Visual anthropology in the New World society

Michelangelo Paganopoulos (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
Room 8
Start time:
16 April, 2015 at 9:15
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel invites papers that will investigate the relationship between visual ethnography and visual art in respect to the formation of a new world society.

Long abstract:

The rapid expansion of visual anthropology has evolved through new social networking technologies, which have contributed to the widening of the ethnographic scope, but at the same time, limiting ethnographic film-making to a technique without a substantiated anthropological vision or theoretical aim, raising the question of relevance of contemporary anthropology to the rapid changes in world history. Furthermore, the visual turn inwards, towards subjectivity and self-reflection as the new metaphysics of anthropology, unearthed old methodological issues regarding representation and interpretation, manifested in the widening gap between anthropological theory and ethnographic practice (Asad 1973, Bourdieu 1977, Clifford and Marcus 1986, Grimshaw and Hart 1996, et al). This raises further questions regarding the ethnographic authority in respect to realism and the ethnographer's presence in the field (Foster 1990, Grimshaw 2001, et al). Since visual anthropology has lost its 'objective' claim to reality, which has been traditionally the source of anthropological authority, where does this leave our discipline, particularly in relation to the current changes in world history? Furthermore, how and where are the boundaries of visual anthropology defined in relation to art film-making and the avant-garde, and how can visual anthropologists reclaim their ethnographic authority? This panel invites papers that will contribute to the investigation of the boundaries between visual anthropology and visual arts, on the one hand, by looking at various ways in which the two fields co-emerge in a fruitful manner, and on the other, by re-examining their historical and social relevance to world history.