Native & Visual
June 24, 2011 § Leave a comment
Last night we read a piece by John Jackson, An Ethnographic Filmflam. The discussion of his research in Harlem brought up pertinent questions regarding the place of native and visual ethnography within the discipline of anthropology. Importantly, the ambiguity of Jackson’s native status led our class to examining the multiple ways in which subjectivity produce ethnographers as individuals with knowledge and perspectives that are always limited and subjective.
Because film, video, and other forms of image production are a significant part of our everyday lives, I want to give the class a chance to think about how native and visual anthropology may raise important epistemological questions. How might the many ways we define ourselves provide us with a lens and perhaps accompanying blinders? To what degree can we understand the limitations of our positionalities?
The ethnographic film, The Last Kamikaze: Testimonials from WWII Suicide Pilots, provides one such opportunity.