As Summer ends, we at CEE are looking forward to a new year of multimodal ethnographic endeavors united around the theme of "medium/archive". In keeping with the spirit of this theme, our CEE Faculty Fellows are creators and scholars who experimentally engage with the medium of archives (and archival mediums) in their diverse practices as organizers, artists, educators, and more. We are delighted to connect these three scholars to the CEE Community and UPenn, and look forward to a productive year of creating, reimagining, and challenging archives/mediums.
Photo (left) by Domenico Singha Pedroli; Photo (right, background) by Ernst Karel
FALL 2019 VISITING FELLOW
We would like to introduce you to Ernst Karel, our first fellow of 2019-2020. Ernst works with sound, including electroacoustic music, experimental nonfiction sound works for multichannel installation and performance, and postproduction sound for nonfiction vilm [film/video], with an emphasis on observational cinema. From 2006 until 2017, Ernst managed the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University, doing postproduction sound for vilms including The Iron Ministry, Manakamana, and Leviathan, and where as Visiting Lecturer on Anthropology, he developed and taught a practice-based course in 'sonic ethnography'. His recent solo projects are edited/composed using unprocessed location recordings; in performance he sometimes combines these with analog electronics to create pieces which move between the abstract and the documentary.
COMING SOON! SPRING 2020 VISITING FELLOWS
Research Center for Material Culture Amsterdam, NL
Artist & Director
Art Department Philadelphia, PA
During the spring 2020 semester, we welcome two fellows from two different walks in life. Prof. dr. Wayne Modest comes to us as the head of the Research Center of Material Culture with the WereldCulturen Museums in the Netherlands. He is also professor of Material Culture and Critical Heritage Studies (by special appointment) in the faculty of humanities at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (VU). Modest was previously head of the curatorial department at the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam; Keeper of Anthropology at the Horniman Museum in London; and Director of the Museums of History and Ethnography in Kingston, Jamaica, and he has been at the forefront of efforts in Europe to decolonize ethnographic museums.
Our second spring fellow is Fishtown-based Emily Carris, a visual artist who also runs the Art Department, a non-profit collective of multidisciplinary artists who use visual arts, the written word, music, and curated objects to illuminate the culture and reclaim the history of underrepresented peoples. Carris’s own work in photography and textiles explores the personal and cultural legacy of slavery and the #000000 female body.
by Ernst Karel
This is an intensive, graduate-level, practice-based course in which students will record, edit, and produce anthropologically informed audio works that record and interpret culture and lived experience.
It was the law at the time:
Museums, Colonialism, & the Question of Property
by Wayne Modest
Bringing together readings from legal and political philosophy, material culture and critical heritage studies, this course explores some of the key debates and texts surrounding questions of law, philosophy, colonialism and questions around reparations or restitution of cultural objects.
Modalities of #000000 Freedom & Escape:
by Emily Carris & Grace Sanders
The course circulates around ships and boats. The course combines methods from environmental humanities, visual arts and history to consider multi modal practices of #000000 freedom and escape.
Meet with us for lunch and discussion on September 19th, the first of our "Third Thursday" meetups. These informal meetups will occur monthly and we will use them to review works in progress, discuss readings, and embark on other creative ventures. Third Thursdays will be held in our new institutional space, Room 438 of the Penn Museum. This meeting space and administrative headquarters is now open for experimentation, play, and ethnographic happenings! We hope this redesigned space becomes a site for students, faculty and friends to gather and collaborate, check out equipment, or use CEE's multimedia editing laboratory.
MULTIMODAL FIELDWORK SUPPORTED BY CEE
Video Still from Center for Experimental Ethnography
St. Thomas, Jamaica
This summer, three graduate students accompanied professor Deborah A. Thomas to Jamaica to participate in the second annual Tambufest, in the parish of St. Thomas. Tambufest, organized by Junior “Gabu” Wedderburn (one of Thomas’s collaborators on “Tivoli Stories” and Bad Friday), is a celebration of one of Jamaica’s most vibrant and dynamic traditions – Kumina. Kumina was developed by members of the self-described Bongo Nation in eastern Jamaica, the area that has led the resistance to colonialism, that birthed the Morant Bay Rebellion and inspired the founding father of the movement of Rastafari, Leonard Howell...
