Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Diary for Thursday 3rd April to 9th April 2008

THURSDAY 3RD APRIL - The Legacy of War

On Thursday I'm back down at the London International Documentary Festival that I mentioned on last week's blog for the screening of 'A Story of People in War & Peace', made by an Armenian director who revisits the site of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict which he filmed in detail twelve years earlier. The documentary follows his meetings with other soldiers from the battles, and examines the effect the fighting has had on their subsequent lives. It is followed by a discussion about the film with a number of experts on the region, including Ger Duijzings – Reader in the Anthropology of Eastern Europe, at the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies. The film begins at 18.30 in the Renoir Cinema and tickets cost £10.

FRIDAY 4TH APRIL - Learning of Lalibela

More films on offer starting today at the British Museum, which for the next month will be hosting a season of Ethiopian films. A number of these are made by or with anthropologists - look out for names such as David Turton, author of Film as Ethnography, Leslie Woodhead and John Bulmer. Today's films there are two for the price of one - focus on Lalibela, a holy site in the north of the country, beginning at 18.30. The season is linked to the ongoing display in Room 3 of the Museum, Church and Emperor: An Ethiopian Crucifixion - which celebrates the first Easter of the new Ethiopian Millennium. Tickets for the films are priced at £3 (£2 for students) and I'll be flagging some of the other films in coming weeks.

SATURDAY 5TH APRIL - Doctors in the field

On Saturday I'm going to investigate the growing 'subfield' that is medical anthropology. Researchers with an interest in the social and cultural impact of medicine and treatments often work in specialist advisory positions, helping policy makers decide how local knowledge should link up with government-level advice and provisions. There's plenty of material on the subject, including this useful online film about a project in Namibia run by an anthropologist. You can also browse a list of medical anthropology books here, and look into specifically tailored degree courses on the subject here.

SUNDAY 6TH APRIL - Visualising the margins

Today is the last chance to see an exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery in Central London of the finalists for the prestigious Deutsche Borse prize. Short listed and on display in the gallery this year are four photographers including Esko Mannikko, from Finland. His work focused on capturing the lives of 'those at the periphery', which is something anthropologists also often seek to understand. There are also short films on show at the gallery about each of the artist's work. The Exhibition is open between 12.00 and 18.00 on Sundays, and admission is FREE.

MONDAY 7TH APRIL - Singing the Marseillaise

You may remember the suburban race riots that have occurred in France over the last few years, and the fairly unsympathetic reactions of the government. Today I'm going to listen to the latest episode of Thinking Allowed, which asked why such problems did not really affect Marseille, the country's second largest - and most ethnically diverse - city. It featured anthropologist Anne Lovell, who is conducting research on the topic, and thinks the existence of many grassroots organisations and Marseille's cosmopolitan integration is responsible for the lack of trouble and tensions. Interestingly, the programme is not - as it is normally - a studio discussion, but features presenter Laurie Taylor on a mini-ethnography of Marseille talking to its residents and learning about their communities.

TUESDAY 8TH APRIL - What's on the interweb?

'The power of the web' is a phrase often chucked around along with many other cliches such as 'youtube generation', so today I want to do a bit of digging and find out what the internet could mean for anthropologists. In the news recently has been a 'Digital Ethnography' project set up at the University of Kansas in America which explores how the ways in which we create, store and distribute information in today's society. The idea behind it is to provide a greater understanding of the power and 'culture' of video technology. For more information on internet anthropology, a good place to look is the work of UCL academic Daniel Miller, who has written widely on new media, for example in The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach.

WEDNESDAY 9TH APRIL - Teatime with Tajikstan

I'm off to Oxford on Wednesday, to the Pitt-Rivers Museum, for a lecture entitled 'Tajikstan: From main artery of the silk trade to now forgotten land' by the academic and journalist Shahin Bekhradnia. As you might have guessed by the title, Tajikstan is a place about which comparatively little is known in the west, so this should be an interesting event. It's one of a series of public lectures held at the ethnographic museum from time to time, and also provides a useful excuse to have a look around the collections once more while I'm there. The lecture begins at 18.15, with refreshments from 17.45, and visitors are asked to donate £2 towards running costs.

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