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Breaking the Reflexive Glass to Shards of Knowledge and Truth
Savyasachi Anju Prabir
(University of Münster)
Paper short abstract:
Richard Francis Burton, 19th century British explorer (among many other roles), preferred to style himself El-Hichmakani, meaning "Of No-hall, Nowhere." I would like to borrow from Burton as much as I have from my ancestry, in shaping my identity and sense of belonging.
Paper long abstract:
Images meant the truth; in our school textbooks, of our childhood and definitely of the world beyond; or so we believed. The authority of images as truth was only challenged when I started to make my own (images and meanings). To make my images was to build my world, the autonomy in authorship was liberating but soon comes the realization that this autonomy is a consequence of privilege that cannot be overlooked.
As a result of my enquiry into my position of power as a filmmaker and researcher, the works I create have gradually moved towards a reflexive stance. In honest truth, I can only co-create an authentic sense of identity, as the term 'go native', questions my nativity much more than identifying it.
My grandmother and I ask each other where we are from, individually and collectively, as citizens of the world. She, with her little shard of mirror and I, with mine. The only scope for mistake in this process is to believe that our shard can reflect the whole truth. Just as Kwame Anthony Appiah has claimed, "Cosmopolitanism isn't hard work; repudiating it is."
In order to understand my arrival at this position, it is essential to revisit and question my previous film/research projects. Does this consciousness recognize different and diverse knowledge systems? Further, how does it create space for parallel truths to exist? And, do these truths strengthen our understanding of a collective identity?
New Horizons for Anthropological Authorship: Co-creation and the Production of Knowledge in Times of Global Change