Special Topics: Anthropology and Cinema

Screen, Image, Sound: Anthropology and Cinema
Course Number: 
Kroeber 219
Daniel Fisher
W 9 - 12 pm

This graduate seminar places cinema and related filmic media at its center. Our discussions will move between anthropological and ethnographic projects to which filmic media is central, and historical, theoretical, and philosophical works that explore cinema and the cinematic. In this endeavor we will consider ‘cinema’ in its broadest terms, as at once a series of works in filmic and audio media, the broader material apparatus and modes of circulation and consumption of such media, and the modes of seeing, hearing, feeling, and apprehending (and storing, creating, governing, etc.) that cinema and the cinematic make available. The three keywords in the seminar title will provide axes for comparative interrogation of geographically and theoretically disparate works. Some broad questions organizing initial discussions include: 

·       In what ways has film become an object of anthropological interest? What form has the anthropology of filmic media taken? And how have approaches to cinema differed from other media anthropologies?

·      How has cinema and its related material and conceptual apparatuses informed anthropological (and other) figures of, inter alia, creativity, subjectivity, improvisation, 'geontology,' the image, and time?

·      And in what ways has filmic media encouraged a reimagining of anthropology’s approach to knowledge production and ethnographic praxis?

·      How might we characterize a contemporary anthropology of cinematic media and how and why has it taken this shape?

  1. Taussig, Michael. 2009. What Color is the Sacred? Chicago. ISBN-13: 978-0226790060 ISBN-10: 0226790061
  2. Kittler, Friedrich. 1999. Gramaphone FIlm Typewriter. Stanford UP. Cloth ISBN: 9780804732321 Paper ISBN: 9780804732338
  3. Mazzarella, William. 2013. Censorium: Cinema and the Open Edge of Mass Publicity. Duke UP. ISBN 978-0-8223-5388-1
  4. ElHeik, Tarek. 2016. The Incurable-Image: Curating Post-Mexican Film and Media Arts. Edinburgh. ISBN-10: 1474403352 ISBN-13: 978-1474403351
  5. Pandian, Anand. 2015. Reel World: An Anthropology of Creation Duke UP. ISBN - 978-0-8223-5957-9
  6. Meyer, Birgit. 2015. Sensational Movies:  Video, Vision, and Christianity in Ghana. UC Press. ISBN: 9780520287686
  7. Deger, Jennifer. 2004. Shimmering Screens: Making Media in an Aboriginal Community. Minnesota. ISBN: 9780816649228
  8. Povinelli, Elizabeth. 2011. Economies of Abandonment. Duke UP. ISBN-10: 082235084X ISBN-13: 978-0822350842
  9. Baxstrom, Richard and Todd Meyers. 2016. Realizing the Witch: Science, Cinema, and the Mastery of the Invisible. Fordham University Press. ISBN-10: 0823268241 ISBN-13: 978-0823268245
  10. Rouch, Jean and Steven Feld. 2003. Cine-Ethnography. University of Minnesota. ISBN 978-0-8166-4104-8
  11. Chion, Michel. 2016. Sound: An Acoulogical Treatise. Duke UP. ISBN 978-0-8223-6039-1