Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Diary for 15th- 21st March 2007

Here is the diary of interesting anthropology-related events coming up over the next 7 days and things to look out for in the future!


On Thursday at 4pm you can go go to a free film screening at the Royal Anthropological Institute buildings at 50 Fitzroy Street, London W1T 5BT as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science. We are screening Mao Mollona's Steel Lives. Mao is a lecturer in anthropology Goldsmith's College, University of London. He made this film as part of his PhD. The film looks at the working lives of men who earn a living in what remains of the Sheffield Steel Industry.
The film's producer, Margaret Dickinson, will be on hand at the screening to answer any questions. The screening is specially designed for people new to anthropology.

To book a free space email Gem at, 0207 387 044.

On Thursday you can also go and explore the Anthropology Library at the British Museum. Not many people know this, but the British Museum has one of the biggest collections of anthropology books and journals in the world - and any member of the public can wander in and have a look (although you can't take books out of the library!). Thursday is the library's late opening days and it's open from 12pm to 7pm. The library is located at the Montague Entrance of the museum and has some very helpful staff! It's great is you are thinking about studying anthropology at university and want to read some introductory books, but it's also a great place to explore if you want to read a little more about the topics of any of the events listed here. You can always email me at if you've been to an event and want a recommended book title to find out more!


On Friday, it's the last of the Royal Anthropological Institute's ESRC Festival of Social Science free film screenings and we're showing Duka's Dilemma at 4pm, 50 Fitzroy Street, London, W1T 5BT, (reserve a seat at, 0207 387 0455).
Duka's Dilemma by anthropologist and filmmaker Jean Lydall is an intimate and personal family portrayal of the life of Duka, from the Hamar community of Southern Ethiopia. Jean Lydall has been making films with this community since the 1970s and in 2001 she returned with her daughter and grandson to follow the continuing life story of Duka, especially what happens when her husband decides to take a second wife.

The Hamar were featured in the BBC series Tribe and this is a good chance to see the difference between anthropological documentaries and documentaries made for "entertainment."


There are EVEN more film screenings in London on Saturday when the anthropological film screening group
Pocket Visions introduces Conversations in Film - the London International Documentary Film Festival held at the British Museum, London. Check out their dedicated website: for full details.
Lots of the films screened are made by visual anthropologists, it's cheap (£3 a film) and there should be lots of interesting discussion, which will hopefully be accessible to non-anthropologists.


On Sunday I'm heading to the National Portrait Gallery to see their
Between Worlds exhibition (open 10-6pm, free admission). The exhibition explores the stories of non-Europeans who, from the seventeenth century onwards, visited or were brought to London and whose visits caused great excitement, interest and curiosity. In the words of the NPG, "the exhibition examines the complexities and ambiguities of their time in London through the images and objects that were produced in the period."

I'm particularly interested in this exhibition because some of those people bringing non-Europeans over to London were the predecessors of today's anthropologists. Sometimes these people were brought to the Royal Anthropological Institute meeting rooms (then known as the Ethnological Society) and "studied" at meetings. In our archives we have the minutes of these meetings. In Anthropology Today (vol 20, no. 4, p. 24) Sarah Walpole, the Royal Anthropological Institute archivist writes "...exhibitions of native people were very popular at the time [18th century] and attendance at meetings increased enormously when such individuals were presented for examination: in 1851-52 Chines, "Kaffirs," Polynesians and "Esquimaux" were all brought to the London rooms of the society. Their thoughts on the matter are not recorded."

Obviously anthropologists today would never ever do this kind of thing! A good book to read to find out a little more about it (and anthropology's problematic role in it) is Roslyn Poignant's Professional Savages: Captive Lives and Western Spectacle (2004, Yale University Press)


Today I'm off to Liverpool for something completely different - a free public lecture on biological anthropology that links Oscar Wilde and Tooth Development ! I think you'd better read about it yourselves


Back to film screenings again, but this time it's Oxford that has an International Documentary Film Festival (10th-25th March). Their website has full details of screenings, but the one on Tuesday at Milton Keynes Cineworld that I'm particularly excited about. The Cineworld is showing Kim Longinotto's and Jano Williams "Gaea Girls," about the grueling and mental exhausting training regime of several young wanna-be Gaea Girls, a group of Japanese women wrestlers. Kim Longinotto often works with anthropologists when making her documentary films and in fact you can buy/rent many of them from the Royal Anthropological Institute.


Another Kim Longinotto/Jano Williams film as part of Ox Docs
(, Dream Girls is being shown, but this time in Oxford at the Old Fire Station. Dream Girls explores the spectacular world of the Takareazuka Revue, a highly successful musically theatre company in Japan. Each year, thousands of girls apply to enter the male-run Takareazuka Music school. See website for full details.


3rd April 2007
- Seeing Everything in Black and White: the origins of sectarian violence and the problems of small groups" a public lecture by renowned anthropologist Dame Mary Douglas, DBE, run by the Young Foundation and University College London. Booking ahead recommended. See for full details.

9th July 2007 -
next London Anthropology Day for Schools: