Call for Films/Visual Projects/Papers: Visual Anthropology and Materiality

The Florida Visual Anthropologists (FLAVA) group of the University of Florida’s Department of Anthropology ( is coordinating with the English and Fine Arts Departments to host the 4th Annual Digital Assembly Conference at The University of Florida, March 5-7th, 2009. The conference, an event originating from the Digital Assembly in the English Department (, is hosted by graduate students and is calling for cross-disciplinary research and original works from various fields including Cultural and Visual Anthropology, English, Studio Art, Art History, Media Studies and Journalism.
The theme of the conference is materiality, particularly discursive practices and considerations of media conventions and implications of materiality in criticism and analysis of media projects from ethnographic films/photography to documentaries, from novels to newsprint, from experimental works to performance art. The visual arts have long contemplated the place materiality holds in the academy, questioning the meaning of material structures and pushing the bounds of materiality beyond the tangible, visible, or physical. More recently, the fields of visual and cultural anthropology have expanded this discussion to an issue of expression and meaning across cultures, as well as an issue of representation within the discipline. Concepts to explore could cover a wide range such as, but not limited to, the following:
. Critiquing media and the visual image in the academy considering its increased recognition as crucial to meaning making
. Popular trends in media experimentation
. The role of form and technology in anthropological and media projects
. The representation of the unrepresentable. How can the “invisible” be made visible? How do different cultures negotiate this? How do different fields negotiate this?
. How different fields use the visual image and how the written text is used in conjunction with the image. Is textual support still necessary to be considered serious work?
. The role of media analysis in various fields (literary, artistic, and anthropological) and its relation to form.
. The implication of intangible concepts like time, memory, spirituality, etc. in the visual form vs. the written text. How do different cultures represent these concepts? How is it translated in different fields of study?
. How history is represented through time and materiality
. The future of the study of materiality in the various subfields of anthropology as well as other fields outside anthropology
There will be a night of screenings to start off the conference, so students are highly encouraged to submit films. However, projects may be in any other form including photographic essays, papers, etc. The student/artist will be responsible for transporting work. Complex work will require the student/artist be present to set up the piece. Please submit statement (max. 200 words) along with university affiliation, department, and degree program by the extended deadline January 5, 2009.
Send submissions to Jennifer Fiers,


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