Made to Be Seen: Perspectives on the History of Visual Anthropology
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Made to be Seen brings together leading scholars of visual anthropology to examine the historical development of this multifaceted and growing field. Expanding the definition of visual anthropology beyond more limited notions, the contributors to Made to be Seen reflect on the role of the visual in all areas of life. Different essays critically examine a range of topics: art, dress and body adornment, photography, the built environment, digital forms of visual anthropology, indigenous media, the body as a cultural phenomenon, the relationship between experimental and ethnographic film, and more.
The first attempt to present a comprehensive overview of the many aspects of an anthropological approach to the study of visual and pictorial culture, Made to be Seen will be the standard reference on the subject for years to come. Students and scholars in anthropology, sociology, visual studies, and cultural studies will greatly benefit from this pioneering look at the way the visual is inextricably threaded through most, if not all, areas of human activity.
cultures hold radically different metaphors for, and hierarchies of, the senses (as the works of Constance Classen and David Howes convincingly demonstrate). It also means that the conditions for the construction of meaningful visual knowledge are local, situated, and contextual—even in the highly technified, standardized, and functional Western world. Some examples from the ethnography of science, in the next section, will substantiate this. Second, we should consider that visual skill is often
Much recent work on dress within a material culture tradition is said to focus on the efficacy of “materiality as a surface 67 sandra dudley that constitutes social relations and states of being” (Hansen 2004, 373; see also Johnson and Foster 2007). Work such as that in Küchler and Miller (2005) does, as Hansen summarizes, look at material qualities of clothing and how they impact upon people’s use of clothes. This is a perspective in which dress, the body, and social performance together
Asia, especially Indonesia, as well as to South America (Macdonald 1987; Waterson 1986, 2009; Carsten and HughJones 1995). The concept has also provided archaeologists with new angles for interpreting their data. Joyce and Gillespie (2000) is a good example of cross-disciplinary fertilization and collaboration between archaeologists, ethnohistorians, and anthropologists, especially in geographical regions such as Polynesia and Central America where there are potential continuities between the
context, by which we mean multiple things. First, many films labeled “ethnographic” are nothing of the sort, except in a very loose sense of somehow being concerned with the human condition or indeed “any sort of image-making that can be seen to be about culture,” as Ramey puts it. There are plenty of good, professionally made films from which anthropologists can learn a good deal (and INTRODUCTION use in their teaching), but those that actually communicate anthropological concepts are far
most prone to cross-border fertilization and the most invigorated by it. Schneider notes that recent writing on art and anthropology has come to view art “as a participating subject, not a passive object” and claims that through productive collaboration between art practice, art history and anthropology new directions will emerge. Far12 INTRODUCTION nell too, characterizes the “second somatic revolution” (in anthropological work on the body) as treating the body not as an object of study but