- Visual anthropology
Visual anthropology is a subfield of
cultural anthropologythat developed out of the study and production of ethnographic photography, film and since the mid-1990s, new media. While the term is sometimes used interchangeably with "ethnographic film", visual anthropology also encompasses the anthropological study of representation, including areas such as performance, museums, art, and the production and reception of mass media.
Even before the emergence of anthropology as an academic discipline in the 1880s,
ethnologistswere using photography as a tool of research. [Jay Ruby. " [http://astro.temple.edu/~ruby/ruby/cultanthro.html Visual Anthropology] ." In "Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology", David Levinson and Melvin Ember, editors. New York: Henry Holt and Company, vol. 4:1345-1351, 1996 [http://astro.temple.edu/~ruby/ruby/cultanthro.html] .] Anthropologists and non-anthropologists conducted much of this work in the spirit of salvage ethnographyor attempts to record for posterity the ways-of-life of societies assumed doomed to extinction (see, for instance, the Native American [http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award98/ienhtml/curthome.html photography] of Edward Curtis) [ Harald E.L. Prins, "Visual Anthropology." Pp.506-525, In T.Biolsi. ed. "A Companion to the Anthropology of American Indians." Oxford: Blackwell Publishing] .]
The history of anthropological filmmaking is intertwined with that of non-fiction and documentary filmmaking. Some of the first motion pictures of the ethnographic other were made with Lumière equipment ("Promenades des Éléphants à Phnom Penh", 1901). [Erik Barnouw. "Documentary: A history of the Non-Fiction Film". New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.]
Robert Flaherty, probably best known for his films chronicling the lives of Arctic peoples (" Nanook of the North", 1922), became a filmmaker in 1913 when his supervisor suggested that he take a camera and equipment with him on an expedition north. Flaherty focused on “traditional” Eskimoways of life, omitting to that end any signs of modernity among his film subjects (even to the point of refusing to use a rifle to help kill a walrus his informants had harpooned as he filmed them, according to Barnouw; this scene made it into "Nanook" where it served as evidence of their "pristine" culture). This pattern would persist in many ethnographic films to follow (see as an example Robert Gardner's " Dead Birds").
By the 1940s, anthropologists such as
Hortense Powdermaker[ Hortense Powdermaker. "Hollywood, the Dream Factory: An Anthropologist Studies the Movie Makers." Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1950.] , Gregory Batesonand Margaret Mead("Trance and Dance in Bali", 1952) were bringing anthropological perspectives to bear on mass mediaand visual representation. Karl G. Heidernotes in his revised edition of "Ethnographic Film" (2006) that after Bateson and Mead, the history of visual anthropology is defined by "the seminal works of four men who were active for most of the second half of the twentieth century: Jean Rouch, John Marshall, Robert Gardner, and Tim Asch. By focusing on these four, we can see the shape of ethnographic film" (15).
Visual anthropology first found purchase in an academic setting in 1958 with the creation of the Film Study Center at Harvard's
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. [Jay Ruby. " [http://astro.temple.edu/~ruby/ruby/iwf.html The Professionalization of Visual Anthropology in the United States - The 1960s and 1970s] ." To be published in the selected proceedings of "Origins of Visual Anthropology: Putting the Past Together Conference", June, 20 - 25 in Göttingen, Germany, 2001.]
At present, the [http://www.societyforvisualanthropology.org/ Society for Visual Anthropology] (SVA) represents the subfield in the United States as a section of the
American Anthropological Association.
Ethnographic films are shown each year at the
Margaret Mead Film Festival.
Ethnographic and anthropological films
A few well known anthropologically-minded films and filmmakers include:
Alfred C. Haddon
**"Torres Strait Expedition", 1898
Robert J. Flaherty
Nanook of the North", 1922
Man of Aran", 1934
**"Les maîtres fous" ("The Mad Masters"), 1954
**"Chronique d'un été" ("Chronicle of a Summer"), 1961
On the Bowery", 1957
Come Back, Africa", 1957
**"A Kalahari Family", 1951-2000
**"The Hunters", 1958
**" Dead Birds", 1963
The Nuer", 1970
Rivers of Sand", 1975
Forest of Bliss", 1986
The Feast", 1969
Magical Death", 1974
The Ax Fight", 1975
A Balinese Trance Seance", 1979
*Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson
**"First Contact", 1983
**"Joe Leahy's Neighbors", 1988
**"Black Harvest", 1991
Cannibal Tours", 1988
**"The Good Woman of Bangkok", 1991
**"Landmines—A Love Story", 2004
* [http://www.der.org/films/filmmakers/anne-zeller.html Anne Zeller]
**"Five Species" (1997)
**"Images From the Field: Baboons" (1997)
**"Lemurs of Madagascar" (1997)
**"Primate-Human Interaction" (1997)
**"Primate Patterns II" (1997)
**"Sifakas of Madagascar" (1997)
**"What Do Primatologists Do?" (1997)
**"Chimpanzees Today" (2001)
Hominid Evolution 1: The Early Stages" (2001)
Hominid Evolution 2: The Genus Homo" (2001)
**"New World Monkeys" (2003)
* [http://www.der.org/films/filmmakers/john-bishop.html John Bishop]
**"YoYo Man" (1978)
**"New England Fiddles" (1983)
**"Last Window" (1987)
**"Himalayan Herders" (1997)
**"Hosay Trinidad" (1999)
**" [http://media-generation.com/Films/OWB/OWB.htm Oh What A Blow That Phantom Gave Me] " (2003, with Harald E.L. Prins)
* [http://www.der.org/films/filmmakers/sarah-elder.html Sarah Elder] (films co-directed by Leonard Kamerling)
