On the Circulation of Ethnographic Knowledge:

Aaron Glass, University of British Columbia
Contemporary intercultural representation is facilitated in large part by a number of objectifying media that were relatively novel just a century ago. Barring direct social contact, we tend to experience other cultural groups via mediating technologies of representation—illustrated texts, photographs and films, museum exhibitions, staged performances, now websites—whose formats often occlude their various producers and blur their contexts of production (be they academic or touristic, educational or commercial). Such media encourage a global purview on cultural diversity, but they also function to limit knowledge reproduction through their unique materialities and the particular social dynamics of their circulation. For instance, like citational practices within academia, dramatic images tend to be propagated through processes of visual reiteration and recursive (mis)representation.…

Continue Reading

Three objects exemplify for me the capacity of things to trigger or make thinkable otherwise elusive ideas.

They are, first, a small figurative sculpture of a mother and child from late 19th or early 20th century Borneo; second, a rubber-stamp mounted on a small block of laminated wood, bearing a barcode and a label stating it to have been handcrafted in Emeryville, California, ©2003 Hero Arts Rubber Stamps, Inc.; and third, a gold-coloured metal invitation, also laminated, to the opening of the Crypt of Civilization at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Bornean figure is part of the Charles Hose collection in the British Museum. It is not a celebrated piece and is not even on display. The mother clasps her baby so that its head appears to replace one of her breasts, not simply to squash it as an avid little sucker might do.…

Continue Reading

Material World – a new webspace

Welcome to Material World, an interactive, online hub for contemporary debates, discussion, thinking and research centred on material and visual culture. It is the brainchild of scholars working in the anthropology departments of University College London and New York University, but aims to create a new international community of academics, students, curators, artists and anyone else with particular interests in material and visual culture.
We will use this digital framework to post exhibition, book and other reviews; discuss key topics; develop online reading groups and symposia; post links to images, objects and collections; highlight cutting edge research and fieldwork, conferences, meetings and other events; develop teaching resources and syllabi; and encourage student participation.

Continue Reading

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes