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Message posted on 11/09/2019

SHORT COURSE Introduction to Visual Anthropology: Documentaries and Ethnographic Films at Goldsmiths, London

In this course we will identify what makes an ethnographic film work. We will ask: how can we portray other people’s way of life on film truthfully? What is the appropriate way to represent them? Is it possible to translate their experience objectively? What does the ethnographic method bring to filmmaking? We will consider how anthropology has used filmmaking since the birth of cinema and how filmmaking practices in anthropology have evolved with advances in technology.

This course will introduce you to what you can gain in understanding and making images with the tools of anthropology. Each week we will watch a classic ethnographic film which helped to shape the discipline of visual anthropology. Each film will be followed by a discussion considering the pros and cons of the film, the filmmaker’s perspective, the way they represent the subject matter and the methods used.

During this 10 week short course we'll explore the ambiguous relationship between anthropology and film, including an ongoing reflection on questions of representation and observation. Some of the key questions we'll be asking include:

• What is an ethnographic film? • What kinds of films do anthropologists produce and why? • What does it mean to depict other people in the films and images we produce? • What are our responsibilities to the people we choose to represent? • How have changes in technology changed the nature of anthropological film making? • Can anyone make an ethnographic film?

We'll introduce you to viewpoints drawn from diverse fields of anthropological investigation, including:

  • Visual anthropology
  • The anthropology of film and media

These approaches will then be drawn into conversation with documentary and other forms of film-making. book here: https://www.gold.ac.uk/short-courses/introduction-visual-anthropology/Fees £295

Dr Claire Loussouarn

Dr Loussouarn is anthropologist, filmmaker and movement practitioner, who also works as a visiting tutor in our Department of Anthropology . She completed her doctoral thesis at Goldsmiths, which explored Chinese gambling in London and was a research fellow for 3 years as part of the GAMSOC project, during which she carried out further research on risk-taking in financial trading in the UK. Dr Loussouarn has made short films in collaboration with artist and historian Professor Khadija Von Zinneburg, including Snail Eating Theatre (which looks at the unfinished opera of Marrakesh), Artists in Residence (which uses drawings made by refugees in detention centres to speak about their experience) and Subcutaneous Ha-has and the Evolution of Polymorphic Animacules (about a plant performance in Kew Gardens)

Her current research interests include slow cinema, the intersections of reality and fiction, the dialogue of moving images and moving bodies, various forms of movement improvisation, the anatomy of moving bodies, oral storytelling and the feral child. She is currently editing a documentary about female New York Boxers, Unstoppable , in collaboration with anthropologist Jesse Shipley.


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