Abstract Panel

Panel Details

Co-convenor Dr. RUKSHANA ZAMAN IGNOU India
Panel No : P078
Title : Embodying Visual and Digital Anthropology
Short Abstract : How do ethnographers interpret the world they see, feel, hear, touch, smell in the material and digital worlds they encounter- in short, how do they embody their fieldwork practice? How do aspiring anthropological fieldworkers and ethnographic filmmakers navigate contemporary contexts for multi-sited fieldwork in Southeast Asia and beyond? Bridging the gap between theory and practice, we welcome papers that include sensory and digital approaches to data collection, integrating traditional and digital approaches to fieldwork.
Long Abstract :

Visual anthropology has inched its way into the realm of ethnographic data collection since the 1960s. Anthropologists in general, and visual anthropologists in particular, know of the struggle that this sub branch of cultural anthropology endured before becoming firmly established at the centre of the discipline. Now, filmmaking and material cultural theories are often taught as essential elements of fieldwork practice. Since the digital revolution, visual and digital anthropologists have embraced emerging technologies and research now overlaps with other disciplines, such as computer science, in new and exciting ways. The catalyst for this transforming practice was largely due to the relevance of digital audio and visual data collection during the pandemic, and has drawn our attention to multi-sited analogue and digital fieldwork practice, Internet-based research and online social network dynamics. Now Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are influencing the way we experience the world in profound ways. How can academics keep up with this ever-changing landscape and inter-generational behaviour, and how will we teach visual and digital anthropology?

The panel would like to focus on current and proposed future practices for visual and digital anthropology, in short, how might we prepare researchers to embody fieldwork practice? How has Covid 19 precipitated the way we conduct our own lives in relation to the audio-visual and communication pathways, and how does it affect fieldwork practice? We invite papers that touch upon the themes presented below:

  • Art and Performative Practices: dance; ritual; music; theatre; song; exhibition

  • Digital Archives and Museum Collections: online exhibitions; virtual tours; geo mapping; VR and AR experiences

  • Teaching Visual Anthropology: theory, practice and ethics

  • Ethnographic Filmmaking Collaborative and Participatory Approaches: smart phone; camera and audio devices and interview techniques

  • The Anthropology of ML and AI: gaming, Second Life etc.