“Broadcasting Tambufest is an opportunity to amplify kumina’s affective, spiritual, and political dimensions, and to think about how creative practices can move through time and space beyond their immediate public.”---Jake Nussbaum, Graduate Student in Anthropology
Researcher: Charlotte Williams Graduate Student in Anthropology
Known as the “mine of death,” the Santa Bárbara Mercury Mining Complex claimed thousands of lives in Peru during the Spanish Colonial regime. In 2017, Peru nominated the site for UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List. The contentious history of the mine, however, including its various political reuses, have led to diverging ways that the current community wishes to value its legacy. For many, the larger heritage of Santa Bárbara has been missed entirely in national discourse...
Researcher: Patrick Ammerman Graduate Student in Social Work
The "Caught Between" project examines the experience of Venezuelan refugees trying to maintain their basic human rights in an unfamiliar country. This past summer, the Organization of American States projected that 7.5 million Venezuelans will have left their country by the year 2020, surpassing even the number that have fled Syria. Some Venezuelans leave with hopes of settling in distant Latin American countries such as Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. But for many, neighboring Colombia is as far as they go...
Youth as Civic “Actors” for Policy and Practice in Liberia
Researcher: Jasmine Blanks,
PhD Candidate in Anthropology
“Through this study, I hope to lift the potential of dramatic performance as a key indicator of youth civic engagement with implications for policy and practice."
This study centers young people’s collective efforts to shape policies and practices that impact the wellness of their communities through the performing arts by engaging with a youth theatre company in Liberia that I founded in 2010 alongside of several Liberian advocacy organizations that utilize drama as a primary method to disseminate awareness messaging and collect data for policy initiatives. The content of these performances is rooted in social, economic and political factors that impact their quality of life and future aspirations.
How are young people leveraging cultural production to advocate for alternatives to policies and practices impacting their wellbeing as emerging citizens? In what ways do the performing arts create possibilities for collective work towards a shared project, and how are artists’ projects made possible or constrained by the development agendas of donor organizations? How might the perspectives of youth be given greater authority through the use of performance ethnography as civic practice?
New Graduate Certificate in Experimental Ethnography!
Get your certificate in Experimental Ethnography at UPENN! This summer CEE submitted a proposal for a Graduate Certificate in Experimental Ethnography to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and it was approved. This certificate is aimed at students who want to merge creative and interdisciplinary practice through multimodal methods with their scholarly production. Its purpose is to prepare students to use multi-modal methods in independent research and in professional and creative practice. Students are required to take four courses and participate in three CAMRA workshops, as well as conduct a multimodal project under the guidance of a CEE Advisor (from the Affiliated Faculty below).
Though the certificate is administered by the School of Arts and Sciences, it is open to Penn students who are admitted and already enrolled in a terminal degree graduate program. Recognizing that students in different schools have different needs in relation to both qualitative and multi-modal research, one of the core courses we are currently developing is "Experimental Ethnography for the Professions." Regina Austin (Law), Fran Barg (Med) and Nadia Dowshen (Med) are spearheading the development of this course, which will be run as a proseminar.
Certificate Course Listings
Hostile Terrain 94 is a participatory political art project sponsored and organized by the Undocumented Migration Project based at UCLA. The project memorializes and bears witness to the thousands of migrants who have died as a result of Prevention Through Deterrence, the U.S. immigration policy between Mexico and the United States. The pop-up installation at Penn Museum—to be on display September 25th for one day only—will be created by hundreds of people throughout Penn and Philadelphia. Volunteers will meet at various locations to handwrite on toe tags the identifying details of the nearly 3200 people whose bodies have been recovered along the Southern Arizona border since 2000. The time commitment is 30 minutes.
A project cosponsored by the Department of Anthropology, Center for Experimental Ethnography, Cinema and Media Studies Program, Latin American and Latino Studies Program, Penn Provost, Price Lab for Digital Humanities, and SACHS Program for Arts Innovation, University of Pennsylvania