Tag Archives: Anthropology

CFP: Studies and Dialogues between Anthropology and Art

We are pleased to announce the Call for Papers and Visual Projects for the Conference Studies and Dialogues between Anthropology and Art organized by the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. The conference will take place in Lima on November 19 -21, 2014.

The keynote speakers for our conference will be Dr. George Marcus, Chancellor´s Professor of Anthropology at University of California Irvine, and Dr. Fred Myers, Silver Professor of Anthropology at New York University.

The deadline for submissions is August 05, 2014. The language of the Conference will be Spanish. For more information and conference updates, please visit our website at seminario.pucp.edu.pe/antropologia-arte/

We look forward to submissions!


Giuliana Borea, Conference coordinator

Ethnographic Terminalia, Chicago 2013

Image for PROMO (October 11)
“Exhibition as Residency–Art, Anthropology, Collaboration”
18-22 November 2013
Arts Incubator in Washington Park
301 E. Garfield Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60637
Ethnographic Terminalia is an initiative that brings artists and anthropologists together to engage in emerging research through exhibition. “Exhibition as Residency” is an interactive installation of several collaborative projects between artists and anthropologists where visitors are invited to explore what lies within and beyond disciplinary territories of art and anthropology. The performative dimension of this exhibition makes visible how collaborations can shape new communities and innovative representations of cultural practice.
The range of artistic and anthropological research on exhibit includes: emergent visual research methods for visualizing place, material culture and indigenous history, film, migration studies, contemporary art, natural/realist painting, fashion design, and curatorial methods.

APERTURE Asia Pacific International Ethnographic Documentary Festival


The first APERTURE Festival will be held in Melbourne, 21-23 November 2013. APERTURE Asia Pacific International Ethnographic Documentary Festival aims to promote and support ethnographic documentary film about the Asia Pacific region and film directed or produced by filmmakers originating from this region.

Ethnographic film festivals are almost not existing in this region, with the exception of two events in Taiwan and Vietnam. Ethnographic film festivals elsewhere in the world, along with similar events attached to anthropology conferences, present mainly films made by European and American filmmakers, and most of their work does not focus on the Asia Pacific cultures and societies. Filmmakers originating from the Asia Pacific region are grossly underrepresented, also because the cost of travel and other accessibility issues.

APERTURE aims to provide an accessible event within the region, for the region’s local filmmakers as well as for all filmmakers worldwide whose work is about the Asia Pacific region. The festival will also welcome proposals from local filmmakers in this region who have made ethnographic films about cultures and society located in other parts of the world (not the Asia Pacific) providing their work features an Asian Pacific ethnographic perspective. APERTURE thus will offer a platform that promotes documentaries on Asia Pacific cultures and society, and provide emerging filmmakers from this region the opportunity to be screened internationally and network with other filmmakers and potential producers and distributors.

The first APERTURE Festival will be held in Melbourne, 21-23 November 2013. While this first edition will invite submission for ethnographic film-documentaries, the aim is to open the following editions also to photo-documentary projects to be displayed during the film festival. As one of the key aims of the project is to educate about and promote the culture of the Asia Pacific region, attendance to the festival will be free and open to the public.

Future festivals could be held in major cities in the Asia Pacific region by rotation or continue in Melbourne, depending on sponsorships and partnerships. If you are interested to host a travelling APERTURE event or future editions, please get in touch with us!

The focus on Asia Pacific cultures and filmmakers makes this an innovative and unique festival that has not been previously offered in any other country in the region.

Festival Director
Dr. Erminia Colucci
Centre for International Mental Health
School of Population and Global Health
The University of Melbourne
Phone: +61 03 90353082
Email: ecolucci@unimelb.edu.au


Call for Panels: Anthropology and Photography


The Royal Anthropological Institute will host an international conference on Anthropology and Photography at the British Museum, 29-31 May, 2014.

The aim of the Conference is to stimulate an international discussion on the place, role and future of photography.  Panel proposals are therefore welcome from any branch of anthropology. We welcome contributions from researchers and practitioners working in museums, academia, media, the arts and anyone who is engaged with historical or contemporary production and use of images.

Panels can draw upon (but are not limited to) the following themes:

  • The use of photography across anthropological disciplines
  • The changing place of photography in museums and exhibitions
  • Photography and globalisation
  • Photography, film and fine art
  • Revisiting and re-contextualising archival images
  • Photography and public engagement
  • Ethics, copyright, access and distribution of images
  • Technological innovation and its impact
  • Regional photography practices
  • Visual method and photo theory

The call for panels opens on 1 August 2013 and closes on 31 October 2013

Linguistic and Material Intimacies of Mobile Phones – Report on a Wenner-Gren Funded Workshop

by Joshua A. Bell, Joel Kuipers, Jacqueline Hazen, Amanda Kemble, and Briel Kobak

In June 2013, our collaborative George Washington University/Smithsonian Institution team–Joshua A. Bell (NMNH Anthropology), Joel Kuipers (GWU Anthropology), Briel Kobak, Amanda Kemble, and Jacqueline Hazen–hosted a Wenner-Gren funded workshop, Linguistic and Material Intimacies of Mobile Phones, at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. The workshop grew out of our anthropological project “Fixing Connections: The Art & Science of Repair,” which is funded by support a grant from the Smithsonian’s Consortium for World Cultures and Understanding the American Experience (www.si.edu/consortia). Since May 2012 we have been conducting ethnographic research in cell phone repair shops across the Washington, DC area to investigate the cultural intimacies associated with cell phones as well as their materiality. Repair shops are dynamic sites in which the social and linguistic components of technology – anxieties about damage and loss of information, connection and availability– articulate with the material realities of cell phones– the parts, supply chains, and labor that are required for repair (See Figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1: Cell phone repair technician takes apart an iPhone 4S in the shop’s backroom. (Photo Credit: Joshua A. Bell)

Figure 1: Cell phone repair technician takes apart an iPhone 4S in the shop’s backroom. (Photo Credit: Joshua A. Bell)

Figure 2: Cell phone repair technician replaces iPhone 4 cracked screen on countertop in front of customers. (Photo Credit: Briel Kobak)

Figure 2: Cell phone repair technician replaces iPhone 4 cracked screen on countertop in front of customers. (Photo Credit: Briel Kobak)

To further explore the ways in which the social, linguistic, cultural, and material facets of cell phone use overlap and intersect, we convened a diverse group of 14 international scholars to explore the social and material implications of cell phones, from the mineral extraction necessary for their manufacturing, through their various cultural uses and adaptations, to their breakdown and repair. Ten papers were presented with Anna Tsing (UCSC) and Webb Keane (Michigan) acting as discussants. A number of themes and motifs emerged over the course of the workshop, including not only the profound ambivalence that users feel towards the technology’s affordances and drawbacks, but also the uncertainty we felt as a group of anthropologists attempting to document the use of such a ubiquitous yet highly personal device. Because of this uncertainty, we talked about cell phones through a number of seemingly opposing binaries: connections and disconnections, intimacy and anxiety, rupture and repair.

To organize the contents of the workshop, we categorized the articles into three synthetic, cross-cutting themes: fetishization, inscription, and intimacy. This first dimension allowed us to examine agency, value and meaning-making along the various points of the commodity chain of a mobile phone (Appadurai 1986; Spyer 1998; Tsing 2009). Papers on this theme included explorations of the political economy of coltan in the DRC (Jeffrey Mantz, GMU), attributions of value in processes of material repair (GWU/SI Repair Collective), and anxieties over ownership and privacy in Brazil (Alexander Dent, GWU). The second analytic of inscription interrogated the cultural variation by which mobile phones structure new forms of temporal and spatial practices of users in their respective media worlds (Orr 1996; Latour 1999; Keane 2003). Papers on inscription included examinations of the re-curation of museum artifacts via Instagram (Alexandra Weilenmann & Thomas Hillman, Gothenburg) and the worlding of worlds through video sharing amongst the Yolngu in Australia (Jennifer Deger, ANU). The third thematic, intimacy, centered on the ability for these devices to construct subjective emotional experience along specific cultural dimensions (Ito et al. 2005; Horst & Miller 2006; Katsuno and Yano 2007). Participants in this grouping wrote on varying topics, such as experiences of disruption across 15 cultures, including the blind, deaf, and elderly in the US (Elizabeth Keating, UT Austin), state and familial networks on a Caribbean border (Heather Horst, RMIT University), communicative patterns among Norwegians during times of crisis (Rich Ling, IT University of Copenhagen), the management and presentation of self through social media (Ilana Gershon, IU), and the cell phone’s role in romance and the intimate economy in Mozambique (Julie Archambault, Oxford).

Figure 3: Participants conversing at the workshop held in the National Museum of Natural History. Photo Credit: Rob Leopold.

Figure 3: Participants conversing at the workshop held in the National Museum of Natural History. Photo Credit: Rob Leopold.

Read together as a special collection or edited volume, the articles presented at this workshop will bring together actor-oriented, fine-grained ethnographic data with broader anthropological theory on materiality, technology studies, linguistics, and anthropology of the self. The workshop will also provide the theoretical foundation for a planned exhibit on mobile phones tentatively titled, Unseen Connections: Natural Histories of the Mobile Phone to be held at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC

Read together as a special collection or edited volume, the articles presented at this workshop will bring together actor-oriented, fine-grained ethnographic data with broader anthropological theory on materiality, technology studies, linguistics, and anthropology of the self. The workshop will also provide the theoretical foundation for a planned exhibit on mobile phones tentatively titled, Unseen Connections: Natural Histories of the Mobile Phone to be held at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.


Appadurai, A. (Ed.) (1986). The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Horst, H. A. and D. Miller. (2006). The Cell Phone: An Anthropology of Communication. New York, NY. Berg Publishers.

Ito, M., D. Okabe, M. Matsuda (Eds). (2005). Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life. Cambridge, MA. The MIT Press.

Katsuno, H. and C. Yano. (2007). “Kaomoji and Expressivity in Japanese Chat Rooms.” In B. Danet and S.Herring (Eds.), The Multilingual Internet (278-300). New York: Oxford University Press.

Keane, W. (2003). Semiotics and the social analysis of material things. Language and Communication 23 (3-4), 409-425.

Latour, B. (1999). Pandora’s hope: essays on the reality of science studies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Orr, J. (1996). Talking About Machines. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Spyer, P. (Ed.) (1998). Border Fetishisms: Material Objects in Unstable Places. London: Routledge.

Tsing, A.(2009). Supply Chains and the Human Condition. Rethinking Marxism 21(2), 148-176.

CFP: STS Southern California Winter Retreat

Deadline: 15 December 2012

Dates: Friday February 22, Saturday February 23, and Sunday February 24

Location: Borrego Springs, Anza-Borrego Desert (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anza-Borrego_Desert), exact location TBA

Doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty from across California are invited to the inaugural Southern California Winter STS retreat. This retreat is designed for a select group of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty advance their research projects in the field of STS, broadly defined, and in so doing to advance an emergent set of problematics and topical foci in STS itself. The emphasis will be on intellectual play. It is not intended to be a training workshop, and graduate students will be expected to participate in the same manner as other participants. Collectively, we will explore each others’ topics through a series of focused discussions as well as small-group engagements with the Anza-Borrego environment. It is not expected that participants necessarily be interested in the study of desert ecosystems, etc.; we will use the local context to stimulate new ways of thinking that we can apply to our own research projects.

