How can ethnographic filmmaking, a practice forged in the height of anthropology's colonial conceit, be retooled for a decolonial feminism? This roundtable will discuss how feminist decolonial approaches to sensory image-making and storytelling make it possible to see, feel, and know, otherwise.
How can ethnographic filmmaking, a practice forged in the height of anthropology's colonial conceit, be rethought and retooled for a decolonial feminism? By extension, how do feminist approaches to filmmaking transform representations of the human experience? Observational filmmaking has long been an accomplice in demarcating ethnographic subjects as the "exotic other." If a decolonial feminism is, as Françoise Vergès (2019) contends, "a struggle that demands equality between knowledges and contests the order of knowledge imposed by the west," what role can feminist ethnographic filmmaking play in contesting and reappropriating such dominant gazes? What alternative decolonial futures become possible when activating a feminist lens? In this roundtable, we will discuss how feminist decolonial approaches to sensory image-making and narrative storytelling make it possible to see, feel, and know, otherwise. We will explore how ethnographic film form, feminist phenomenology and epistemology, and diverse filmmaking methodologies make it possible to imagine other political and social futures. Building on the trail blazing work of feminist scholar-filmmakers such as Zora Neale Hurston and Trinh Minh-Ha, we will discuss feminist futures for ethnographic filmmaking through approaches that prioritize a feminist ethics of care (D'Onofrio), as well as techniques of feminist sensory ethnography that foreground embodied knowledge (Guzman and Hong). We will then turn to consider how these practices may advance ethnography and filmmaking in terms of form and genre (Chio), as well as how we approach the kinds of ethnographic labor needed to produce and reproduce knowledge through filmmaking (Douglas & DeAngelo).