Viscult 2010 Panel Discussion: Where Is Visual Anthropology?

Chair: Jari Kupiainen
Discussants: Peter Crawford, Faye Ginzburg, Steef Meyknecht, Anjali Monteiro, Colette Piault and Jay Ruby.

A certain core theory and practice of visual anthropology has existed throughout the history of modern anthropology, but the distinctive focus, approach, and also the relative authority of visual anthropologists addressing visual aspects of particular cultures in their work, continue to be challenged in different fronts. To exemplify, such challenges arise from the broad historical category of ethnographic film, which in the public mind encompasses also films by visual anthropologists. Or the more recent emergence of indigenous media activism and agency across the globe, boosted by digital technologies and the Internet, have not only challenged older practices but also brought forth fresh opportunities for collaboration between visual anthropologists and the groups studied. Yet, new questions emerge: what would be the places and roles of visual anthropologists in these media production processes and what are their theoretical implications? Where and how do visual anthropologists fit in?