STS is to be taken here as an umbrella rather than a fence: work in cognate disciplines (informatics, anthropology, design, etc.) that deploys and engages with STS work is considered part of the mix. We will bring together up to 30 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty for this three-day retreat. There will be two foci: (1) identifying and exploring common interests through two “spotlight” sessions; and (2) exploring these themes through teams exploring the local area. Accommodation for all will be covered; travel will be covered in exceptional circumstances for students. A registration fee of $100 is required. Since space is limited, there will be a selection process: please send a CV and a one-page statement of interest to steveslota@gmail.com by December 15, 2012. The statement of interest should briefly address the research in progress that you would like to further through participation in the workshop. Those selected to participate in the workshop will be notified by January 1. They will be expected to circulate a two-page description of a current or prospective project by February 1.

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Ethnographic Terminalia exhibit

November 2012: San Francisco, CA

Ethnographic Terminalia is a curatorial collective that hosts an annual exhibition of international artists and researchers working at the intersection of art and anthropology. In November 2012, the Ethnographic Terminalia Curatorial Collective welcomes visitors to the Audible Observatories exhibition. This year’s show is organized in collaboration with Thor Anderson and is scheduled to coincide with the 111th annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association (AAA).

Ethnographic Terminalia brings anthropologists and artists together in the gallery space to investigate the borders and blurrings of contemporary art practice and alternative modes of cultural inquiry and representation. Ethnographic Terminalia is an exploration of what it means to exhibit anthropology – particularly in some of its less traditional forms – in proximity to and conversation with contemporary art practices.

Now in its fourth year (following Montréal, New Orleans, and Philadelphia), Ethnographic Terminalia represents an international array of creative material, conceptual, and new media engagements where anthropology and art intersect. For Ethnographic Terminalia 2012: Audible Observatories the curators have selected over twenty five artists and cultural researchers including: Steve Feld, John Wynne, Rupert Cox & Angus Carlyle, and Roxanne Varzi.


For full list of events, conference panels, and openings, see the website above or the attached downloadable file:

ET2012_Press Release-oct30

Art & Anthropology – A Parallel Universe Day Seminar, Arnolfini, Bristol


It is increasingly common for contemporary artists to explore anthropological and ethnographic concerns in their practice. At the same time, artists themselves have become a subject for study for contemporary anthropologists. In this symposium, researchers working in and between both fields will come together to explore links, friction and potential in a celebration of cross-disciplinary exchange.

The tracing of connections between anthropological and artistic practice, the extent to which the two disciplines are distinct, and their shared grounding in discourses of alteriety have been significant concerns for theorists and practitioners alike for many years now.  Though given definite shape through Marcus and Myers’ The Traffic in Culture (1995), such discussions have now progressed far beyond beyond the “ethnographic turn” of Foster (1995) or anthropology’s own “crisis of representation”. Now, through the work of anthropologists such as Arnd Schneider, Christopher Wright and others, a rich, shared space of methodological and theoretical practices is – problematically – shared between these disciplines.  Issues of subjectivity, identity, “the other”, even “modernism” itself, inform and are informed by both art and anthropology in complex ways.

Coordinated in response to Arnolfini’s Parallel Universes season, the event will include presentations and facilitated discussion, and is open to all.  It aims to bring together artists, creative practitioners, researchers, anthropologists and everyone in between in order to highlight, inform and illuminate these complex interactions.

Proposals are invited exploring any aspect of cross-over between art and anthropology, from postgraduate students and early-career independent practitioners.
Please send up to 200 words outlining your proposal, up to 3 images, and a CV to mw1311@my.bristol.ac.uk by October 31st 2012.

Performative presentations are very welcome. However, any technical requirements beyond the use of a projector will need discussion.


Neil Smith: 1954-2012

Originally published in the SocialistWorker.org on October 2, 2012

Neil Smith: A Passionate Scholar and Socialist

Bill Roberts, a founding member of the ISO, and Hector Agredano, a doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center, remember the life of a determined activist.

Neil Smith, the renowned scholar, beloved teacher and devoted activist, died on September 29 at the age of 58.

