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SVA Blog - Society for Visual Anthropology

Kate Hennessy


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 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:

Kate Hennessy


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.


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


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 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


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: (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
50923 Cologne

Contact Email:
Anandi Salinas


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 and

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


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?


  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:
  2. Omar Victor Diop:
  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:
Kate Hennessy


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


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.


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 (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 ( 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


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.


  • 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.


  • 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


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 on or before the indicated deadline. Visual media projects should be available for download from an accessible website; send an email to 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).

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