Open Access (free)
Beyond the burden of the real

This chapter begins with an overview of Gardner’s career. This was of similar duration to that of Rouch, but very different in that Gardner made films in many different parts of the world, never staying long enough in any one place to learn the local language or get to know his subjects well. It is argued that this was only one of several respects in which Gardner’s praxis was at odds with certain central tenets of anthropology as an academic discipline. Another was his frank admission that he was more interested in what his subjects’ lives signified to him as an observer than in how they themselves might understand them. The chapter continues with a consideration of Gardner’s praxis as a cinematographer,, which while being technically highly skilled, very rarely involved any kind of reflexivity or verbal engagement with the subjects. The remainder of the chapter is dedicated to a discussion of Gardner’s praxis as an editor, drawing extensively on his masterwork, Forest of Bliss, a film about cremation procedures at the Hindu holy city of Varanasi.

in Beyond observation
Open Access (free)
Indigenous media and the Video nas Aldeias project

From the 1970s, cheap lightweight video camcorders underpinned the making of films by indigenous subjects. Often referred to as ‘indigenous media’, a term first coined by Faye Ginsburg in the 1980s, these works are now of a highly variable character, ranging from feature-length fiction films to modest informational videos. This chapter confines itself to a review of a limited number of indigenous media projects in which anthropologists have played an important role, with a special emphasis on those set up in Amazonia. It also considers some general questions raised by these projects, such as whether the use of modern audiovisual technology undermines traditional indigenous identities and whether film-making by outsiders is redundant now that indigenous people can make their own films. The latter part of the chapter is dedicated to an extended account of the Video nas Aldeias project in Brazil, which has been running since 1987.

in Beyond observation

This chapter considers a range of film genres that prior to the Second World War led to the production of works of ethnographic interest, even though their primary motivation was commercial. Beginning with a discussion of the reportage films produced by the Edison and Lumière companies, and by the French newsreel companies Pathé and Gaumont, it then briefly considers the US travelogue genre. The main body of the chapter proposes that three major works produced for commercial purposes but claimed retrospectively as masterworks of ethnographic film history – Grass, In the Land of the Head Hunters and Nanook of the North – should be read as emerging from a combination of the travel film and the exotic melodrama genres.

in Beyond observation

This chapter begins by relating the emergence of ethnographic film on British television in the 1970s to the Reithian broadcasting principles whereby television franchise holders were required not only to entertain their audiences, but also to ‘educate and inform’ them. It then compares the two basic formats of ethnographic film on British television. One of these was the comparative format favoured by the BBC, in which material from several different groups, each based on the research of a different anthropologist, was compared in the course of a single programme, as exemplified by the series, Family of Man (1969–70) and Face Values (1978). This is contrasted with the ‘one-by-four’ format, in which films of one hour about one social group were constructed around one central theme based on the research of one anthropologist, as exemplified by the Granada Television series, Disappearing World, which ran, with various interruptions, between 1970 and 1993.

in Beyond observation
Open Access (free)
Archaeology, networks, and the Smithsonian Institution, 1876–79

Intricate networks of collectors and institutions have been fundamental elements of the infrastructure of archaeology. Informal, fluid networks particularly characterized communities of antiquarian interest in the nineteenth century United States, when limited institutional development coincided with increased public interest in indigenous relics. Competition over American antiquities intensified during the 1870s, a period marked both by increased regional interest in the indigenous past and national demand sparked by the 1876 Centennial Exposition. In this effort the Smithsonian’s two archaeologists, Charles Rau and Otis Tufton Mason, fell back on the time-honored mechanism of a circular, dispatched through their national network. This document, ‘Circular 316: In Regard to American Antiquities,’ generated an enormous response. What one contemporary called an ‘undigested mass of information’ is actually a unique account of a complex pattern. The history of archaeological practice that emerges is one not of a steady drive toward professional accountability and standards, but instead of motivated actors pursuing personal ambitions associated with the exploration of the past in a mode that directly reflects the cultural and social context of the United States in the 1870s.

