Accepted Paper:

Revisiting Disappearing World-Questions of Value and Responsibility  
Mike Poltorak (University of Kent)

Paper short abstract:

Fifty years on from the first episode of the landmark Granada TV Disappearing World series this paper asks what would it mean to critically and responsibly revisit the series and for what purpose.

Paper long abstract:

The landmark forty-nine episode Granada TV Disappearing World series, broadcast from 1970 to 1993, brought ethnic groups from all of the world into UK living rooms and lecture rooms. It transformed public perceptions of tribal peoples and the discipline of anthropology, and inspired many other TV series. Each episode was emergent out of distinct collaborations between filmmakers and anthropologists, and many featured individuals who continue to be remembered. Fifty years on from the first episode on the Panare- ‘A Clearing in the Jungle’- this paper asks what would it mean to critically and responsibly revisit the series: Would we go back to the people, and see what has happened to them, as some filmmakers have done with particular groups? What multi-modal form would we use and for what contemporary purpose, if not entertainment? What themes and questions would guide our revisitation? Where should we focus to explore the lasting impact of the making and circulation of the episodes? How can we do justice to the value of the series for contemporary audiences in relation to contemporary crises, cognizant of social media saturation and the vernacular value of video? What is our responsibility to the constellation of ethnic groups, anthropologists and filmmakers to the gift of privileged access we learnt from? Nostalgia, responsibility and hope will orient my imagined revisiting of several select episodes.

Panel P23a
Disappearing Worlds Reloaded: a proposition to collaborate on Geopoetic films of the “terrestrial”.
  Session 1