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You Look at Us Like Insects' Cinema’s Uncomfortable encounter with the Ethnographic Gaze

When: Thursday, 21 October 2021 - Thursday, 21 October 2021
Where: Online Event
Start time:17:00


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Hosted by the Reframing Africa and The Department of Anthropology as part of their second-semester webinar series: The Challenges and Surprises of the Archive.

 In 1965 Senegalese film director Ousmane Sembène’s historic encounter with ethnographic filmmaker Jean Rouch questioned the legitimacy of the cinematic ethnographic gaze in Africa. Though Sembène’s moral questioning remains valid, it is today necessary to recast cinema’s relationship to the ethnographic project by placing the self/body at the centre of its operations, not as object (insects) which has historically been the dominant mode of representation. But as an active subject engaged in deconstructing this uncomfortable relationship through a project of new epistemic inscriptions and modes of interpretation capable of interrogating the psychic spaces historically occupied by ethnographic filmmakers. This procedure requires sustained interpretive engagements with the archives because it is the site in which the body was framed and reframed by the ethnographic gaze. This presentation by Reece Auguiste (filmmaker/writer/co-founder Black Audio Film Collective, Associate Professor, Critical Media Practices, University of Colorado) proposes to explore how scholars of ethnography and moving image artists might utilize and reposition ethnographic cinema in the service of teaching and media-making predicated upon producing radically new conceptions of the self and its techniques of becoming in relation to the broader regime of decoloniality.

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