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology

The dynamic processes of knowledge production in archaeology and elsewhere in the humanities and social sciences are increasingly viewed within the context of negotiation, cooperation and exchange, as the collaborative effort of groups, clusters and communities of scholars. Shifting focus from the individual scholar to the wider social contexts of her work, this volume investigates the importance of informal networks and conversation in the creation of knowledge about the past, and takes a closer look at the dynamic interaction and exchange that takes place between individuals, groups and clusters of scholars in the wider social settings of scientific work. Various aspects of and mechanisms at work behind the interaction and exchange that takes place between the individual scholar and her community, and the creative processes that such encounters trigger, are critically examined in eleven chapters which draw on a wide spectrum of examples from Europe and North America: from early modern antiquarians to archaeological societies and practitioners at work during the formative years of the modern archaeological disciplines and more recent examples from the twentieth century. The individual chapters engage with theoretical approaches to scientific creativity, knowledge production and interaction such as sociology and geographies of science, and actor-network theory (ANT) in their examination of individual–collective interplay. The book caters to readers both from within and outside the archaeological disciplines; primarily intended for researchers, teachers and students in archaeology, anthropology, classics and the history of science, it will also be of interest to the general reader.

Open Access (free)
The first Dutch excavation in Italy, 1952–58

Dutch collectors, antiquarians, academics and (museum) archaeologists have explored the ancient heritage of the Mediterranean for over four centuries. Nevertheless, the institutionalised practice of archaeology in these areas is a relatively young discipline. This chapter deals specifically with the birth of Dutch archaeology in Italy. The first Dutch excavations, under the aegis of the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), started in the 1950s and continued for more than a decade. This chapter examines the disciplinary infrastructure and the social, political and intellectual contexts of the first Dutch dig in Italy. Two issues are central in this research. One is to understand better the changing social, intellectual and political networks that commence and evolve during the process of an archaeological fieldwork project in a foreign country. The second is to place the many narratives produced by these academic networks in their contemporary contexts. This chapter deals with the questions: In which political context did foreign archaeological practice in Italy emerge? Who were the Dutch scholars that started the first excavation project? Which institutional context made the first Dutch excavation in Italy possible? Why dig beneath the Santa Prisca church?

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology
Felix Kanitz and Balkan archaeology

This chapter examines one network, webbed around Austrian autodidact Felix Kanitz (1829–1904) at the beginning of the institutional phase of Serbian archaeology. Throughout the greatest part of its history, archaeology in Serbia was practised within the wider field of, theoretically conservative, Yugoslav archaeology. Hence, Kanitz's iconic status in Serbian archaeology is shown through the fact that even today, more than 150 years after he published his first book on Roman heritage in Serbia, his works are the starting point of almost every archaeological project in the country. His advisers on Serbian topics and those who accompanied him in Serbia were almost all tightly connected to an imperialistic practice. Put differently, Kanitz created a kind of gentlemen's club, consisting of people who shared the same language, but also the same cultural values – Central European cultural values in particular. Both intermediary and intermediated, Kanitz, who was not trained as an archaeologist but was deeply tucked into the fold of Habsburg ‘frontier colonialism’, created an elaborate Europe-wide network that produced and, following that, transmitted knowledge on the Roman archaeology of Serbia.

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology
The case of Oscar Montelius and Italy

This chapter will discuss networks, exchange of ideas and knowledge production related to the emergence of a professional, European archaeology during the period c. 1870–1900. It draws from archival research on correspondence between primarily Oscar Montelius and Italian scholars. What structures, channels of communication and dissemination of knowledge can be traced in the source material? The chapter examines these questions and presents examples of how networks were formed, how communication worked and on what premises scientific questions and artefacts were discussed. What theoretical and methodological perspectives might be useful to examine these issues?

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology
Re-thinking Ludwik Fleck’s concept of the thought-collective according to the case of Serbian archaeology

While the history of archaeology is commonly considered as progressive, a linear development of scientific knowledge which invariably passes through four paradigmatic stages, the history of Serbian archaeology has evolved under numerous stimuli and found itself under the influence of local social conservatism in Yugoslavia throughout most of the twentieth century. There is a general consensus that archaeological concepts, practices, theories and methods originating from a west European context are adopted only in a delayed fashion into peripheral environments (such as Serbia). This would falsely imply that the subsequent development of archaeology in other regions has the same objectives in mind, which need not be the case for all movements of thought. The intersection of the theory of the thought-collective and the history of ideas in archaeology prompts specific areas for research, including questions that indicate where the epistemological limitations of archaeology in different historical contexts could be on the basis of informal aspects of communication among archaeologists. The example of Serbian archaeology is analysed using Fleck’s concepts to better view their strengths and weaknesses.

in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology