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Kate Hennessy


August 31, 2015

VAR SUPPLEMENTS: William Lempert on Native Science Fiction Film

August 31, 2015 | By | No Comments

VAR SUPPLEMENTS: Classroom Activities and Discussion Questions

The following set of activities is meant to be a teacher-led pedagogical tool for provoking undergraduates to engage their perceptions of indigenous futures. It is hoped that this will help to disrupt the ways in which Native peoples have become representationally embedded within Western media and imaginations as artifacts of the past.

  1. Close your eyes for 60 seconds and in as vivid detail as possible, imagine that extraterrestrials land on Earth today. Write down a few key images.
    • Where do they land and who do they meet?
    • Is there conflict? If so, describe it.
  1. This time, close your eyes for 60 seconds and vividly imagine what the future, broadly defined, will look like in 200 years. Write down a few key images.
    • What utopian and dystopian elements did this include?
    • What role, if any, was there for indigenous people?
  1. List a few of your favorite science fiction films.
    • In what ways do the plots of these films correlate with what you imagined in the first two activities?
    • How influential do you think these films have been on your own ideas about the future?
  1. Watch as many of the clips below as you have time for (totals approximately 35 minutes).
    • What was your reaction to these clips in light of this article?
    • Did you agree with the author’s interpretations? Why or why not?
  1. In light of the article and these viewings, choose one of your listed favorite sci-fi films from activity 3 and briefly describe how it might be reimagined to highlight indigenous perspectives.
  1. To what extent does the article convince you that the representations of indigenous peoples in science fiction films have the potential to make practical differences in the lives of indigenous peoples?

Film Links

Available Film Links

 Lisa Jackson’s The Visit (4 mins)

Vistas – The Visit by Lisa Jackson, National Film Board of Canada

Jeff Barnaby’s File under Miscellaneous (7 mins)

Nanobah Becker’s The 6th World (15 mins)



Related Readings

Dillon, Grace. 2012. Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Nama, Adilifu. 2008. Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Rieder, John. 2008. Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press.

Collins, Samuel. 2008. All Tomorrow’s Cultures: Anthropological Engagements with the Future. New York: Berghahn Books.

Supplemental Resources

 Imagining Indigenous Futurisms – Facebook Page

This facebook page is an excellent resource to critical scholarship and commentary on indigenous futurisms, with regular engagement with Native science fiction films.


IndigiTube is an Aboriginal Australian example of an video-sharing website that aligns with indigenous futurism in that it is a new media delivery system that appeals to indigenous youth whose primary media engagements are through phones and tablets, as well as its wide variety of topics that transcend binary tropes around tradition and “contemporary modern” life.

Bunky Echo-Hawk’s Website


Kate Hennessy


June 15, 2015

Visual Anthropology Review 31(1) Spring 2015: “Leviathan and the Entangled Lives of Species”

June 15, 2015 | By | No Comments

“Leviathan and the Entangled Lives of Species,” a special issue of Visual Anthropology Review, is out now. Read critiques and commentary by prominent anthropologists and visual scholars—including Christopher Pinney, Catherine Russell, and Eduardo Kohn—about Leviathan, the exciting and challenging piece of ethnographic cinema that is pushing visual representation into new terrain. Also, check out photo essays and experimental audio-visual materials by anthropologists like Amanda Concha-Holmes and Rodrigo F. Rentería-Valencia, that explore the utility of visual ethnography for investigating the entanglement of human lives with birds, fish, monkeys, and other species. This special issue interrogates the role of visual anthropology in re-thinking our understandings of human/non-human relations. It is available on AnthroSource and through Wiley-Blackwell.


Kate Hennessy


January 8, 2012

SENSATE: Call for Submissions and Applications

January 8, 2012 | By |

a journal for experiments in critical media practice

Sensate is a peer-reviewed, graduate-student-run journal for experiments in critical media practice. It aims to create, present, and critique innovative projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences  and to build on the groundswell of pioneering activities in the digital humanities, scholarly publishing, and innovative media practice to provide a forum for scholarly and artistic experiments not conducive to the printed page.
Sensate is currently accepting:

1. Submissions for publication (Due: February 8, 2012)
2. Applications (Due: February 1, 2012)

Read More



December 29, 2011

Visual Anthropology Review, Vol.27 No.2

December 29, 2011 | By |

Visual Anthropology Review Cover, Vol.27.2

Visual Anthropology Review Cover, Vol.27.2

Table of Contents


Tattoo Removal: Three Snapshots
by Susan A. Phillips

Round Trip: Filming a Return Home
by Angela Torresan

Ravens and Film: Stories of Continuity and Mediation
by Eugenia Kisin

A Child’s Right to Participation: Photovoice as Methodology for Documenting the Experiences of Children Living in Kenyan Orphanages
by Ginger A. Johnson

