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Message posted on 29/07/2018

visual anthropology master at the University of Amsterdam

Dear all, allow me to do some advertising for the (pilot) track in Visual Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam, which I am currently organizing. If you would be interested, or know of people who might be interested, please forward. Deadline for registering is 30/08/2018.

Pilot Visual Anthropology

Start: February 2019 (academic year 2018-19). This is a pilot aimed at the establishment of a specialization in visual anthropology within the regular Msc in Cultural and Social Anthropology. The pilot responds to current efforts in anthropology to enrich the intellectual endeavours of empirically grounded research with the sensorial and emotive affordances of audio-visual footage.

Three principles guide the pilot program:

  1. visual research is empirically grounded Long time immersion in a fieldwork site, which implies the re-socialization of the researcher in other people's lifeworlds, is the hallmark of all anthropological research. This is no different for visual anthropologists. To the contrary, the best work in visual anthropology is grounded in the trust, intimacy and tacit knowledge that comes with 'deep hanging out'. Students who participate in the pilot will therefore conduct ethnographic fieldwork like all other students, and will indeed develop their research plans together with students who have opted for text-based research. We deem this important, as a visual anthropology should at all times be dialoguing with other modes of doing anthropology, and should not be peripheral to the discipline as a whole.

  2. visual anthropology is creative and experimental Although the track stands on the shoulders of a long and rich tradition of visual anthropology, in Amsterdam we take the liberty to depart from the received wisdoms of (ethnographic) film-making. The program encourages students to creatively explore how new assemblages of words, images, sounds and silences might articulate anthropologically relevant knowledge. One might say that we ask students to 'reinvent' the medium so as to make it speak to their particular research projects. The development of a new audio-visual vocabulary, that breaks into existing media formats, and seeks to re-sensitize numbed audiences in our media saturated societies, is one of the underlying agenda's of this program.

  3. Visual anthropology is intellectually challenging The results of experimentation with audio-visual media are always critically assessed -- "theorized" -- so as to come to a better understanding of the potential of camera-based research in anthropology. This is to say that in Amsterdam, filmmaking never ceases to be an intellectual effort, and visual anthropologists will be reading and writing all during the course, familiarizing themselves with debates relevant to their particular research and setting, as well as with current discussions in the domain of visual anthropology. The film that will be produced during the master will always have to be accompanied by a written reflection on the many choices that were made during 'the making of' the film.

The program

This will be the third and probably last pilot version of the program. This means that we are still in a phase of trying out, learning from previous years. Student's input to make the program better is highly appreciated.

The pilot is a one year program with a tri-partite structure.

During the first part, students will work towards the writing of a research plan. They will choose a topic and research setting; familiarize themselves with debates about their topic and research setting; and explore the writings and visual documents that were produced by visual anthropologists, to orient themselves as to what their camera-based research will be like. They will be coached in designing a research plan that is adapted to a camera-based methodology. During this phase, there will be a high intensity screening program of anthropological film, and a two day workshop in videography.

The second part of the program is the actual fieldwork. The student will stay for three months in a setting and/or community of his/her choosing, and will produce an archive of images, sounds and texts.

During the third part, students will report their findings in an edited film, accompanied by a written reflection. They can also produce some other hybrid text-image form, if this suits their particular research better.

The purpose of the pilot is twofold.

  1. To support students who have the ambition to further develop their skills in and knowledge of visual anthropology.
  2. To study together with students what is needed to embed visual forms of research into the Msc Cultural and Social Anthropology programme in a successful way.

Requirements A student who wishes to participate in the pilot starting in February 2019, needs to be accepted into via the normal procedure for admittance to the Msc Cultural and Social Anthropology first. View here (http://gsss.uva.nl///cult ural-and-social-anthropology.html) for the full requirements as well as the application procedure.

The additional steps a student needs to take to gain entrance to the pilot Visual Anthropology is described here.

To participate in this pilot, these are extra requirements that students needs to meet. (1.) You have already been trained in filming and editing. (2.) You have sufficient knowledge of the current debates in/on visual anthropology (at least 2 courses in the field of Visual Anthropology during the bachelors programme at the UvA or at another university. Students who have an alternative training (for example in visual arts), or feel they have acquired the relevant knowledge in other ways are also welcome to apply, but need to argue what their self-assessment is based on. (3.) You are in possession of camera and audio equipment (camcorder, dslr, viddeorecorder) to work with during the fieldwork.

It is important to realize that this is a high intensity track, which requires full-time involvement. It does not allow for many other activities on the side. Students who wish to participate in the pilot should send (1) a motivation letter, (2) an overview of coursework done relevant to visual anthropology, and (3) a link to some of their video-work to Mattijs van de Port (m.p.j.vandeport@uva.nl).

prof. dr. M (Mattijs).P.J. Van de Port Dept. of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam Dept. of Anthropology, VU University Amsterdam Address: Nieuwe Achtergracht 166 ,1018 WV Amsterdam,The Netherlands Office: REC C5.17 postal address: Postbus 15508, 1001 NA Amsterdam website: www.mattijsvandeport.eu

to watch my essay film The Possibility of Spirits, go to The Journal of Anthropological Film: http://boap.uib.no/index.php/jaf


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