**"At the Time of Whaling" (1974)
**"On the Spring Ice" (1975)
**"From the First People" (1977)
**"The Drums of Winter" (1988)
**"In Iirgus Time" (1988)
**"Joe Sun" (1988)
**"Reindeer Thief" (1988)
* [http://www.der.org/films/filmmakers/jayasinhji-jhala.html Jayasinhji Jhala]
**"Forgotten Headhunters and Apatani Sacrifice" (1978)
**"Tragada Bhavai: A Rural Theater Troupe of Gujarat" (1981)
**"Journey with Ganapati" (1982)
**"Bharvad Predicament" (1987)
**"Morning With Asch" (1995)
**"Whose Paintings?" (1995)
**"Conversation with a Collector: Dialogue with a Docent" (1997)
**"Letter to My Nieces" (2000)
**"Close Encounters of No Kind" (2002)
**"A Zenana: Scenes and Recollections" (2005)
**"ShaktiMa no Veh" (2006)
* [http://www.der.org/films/filmmakers/chris-horner.html Chris Horner]
* [http://www.der.org/films/filmmakers/randy-olson.html Randy Olson]
Flock of Dodos" (2006)
* [http://www.folkstreams.net/filmmaker,102 Harald E.L. Prins]
**"Our Lives in Our Hands" (1985)
**" [http://media-generation.com/Films/OWB/OWB.htm Oh, What a Blow that Phantom Gave Me!] " (2003, with John Bishop)
Visual anthropology (and ethnographic films made by anthropologists) have also influenced films in popular culture such as:
The Gods Must Be CrazyI and II
Visual anthropology programs
Australian National University: The anthropology department's [http://rspas.anu.edu.au/anthropology/efu/ ethnographic film unit]
San Francisco State University: [http://bss.sfsu.edu/anthro/programs/default.htm Anthropology Department] and [http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~biella/ Peter Biella]
Temple University: Temple has had a program in [http://www.temple.edu/anthro/viscom.htm visual anthropology ] in some form since the late 1960s. At present, it offers a graduate course of studies leading to a doctorate in anthropology and an undergraduate track in the anthropology of visual communication.
University of British Columbia: The Ethnographic Film Unit at UBC in the Department of Anthropology [http://anthfilm.anth.ubc.ca The Ethnographic Film Unit at UBC]
University of Kent: The Department of Anthropology offers a [http://www.kent.ac.uk/anthropology/prospective_students/courses/pgvisanth.html/ Masters in Visual Anthropology] that explores traditional and experimental means of using visual images to produce/represent anthropological knowledge.
* University of London, Goldsmith's College: The [http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/departments/anthropology/ anthropology department] offers an [http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/departments/anthropology/visual-anthropology/ MA] and [http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/departments/anthropology/visual-anthropology/research.php/ MPhil and PhD] in Visual Anthropology
University of Manchester: [http://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/visualanthropology/ The Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology]
New York University: The Center for Media and Culture
University of Southern California: Up until 2001, USC offered a masters program (M.A.V.A.) in visual anthropology through the " USC Center for Visual Anthropology" or CVA. Currently, doctoral students affiliated with the CVA may receive a [http://www.usc.edu/dept/elab/anth/programs.html#Anchor_resource3 certificate in visual anthropology] .
University of Tromsø: The University of Tromsø offers a program in [http://uit.no/vcs/ Visual Culture Studies]
Harvard University: [http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~mediaant The Media Anthropology Lab]
Anthropology of media
Edmund Snow Carpenter
* Barbash, Ilisa and Lucien Taylor. "Cross-cultural Filmmaking: A Handbook for Making Documentary and Ethnographic Films and Videos." Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.
* Engelbrecht, Beate (ed.). "Memories of the Origins of Ethnographic Film." Frankfurt am Main et al.: Peter Lang Verlag, 2007.
*Grimshaw, Anna. "The Ethnographer's Eye: Ways of Seeing in Modern Anthropology." Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
*Heider, Karl G. "Ethnographic Film (Revised Edition)." Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006.
*Ruby, Jay. "Picturing Culture: Essays on Film and Anthropology." Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
*MacDougall, David. "Transcultural Cinema." Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998.
Prins, Harald E.L.. "Visual Anthropology." Pp.506-525. In "A Companion to the Anthropology of American Indians." Ed. T. Biolsi. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.
Prins, Harald E.L., and Ruby, Jay eds. "The Origins of Visual Anthropology." "Visual Anthropology Review". Vol. 17 (2), 2001-2002.
* [http://www.societyforvisualanthropology.org/ SVA Society for Visual Anthropology]
* [http://www.visualanthropology.net/ VisualAnthropology.net]
* [http://etext.virginia.edu/VAR/ Visual Anthropology Review]
* [http://www.iwf.de/easa/easa.html European Association of Social Anthropologists Visual Anthropology Network]
* [http://www.therai.org.uk/film/film.html Royal Anthropological Institute, Ethnographic Film]
* [http://www.visualanthropology.com.cn www.visualanthropology.com.cn (VACC)]
* [http://www.nmnh.si.edu/naa/ National Anthropological Archives and Human Studies Film Archives] - collect and preserve historical and contemporary anthropological materials that document the world's cultures and the history of anthropology.
* [http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/anthro/faculty/duranti/audvis/ Audio-Visual Resources] (from the website of Prof. Alessandro Duranti, anthropology department, UCLA)
* [http://www.alanmacfarlane.com/ancestors/ Films of anthropological and other "ancestors"]
* [http://aris.ss.uci.edu/rgarfias/kiosk/ A kiosk of films and sounds in Ethnomusicology - Robert Garfias]
* [http://www.der.org Documentary Educational Resources] (Visual Anthropology Films & Filmmakers)
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