymmetries, given that it highlights how rural Greeks historically relied on (powerful) outsiders to photographically visualize themselves. At the same time, the transactions and the actual sites of display encapsulate moments of affect and warm exchange; as in the dozens of stories heard in Sfakia, where Germans and other Europeans visit local families after decades from their original visit and engage (often in tears) around those early pictures. Photos by K.Kalantzis

 “The Metaphysics of the Greek Crisis”: Visual Art and Anthropology at the Crossroads,” by  Eleana Yalouri

  1. Is ‘ambiguity’ a negative or risky tool to apply in anthropological research? Are there cases where it can be fruitfully applied, for example when dealing with unpredictability and uncertainty?
  2. Think of possible reasons why an anthropologist should, or should not, choose to collaborate with visual artists when studying ‘the Greek crisis’. In what sense could (or could not) art tools and methods enhance the ways of doing and writing anthropology?
  3. If for artists activism and intervention in their field of study and creation is often part and parcel of their method, to what extent do you think that anthropologists should adopt such active involvement in their own field.

 “‘Crisis’ as Art: Young Artists Envisage Mutating Greece,” by Elpida Rikou and Io Chaviara

  1. Can you imagine an artwork as a partner in your research? If not, why? If yes, can you give an example? In both cases, what theoretical references would you choose?
  2. “Is contemporary Greek art capable of conveying the know-how of dealing with a crisis?” (p.49) At this particular historic conjuncture, would you like to “Learn from Athens” as the art project Documenta 14 proposes? What could be the arguments for and against such a project?
  3. “The images of the Greeks in crisis (…) how they become consumable commodities both inside and outside of the country” (p.55) What could be those images? Do they become “consumable commodities” and in what sense? Do you think that the artwork “T.E.O” achieved the artist’s goal?

 “The ‘Greek Crisis’ through the Cinematic and Photographic Lens: From ‘Weirdness’ and Decay to Social Protest and Civic Responsibility,” by Erato Basea

 

Tino Sehgal’s exhibition in and around the space of the Roman Agora in 2014 was one example of how art can activate public spaces and contribute to a dialogue about public life and political participation in the present. This is the photograph I took on my way out that day. The photograph captures the African-American immigrant, who was enjoying the early October sunshine. If you are as careful as I was that day, you will notice that on the pavement, an anarchist tag reads, in Greek, “skou[pa] pantou” (‘sweeps everywhere’), alluding to (and criticizing) police round-up operations and mass arrests of illegal immigrants. A public art project, immigrants, police repression, and resistant graffiti are all visible in the textured city and in this photograph. Photo by E. Basea

  1. To coincide with the November issue of Artforum on art and politics, artforum.com released a video in which artists, including Carrie Mae Weems, Matthew Weinstein and Vitaly Komar, share their views on political art. Watch the video and discuss what renders art political, according to the artists interviewed.

Link: www.artforum.com/video/mode=large&id=64336&page_id=0&ref=newsletter

  1. “The essence of politics is not plurality of opinions. It is the prescription of a possibility in rupture with what exists” (Alain Badiou, Metapolitics, 2006: 24). Can art create spheres of multiple political action and participation?
  2. This is a photo taken by the author in 2014, in downtown Athens. Describe the picture and its references to antiquity. Would you think that the graffiti resists official discourses about Greece’s ancient past? To reply to this question, you might want to consider ‘Greece | Gods, Myths, Heroes’ (2014), Andonis Theocharis Kioukas’s 12-minute tourism video funded by the Ministry of Tourism. Would you argue that the video portrays an image of the country to tourists that differs considerably from the urban cityscape that residents face daily? Photo by E. Basea.

You can find the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L0jzJTm9ug

 “Crisis and Visual Critique,” by Christopher Pinney

  1. How does Azoulay’s work contribute to to an exploration of politics and the ‘crisis’?
  2. In what way did the actual practice of photography complicate Bourdieu’s theoretical and sociological model?
  3. Consider some elements of Benjamin’s approach to photography and explain how these might be useful in thinking about political subjectivity and the ‘crisis.’
Jerome

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February 15, 2017

The John Collier Jr. Award for Still Photography

February 15, 2017 | By | No Comments

2017 CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR THE JOHN COLLIER JR AWARD FOR VISUAL EXCELLENCE IN THE USE OF STILL PHOTOGRAPHY

The John Collier Jr. Award for Still Photography is awarded periodically by the Collier award committee members of the Society for Visual Anthropology (SVA) to an author or photographer whose publication, exhibit, website, or other multimedia production exemplifies the use of still photographs (both historical and contemporary) for research and communication of anthropological knowledge.  The submission must have a strong visual research perspective accompanied by high quality photographs, both technically and aesthetically and be within five years of the original publication date.

Rules for Submissions: The project must be nominated by a current member of the American Anthropology Association.   A complete submission packet consists of:

  1. A letter of nomination from the AAA member covering why the work deserves the award, as well as the name, book title or exhibit, website or multimedia production, publisher, author’s mailing address, phone and email.
  1. A letter of consent from the work’s author.
  1. Four copies of the work (if a physical copy exists). These copies should be requested by the author from the publisher to be sent directly to the committee.

Completed submission materials must be received by the deadline listed below.

Submissions cannot be nominated directly from the publisher but the copies of the work may be sent directly from the publisher to the committee. Collections of writings by multiple authors will not be considered.

The same work may be submitted a maximum of two times. The SVA Collier Award board appointed committee then reviews the submitted works to decide on its merits. Winners are announced during the SVA/AAA meetings and presented with a John Collier Jr. or Mary Collier print, courtesy of the Collier Family Collection, a certificate of recognition and award recognition stickers to place on the work.

Submissions for 2017 should be mailed to:

The Collier Committee c/o Andrea Heckman, Chairperson, P. O. Box 714, Taos Ski Valley, NM 87525.

Deadlines for 2017 Submission and Award Notification:

  • April 15:  Deadline for receipt of nomination materials and submission to SVA.
  • July 31: Committee decision will be submitted to SVA President and Secretary.
  • August 10: Award information submitted to AAA program committee.
Kate Hennessy

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December 22, 2016

Announcing Writing with Light – an anthropological photo-essay initiative

December 22, 2016 | By | No Comments

Writing with Light is an initiative to bolster the place of the photo-essay—and, by extension, formal experimentation—within international anthropological scholarship. As a collaboration between two journals published by the American Anthropological Association (AAA), Cultural Anthropology and Visual Anthropology ReviewWriting with Light is led by an editorial/curatorial collective that aims to address urgent and important concerns about the sustained prominence of multimodal scholarship and how that changes what anthropologists can and should see as productive knowledge. This initiative addresses as a central concern the development of appropriate criteria for evaluating these forms of multimodal scholarship. By focusing on the singular form of the photo-essay, we aim to interrogate the synergistic combination of images and words, while also considering the photo-essay’s narrative affordances and its capacity to go beyond storytelling. In sum, we believe that focused attention on the photo-essay might help us to rethink a broader array of anthropological questions regarding issues of mediation, representation, methodology, etc. and and potentially shift how anthropologists conceive of the discipline itself

For submission guidelines, please visit: https://culanth.org/photo_essays

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