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Ekaterina B. Tolmacheva

Abstract

This article deals with the analysis of the first collection of ethnographic photographs brought to the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (MAE) in Saint Petersburg from the Ob’ River by the Russian zoologist Ivan Poliakov in 1876. The article analyzes this collection as the first evidence in the history of visual anthropology of the North in Russia. Based on the historical documents from the Russian archives and Poliakov’s published field notes the article looks at his photographs through their social history both in the field and at the MAE. The article tells the story of this collection, which intertwines the organization of expedition, the technical history of photography, the relationships between Poliakov and indigenous communities of the Ob’ River, the photographic genres he preferred, and the history of the registration and cataloguing of the photographs at the MAE.

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Fieldwork at sunset

Visual representations of anthropology online

Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins and Hannah Gould

endure. The subject, method, and scope of our inquiry In both practice and product, anthropology is “highly visualized” ( Edwards and Morton 2009: 1 ). While the distinct subfield of visual anthropology is currently blossoming, the discipline has long

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Introduction

Visual Anthropology in the Middle East

Esther Hertzog and Yael Katzir

This issue demonstrates the potential and unique contribution of visual anthropology to deepening and expanding anthropological knowledge with historical, artistic, cultural and political perspectives. Describing and analysing historical events, daily social life and the arts, the articles offer original interpretations of human experiences and social processes that are part of the Middle East reality, in the past and present. Some authors suggest striving to establish ethnic, cultural and national identities goes hand in hand with struggles for civilian rights and socio-economic equality. Using illustrations and a feminist analysis, other authors reflect on women’s marginalisation in the arts and in the historiography of this region. The use of visual materials, highlighting similarities among divergent communities, entails an optimistic view about the potential contribution of arts to break through fundamental dividing features.

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Why Draw Flowers?

Botanical Art, Nationalism and Women's Contribution to Israeli Culture

Shahar Marnin-Distelfeld and Edna Gorney

Botanical art and illustration, presented alongside scientific descriptions, were at the heart of Jewish national projects during the British Mandate in Palestine-Israel and following the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Looking back, we recognised three prominent women artists who contributed widely to many such botanical projects: Ruth Koppel, Esther Huber and Bracha Avigad. This study aims to investigate the plant images these three artists have created. We will do so by using the approach of visual anthropology while focusing on two main aspects: the connection between botanical illustration and national identity, and the link between botanical art and gender. This study is the first to demonstrate that botanical art in Israeli culture has been gendered, with women doing most of the work, in agreement with findings from Western culture.

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Representing the Sensory Home

Ethnographic Experience and Anthropological Hypermedia

Sarah Pink

In this article I draw from my research about gender, identity, and the home, to discuss the visual and the other senses in ethnographic experience and anthropological representation. First, I discuss how visual ethnographic research might appreciate the sensory nature of experience. Seeing the home as both the context and subject of field- work, I shall introduce the idea of the ‘sensory home’. This refers to the home as a domain composed of different sensory elements (smell, touch, taste, vision, sound) that is simultaneously understood and created through the sensory experience and manipulation of these elements. I then explore how such visual and sensory research might best be represented as text that is conversant with mainstream anthropology. I shall suggest that while film and writing have both tackled this theme, hypermedia offers new possibilities that might bridge the gap between written and visual anthropology.

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The South Side of Heaven

A Journey along the Iranian Collective Memory in Iran-Iraq War Memorial Sites

Younes Saramifar

I portray mnemonic practices of Iranians who engaged with the past and keep the memories of martyrs of the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988) alive within frames and words. Through pictures taken during the annual commemoration of martyrs in southern Iran, I show how religiosity, politics and generational guilt are entangled in post-war Iran. I move against the grains of memory studies and visual anthropology by maintaining the silences and what is left unsaid instead of rendering war memories, acts of remembering and ways of seeing epistemologically coherent. I argue remembering is a practice locally shaped according to the politics of everyday life and not by imagined presupposition of memory scholars. Therefore, I draw an ontological approach towards memories in Iran by ways of seeing and religious worldview of those implicated in the Iranian memory machine.

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Peter Anton Zoettl

In the north-east of Brazil, the last decades have seen an unfamiliar phenomenon: the rise of 'new' indigenous groups in areas that were long considered as 'acculturated' by both the state and public opinion. In their pursuit to be recognized by the authorities and by fellow non-Indian citizens, these 're-emerging' Indians have continually carried out a peculiar re-construction of their 'image' as Indians, torn between romantic ideas of Indianness and the demand to integrate fully within national society. Drawing on recent fieldwork experience with a group of Pataxó Indians in the state of Bahia, the article discusses how the visual-anthropological method of participatory video can be used as a means of reflecting on the importance of images within identity-formation processes of minority groups. By producing a video about the tourists who visit their Indian village and nature reserve, the Pataxó came to question the stereotypic use of images and the relation between the Other's notion and their own representation of 'Indianness'.

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Reflections on Fieldwork in Yemen

The Genealogy of a Diary in Response to Rabinow's Reflections of Fieldwork in Morocco

Daniel Martin Varisco

In preparation for writing an ethnographic monograph on fieldwork in Yemen, I compare and contrast my field diary, written in 1978–9, with Paul Rabinow’s Reflections on Fieldwork in Morocco (1977). The underlying question is what post-fieldwork reflections reflect meaningfully about the immediacy of ethnographic fieldwork? I criticise the reflexivist trope of privileging ‘writing culture’ over the significance of ‘being there’ in the field. Point by point, I examine the implications of graduate training in anthropology, culture shock, health problems, language skills, the unreflective male voice, visual ethnography and the rhetoric of narrative writing.

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Boundaries and Margins

The Making of the 'Golden Cage'

Eirini Chrysocheri

This article focuses on the Greek community of Alexandria, a socially and territorially bounded Diaspora entity that articulates a sense of connection to place through claims of a historically continuous socio-spatial connection to both Egypt and Greece. Through analyses of visual material collected and produced during fieldwork, I explore the spatial and social boundaries of the community before and after Nasser’s 1952 revolution and highlight discontinuities in the narratives and imaginings of the city articulated by different generations. Studying the creation of new borders, I reveal how restriction to, and isolation within, the ‘golden cage’ of Greek areas is both willingly embraced and a source of frustration. I conclude by outlining how spatial and ideological boundaries overlap and how they are shifted and defended by Greek and non-Greek inhabitants of the city.

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Erminia Colucci, Fawzia Haeri Mazanderani, and Marta Paluch

Applied Visual Anthropology: Reflections from the RAI Film Festival 2017 The Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival, March 29–April 1, 2017 (Watershed, Bristol, United Kingdom). Reviewed by Erminia Colucci The RAI Film Festival is a biennial