“I’ll Show You My Wounds”: Engaging Suffering through Film
by Alberto Guevara and Elysée Nouvet



Many Mexicos, Vistas de la frontera. Arizona State Museum. November 19, 2010–November 17, 2012.
Michael M. Brescia (lead curator).
reviewed by: Lucero Radonic

Eating Alaska. Directed by Ellen Frankenstein, 2008, 57 minutes, color. Distributed by New Day Films, P.O. Box 1084, Harriman, NY 10926,
reviewed by: Madeline Chera

Umiaq Skin Boat. Directed by Jobie Weetaluktuk, 2008, 31 minutes, B&W and color. Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources, 101 Morse Street, Watertown, MA 02472,
reviewed by: Nelson Graburn



Hong Kong: Migrant Lives, Landscapes, and Journeys. Caroline Knowles and Douglas Harper. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2009.
reviewed by: Sharon R. Roseman


Global Indigenous Media: Culture, Poetics, and Politics. Edited by Pamela Wilson and Michelle Stewart. ••: Duke University Press, 2008.
reviewed by: Pavel Shlossberg

Making the Scene: A History of Stage Design and Technology in Europe and the United States. Oscar G. Brockett, Margaret Mitchell, and Linda Hardberger. San Antonio: Tobin Theatre Arts Fund, U of Texas P, 2010.
reviewed by: Irene Middleton

Viewpoints: Visual Anthropologist at Work. Edited by Mary Strong and Laena Wilder. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2009.
reviewed by: Jason E. Miller

Kate Hennessy


December 21, 2011

CALL FOR PAPERS Media anthropology today: Seeing, hearing, understanding?

December 21, 2011 | By |

(Tsantsa 18.2013)

Guest Editors of the Dossier: Heinz Nigg (Universität Bern) und Kathrin Oester (PH Bern)

Media anthropology examines how people relate to media, how media produce and reproduce reality and how they are embedded within economic and political contexts. How does technological change shape and transform media landscapes? What is so specific about media communication and its aesthetic expression? These questions show that media anthropology cannot be reduced to the tradition of ethnographic film or visual anthropology alone. Visual anthropology has become one among other fields of interest in media anthropology. New topics arise, like the study of communication with and through social media or their use as interactive tools in research and teaching. Last but not least, audiovisual media are now indispensable for communicating anthropological work to a wider public, particularly in settings of transnational dialogue. The number of universities and colleges offering postgraduate programmes in media anthropology or visual studies is growing.  It has also become an accepted practice for students to submit academic work in the form of film, photographic documents and exhibition.

Both visual and media anthropology, are exposed to similar epistemological questions: Are the messages transmitted by audiovisual documents different to those transmitted by written texts? Or are written texts, spoken words and visual representations just different versions of the same content? The growing popularity of audiovisual media in societies across the world suggests that images and sounds address our senses in a more direct way than written texts. The picture of a person wounded in a war can evoke strong feelings of pity, horror or disgust. Or the painting of a solitary landscape may elicit personal memories or feelings of nostalgia. However, if a written text is metaphorically charged, it can also speak immediately to our senses with great emotional and poetic impact. So the relation between text, image and sound is a complex one. As much as we complement visual perceptions with specific notions and ideas, in order to know and classify an object, we also complement verbal messages and notions with visual associations in the process of knowledge production. Read More

Kate Hennessy


April 12, 2011

Iranian Studies, Special Issue: “Beyond the Iranian Frame: From Visual Representation to Socio-political Drama”

April 12, 2011 | By |

Iranian Studies, Journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies, Routledge
Editor: Homa Katouzian
Volume Number: 44, 3, May 2011

Special Issue:
“Beyond the Iranian Frame: From Visual Representation to Socio-political Drama”
Guest Editor:
Dr Pedram Khosronejad, Department of Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews

Visual anthropology and ethnographical film studies are gaining an increasingly critical place in the study of contemporary Iran, and of its diverse people, traditions and ways of life. At a time when much research in Iran still proves to be a close to impossible task, visual materials are often the only resources available to those seeking to understand Iranian current affairs and sociality. This collection brings together one of the first interdisciplinary sets of research conducted by a new generation of visual anthropologists, visual researchers and film specialists, studying Iran through documentary films and visual resources. Part of its originality stems from the freshness of some of the subject matter presented. The contributors of this collection dialogue not just with more familiar, albeit complex topics, such as pastoral nomadism, the Iran-Iraq war, and Iranians in the diaspora, but are also interested in exploring new and emerging phenomena in Iran such as transgenderism, globalization, and the multiple consequences of the 2009 presidential crisis. This is a timely and relevant set of essays that aims to contribute towards a more complete appreciation of a society currently undergoing significant and impacting changes. Read More