Neil is best known for his academic work. He was a professor of anthropology and geography at City University of New York. In particular, his writings on the patterns of social development in cities–drawing on history, economics, political and social theory, and ecological studies–are among the most prominent left- wing views on the subject.

But Neil will also be remembered as a committed socialist and activist. He came to the U.S. from his native Scotland in early 1977 to complete his graduate studies with David Harvey at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He wasted no time becoming an activist on campus, helping to establish the Graduate Representative Organization.

In 1978, Neil joined the International Socialist Organization (ISO), then only newly formed, and helped to build a campus chapter at John Hopkins of a dozen committed socialists. Neil became a frequent contributor to Socialist Worker, then a monthly
newspaper. One memorable article of his in 1981, titled ”It’s Right to Rebel,” put the London urban riots of that summer in the context of the severe economic recession and the hopelessness it produced.

As Kathy Ogren, a fellow student at the time and now a recognized scholar in her own right, remembered, Neil was “a great popularizer of Marxist ideas…and a good
listener to a person’s evolving political consciousness. He could help one sort out the connections between personal and structural questions and conditions.”

Though Neil left the ISO in 1984, his comrades and students remember the humor and fearlessness he brought to his political organizing. “Neil was one of the most
creative thinkers I’ve ever met,” Ogren said. “He saw connections, applied his prodigious energy to researching an answer, and then found innovative ways to write or speak about what he had learned.”


As a scholar, Neil’s intellect was evident from early in his academic career. In 1979, he wrote an influential article titled “Toward a Theory of Gentrification: A Back to the City Movement by Capital, not People.” More than scholarly research, this was a political intervention in the field of urban geography at a time when questions on urban decay and
ghettoization were riddled with inconsistent theories and contradictory research.

His most important theoretical contribution to the understanding of the geography of capitalism is outlined in Uneven Development: Nature, Capital, and
the Production of Space. Here, Neil laid out a coherent explanation for the unevenness and distortion of economic development, specifically in urban areas, because of investment and disinvestment in the built environment by capital markets.

Inspired by insights from Lenin and Trotsky, Neil’s thesis is based on the contradictions of capitalism outlined by Karl Marx in Capital. However, in applying these ideas, he helped to anchor disparate theories from disciplines that often remain separated in the

Neil would expand on these theories to develop analyses on the commodification of nature under capitalism, politics in the study of geography, and U.S. imperialism. One of his most celebrated books, American Empire: Roosevelt’s Geographer and the Prelude to
Globalization–for which he received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography for 2002–traces American military interventionism through the age of globalization. The book would prove prophetic when, one year later, the U.S. launched its invasion of Iraq.

Upon his arrival at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, Smith’s scholarship and sharp politics attracted a crowd of activists, intellectuals and radicals of all stripes to his courses. From seasoned anti-gentrification activists of Washington, D.C., to peasant organizers from Costa Rica, and the curious from everywhere in between, they all found a seat at the table. His classes were lively with dissension and debate, and it was alright to be political; in fact, it was encouraged.

During the last years of his life, one of Neil’s main concerns was that radicals and revolutionaries were losing hope. He was frustrated that it was easier for radicals to imagine an environmental apocalypse than a triumphant revolutionary movement against capitalism. During class and in meetings, he would raise the concern that one of the victims of the ruling class offensive had been the utopian imagination of the left.

This was one of the most inspiring things about Neil– he never gave up hope. And when the Occupy movement burst on the scene last fall, he welcomed it with open arms. Class discussion would turn into strategy debates–he encouraged students to participate, and
would hold class at the Occupy encampment in Zuccotti Park or cancel them to allow us to participate in major demonstrations.

Neil leaves a lasting legacy of scholarship and dedication to geography and to Marxism. As a socialist, he always placed himself in the revolutionary tradition–he spent his last years trying to raise revolution to the agenda in people’s imagination and political frontiers. He left us too soon and will be sorely missed by friends, colleagues, students and loved ones.

Neil Smith, ¡presente!