By Ina Keuper On 7 December the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology organized its second Ethnographic Film Day, which featured four rather different ethnographic documentaries. Former staff member Ina Keuper was there and shares some thoughts on Standplaats Wereld about these particular films and the role of this visual medium in anthropology.
The Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam presents the Amsterdam Ethnographic Film Day during which we will screen ethnographic films and discuss the various theories and methods of visual anthropology. We aim to provide a platform for anthropologists and documentary makers engaging in visual anthropology to show their films and communicate their experiences with, and thoughts on, ethnographic film-making. For more information, visit our Facebook page or website.
“Religion is good for development,” the minister reportedly said at Bishop’s Gardens in Nairobi, at a meeting with Kenya’s Anglican archbishop. He also said that “he was happy with the localisation of Anglican Church in Kenya after independence, so that all its bishops are locals.”
Well. Where to begin?
At the end of February, armed Libyan rebels assembled in front of the work site and commandeered two trucks. The Chinese workers assembled into units armed with crowbars and bricks; they barricaded the entrance with more trucks and threw stones over the wall. The attackers retreated, but the offices at another, unguarded work site were looted. The article refers to these Libyans as thugs and provides no political context, but the engineer is quoted as saying that Chinese workers have encountered hostility and have even been thrown stones at before. He attributes this to causing a rise in the price of consumer goods such as cigarettes: the price of Rothmans has doubled since Chinese visitors have been buying them up. The article quotes a Chinese researcher, Liu Zhirong, as saying that the Chinese media’s portrayal of African friendliness towards Chinese is skewed. The reality, it suggests, is more mixed, just as Chinese see Africa in a mixed light (they like that cars let pedestrians cross the road).
The shift in overseas Chinese media toward a single discourse of China is a trend I have also noticed, but I am not sure if “censorship” is the right explanation for what is happening.
The same question arose in me on 30 March as I listened to Rebiya Kadeer, the “leader of the Uyghur people” according to the president of the Turkish Academic Student Association (TASA), which organised her appearance at the VU. He had asked me, as a “China scholar,” to speak at this event, which he called a “symposium”, on the situation of the Uyghur people in China.
How are China’s experience of Western colonialism and today’s Chinese projects in Southeast Asia and Africa related to each other? What are the similarities between the 19th century foreign control over customs and security in treaty ports on Chinese territory and contemporary concessions on for instance palm oil plantations in Congo-Kinshasa? And why do we need both anthropology and history to understand these connections?
Het universiteitsrestaurant, drie verdiepingen met uitstekend Han (Chinees) en Hui (halal)voedsel, heeft overal televisies hangen die altijd aanstaan. Meestal hard, vooral wanneer er NBA basketballwedstrijden zijn. Basketball is hier sport nummer één. Werkelijk overal zijn veldjes! Studenten en medewerkers kunnen drie maal per dag een maaltijd gebruiken voor minder dan een euro. De universiteitsleiders hebben een aparte eetruimte, waar ze zich in geval van “meetings” door hun chauffeur over de campus naar toe laten rijden. Hun bakken blokkeren de ingang, de chauffeurs drentelen ernaast of poetsen de auto. Zo weten wij, docenten, studenten en medewerkers, dat er op dat moment “leiders” in het restaurant zijn.