Kate Hennessy


January 22, 2011

Special Issue of South Asian Popular Culture – Call for Papers

January 22, 2011 | By |

A Special Issue of South Asian Popular Culture will be published in July 2013 on: Terror and Media
Guest Editors: Ritu G. Khanduri and Ronie Parciack

The spectacular 26/11/2008 attacks on Mumbai brought South Asia to the forefront of (western) discourse on terrorism. International and internal media coverage consociated the Mumbai calamity with the spectacular 9/11 attacks by terming the Mumbai tragedy “India’s 9/11.” Several assessments denied The South-Asian context and subordinated it to Western history and conceptualizations. Public resentment of such analysis was articulated by Amitav Ghosh and Arundhati Roy among others, who called for decolonizing the media coverage, in other words to contextualizing the issue of terrorism within specific South Asian frameworks.

This special issue aims at exploring pivotal theoretical and socio-political concepts related to representations of terror in contemporary South Asian visual cultures. Our aim is to lay the groundwork for a critical reexamination of terror and media in the South Asian context, and contribute to three interconnected areas of analytical import: 1. the theoretical debate on terrorism within South Asian conceptualizations and contexts; 2. a reconsideration of identity formations, cultural constructs and nationalism; and 3. the mass mediation of terror. Read More



September 16, 2010

New book: Between Art and Anthropology

September 16, 2010 | By |

Between Art and Anthropology
Contemporary Ethnographic Practice
Arnd Schneider, Christopher Wright

Between Art and Anthropology provides new and challenging arguments for considering contemporary art and anthropology in terms of fieldwork practice. Artists and anthropologists share a set of common practices that raise similar ethical issues, which the authors explore in depth for the first time.

The book presents a strong argument for encouraging artists and anthropologists to learn directly from each other’s practices ‘in the field’. It goes beyond the so-called ‘ethnographic turn’ of much contemporary art and the ‘crisis of representation’ in anthropology, in productively exploring the implications of the new anthropology of the senses, and ethical issues, for future art-anthropology collaborations.

The contributors to this exciting volume consider the work of artists such as Joseph Beuys, Suzanne Lacy, Marcus Coates, Cameron Jamie, and Mohini Chandra. With cutting-edge essays from a range of key thinkers such as acclaimed art critic Lucy R. Lippard, and distinguished anthropologists George E. Marcus and Steve Feld, Between Art and Anthropology will be essential reading for students, artists and scholars across a number of fields.

Berg Publishers’ webpage

Kate Hennessy


July 6, 2010

Call for Submissions: Popular Anthropology Magazine

July 6, 2010 | By |

Popular Anthropology Magazine seeks submissions from Visual Anthropologists for publication in future issues. Each quarter, Popular Anthropology Magazine features the photography of a visual anthropologist on the cover of the magazine. In addition, a two-page spread on the inside of the magazine is devoted to both the photography and the biography of the visual anthropologist.

Popular Anthropology Magazine is a free online magazine with over 1,400 subscribers on six different continents. Tentative June 2011, we will also be going in print in the continental United States.

Submissions may be sent electronically to:
Dawn C. Stricklin

Dawn C. Stricklin, MA
Department of Anthropology
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
1000 Faner Dr., Rm. 3525- MC 4502
Carbondale, IL 62901

Kate Hennessy


February 24, 2010

Call for Proposals: Routledge Innovative Ethnographies book series

February 24, 2010 | By |

No longer unsecure about their aesthetic sensibilities, contemporary ethnographers have expanded upon the established tradition of impressionistic and confessional fieldwork to produce works that not only stimulate the intellect, but that also delight the senses. From visual to reflexive ethnography, from narrative to arts-based inquiry, from hypertext to multimodal scholarship, and from autoethnography to performance ethnography, fieldwork has undergone a revolution in data collection practice and strategies of representation and dissemination. Innovative ethnography is a catalytic field of experimentation and reflection, innovation and revelation, transformation and call to action.

The new Routledge Innovative Ethnographies book series publishes fieldwork that appeals to new and traditional audiences of scholarly research through the use of new media and new genres. Combining the book and multimedia material hosted on the series website, this series challenges the boundaries between ethnography and documentary journalism, between the scholarly essay and the novel, between academia and drama. From the use of narrative and drama to the use of reflexivity and pathos, from the contextualization of ethnographic documentation in felt textures of place to the employment of artistic conventions for the sake of good writing, this series entertains, enlightens, and educates.

Series editor: Phillip Vannini, Royal Roads University, Canada


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