A CONTINUING CONVERSATION ABOUT MOVE AND THE PENN MUSEUM
The recent revelations concerning the Penn Museum and human remains have raised a number of questions about the histories of anthropology and ethnographic museums, and about the practices of collecting, exhibiting, and researching:
Our guests Rachel Watkins (American University), Aja Lans (Syracuse University), and Delande Justinvil (American University) will help us think through these questions, and more…
PRE-READINGS / VIEWINGS
Blakey, M. L. (2020). “Archaeology under the blinding light of race.” Current Anthropology, 61(S22), S183-S197.
Justinvil, D. & Colwell, C. 2021. “US museums hold the remains of thousands of Black people. What can be done about it?” Available at:
Lans, Aja. 2020. “Decolonize This Collection: Integrating Black Feminism and Art to Re-Examine Human Skeletal Remains in Museums.” Feminist Anthropology DOI: 10.1002/fea2.12027
Watkins, Rachel. 2020. “An Alter(ed)native Perspective on Historical Bioarchaeology.” Historical Archaeology 53(4).
Reclaiming the Ancestors: Indigenous and Black Perspectives on Repatriation, Human Rights, and Justice, September 2020.
The event featured Reggie Wilson in conversation with CEE Director Deborah Thomas, Jasmine Johnson, John L. Jackson Jr. and Jawole Zollar
ABOUT THIS EVENT
On May 1, we were honored to host a conversation featuring Reggie Wilson in dialogue with Jasmine Johnson, John Jackson, and Jawole Zollar regarding the film, “GROUNDS THAT SHOUT!...and others merely shaking.” This film emerged from Reggie’s work in 2018-2019, sponsored by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage and organized through Philadelphia Contemporary, the Danspace Project, and Partners for Sacred Places. For this project, Reggie curated dance with local choreographers and dance groups at historical churches in Philadelphia. “Grounds that Shout!” was meant to explore the relationships between religion, movement, race, place, and the body, and to foreground how the histories of contemporary performance are intertwined with the legacies of African-American religious and religiously-affiliated spaces. Graduate students in CAMRA documented the project, With generous support from the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation, graduate students in CAMRA, and the resulting film, which was circulated ahead of time, provided the basis for our conversation. The film bears witness to Reggie’s process, documenting the development of movement, the relationships between performers and space, and the city and its denizens. The conversation was wide-ranging, addressing the overlapping circles of performance, method, and community-building, and the simultaneity of past and present. Listening to the distinct sounds of places and bodies in the film became an important way of becoming literate, of being able to hear the ground shout. And rapport with death, in this work, became a generative possibility where choreography was a practice of life.
The film was Directed and Produced by Gordon Divine "Dee" Asaah.
Executive Producer: Center for Experimental Ethnography in collaboration with CAMRA (Collective for Advancing Multimodal Research Arts)
Watch the dicussion HERE
A program curated and organized by Jenny Chio, Spring 2021 Visiting Fellow at the Center for Experimental Ethnography (University of Pennsylvania) and Associate Professor of East Asian Languages & Cultures and Anthropology at the University of Southern California.
With eleven films, three dialogues, two essays, and one live Zoom conversation, this film series illustrated the productive “unruliness” (to quote U Penn Professor Chenshu Zhou) of ethnography and film in exploring the contours of Indigenous identities and politics. Indigeneity, as the films and conversations revealed, encompasses stories of personal loss and memories of suffering, reflections on current social transformations and cultural subjectivities, and narratives of state violence and power in marginalized communities and upon individuals. Filmmaking has become a means to confront the lived realities of cultural and ethnic differences, claims to political sovereignty, and shared social histories that together constitute some of the possibilities of Indigenous experiences in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. [While the films are no longer available, the event website with film and filmmaker descriptions, dialogues, and essays is online: www.filmandethnography.org.]
This film and conversation series explores the category and concept of “Indigeneity” in the contemporary People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
In each political space, “Indigenous” has come to represent and symbolize the different stakes of identity, culture, and heritage in the modern world, while grappling with ongoing political tensions around national sovereignty, China’s global influence, and social solidarity. Whereas “Indigenous” in Hong Kong now refers to both a nativist political movement and marginalized communities that settled in Hong Kong prior to British colonial rule, in Taiwan Indigenous refers to Austronesian Aboriginal communities who align themselves with contemporary global Indigenous activists. In China, the term Indigenous itself is highly contested, as the Chinese state increasingly resists and represses claims to cultural self-determination amongst its ethnic minority populations. Thus, the films and speakers in this event all approach Indigeneity from their own personal backgrounds and experiences as citizens, artists, and scholars from and working in China, Hong Kong, and/or Taiwan.
The Contest over "Indigeneity": Film and Ethnography in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan is an online exhibit includeing an event website, eleven films, three prerecorded discussions, and biographies of event guests, as well as a virtual screening week (Friday April 23- Friday April 30) and a live zoom discussion (Thursday April 29 at 7PM EDT).
Event hosted by the Center for Experimental Ethnography, and co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Contemporary China at Penn, and Penn Global
film screening week | Friday April 23 -April 30, 2021
During this weeklong film screening, we invited participants to watch films by artists working on Indigeneity in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, curated by Jenny Chio. Information on these artists can be found here.
We also invited attendees to listen to the pre-recorded conversations between the filmmakers, curator Jenny Chio, and invited scholars.
LIVE CONVERSATION | Thursday april 29 at 7PM
The live discussion on Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 7 pm EST/EDT took place with CEE Faculty Fellow Dr. Jenny Chio, Cui Yi (filmmaker and conservation ecologist), Dr. Aynur Kadi (assistant professor of Digital Media Arts at the University of Waterloo), Dr. Chenshu Zhou (Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies in the Department of History of Art at UPENN), Chan Ho-Lun Fredie (filmmaker and producer), Li Xin (a visual anthropologist and filmmaker), Dr. Miguel Angel Hidalgo Martinez (Assistant Professor of China Studies at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University)
As many of you know, it was revealed last week that the remains of two of the children killed when the City of Philadelphia dropped two bombs on the MOVE compound in 1985 – Tree and Delisha Africa – had been held in the Penn Museum and used for research and teaching. Mike Africa, Jr., a MOVE family member, has circulated a number of demands including the return of the remains to the MOVE family, an apology and appropriate restitution, and the creation of a transparent, public investigation led by a MOVE-approved investigator into how these remains ended up in the Museum’s possession over the past 35 years. The Museum and the University have both issued statements.
Still, the questions remain:
The Center for Experimental Ethnography will facilitate a dialogue about these questions with Krystal Strong (GSE, Black Lives Matter Philly), who has been working closely with the Africa family and the MOVE community to develop a counter-archive.
Since the earliest days of the discipline, anthropological knowledge production has been deeply rooted in a set of foundational distinctions that have been integral to the creation of regimes of domination, eradication, and extraction that continue to pose existential challenges to the entire globe. Eurocentric perspectives based on anti-Blackness and white supremacist, colonialist assumptions have long insisted upon the separation of “nature” and “culture” and “self” and “other.” These dichotomies have structured research, teaching, and the training of generations of anthropologists with far-reaching and often detrimental impacts on marginalized communities around the world. This panel serves to open a series of conversations dedicated to exploring the possibilities of an anthropology grounded in a commitment to “radical humanism.” In a radically humanist anthropology, equality, connection, and becoming serve as guiding principles that (1) disrupt predominant conceptualizations of a stable, knowable, liberal subject in “the field,” (2) recognize the many ways that humans and non-humans are entangled, and (3) center justice, equity, and the reduction of harm as key aims of the anthropological project.
Kelly Gillespie, PhD, Senior Lecturer, University of the Western Cape
Sheela Athreya, PhD, Associate Professor, Texas A&M University
Shadreck Chirikure, PhD, British Academy Global Professor, University of Oxford
Ora Marek-Martinez (Diné, Nimiipuu, Hopi), PhD, Assistant Professor and Executive Director of the Native American Cultural Center, Northern Arizona University
Moderated by Wayne Modest, PhD, Director of Content for the National Museum of World Cultures and Head of the Research Center for Material Culture
CART captioning provided by Joshua Edwards
Hosted by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research
Organized by the Association of Black Anthropologists, Anthropology Southern Africa, and the Center for Experimental Ethnography
In “Documenting Discontent: Soundings,” Karina Franco Villaseñor (nêi) and Vladimir Flores García (Vlax) mix and remix new sounds with existing audio projects, playing with their own works and with each other’s. This selection of remixed audio, accompanied by text and images, was curated by nêi and Vlax for the March 2021 event, Documenting Discontent/Documentando el Descontento.
En “Documenting Discontent: Soundings,” Karina Franco Villaseñor (nêi) y Vladimir Flores García (Vlax) mezclan y remezclan nuevos sonidos con proyectos previos, jugando con sus propios sonidos y con los sonidos del otro. Esta selección de audio, con textos e imágenes, fue curada por nêi y Vlax para el evento Documenting Discontent/Documentando el Descontento (Marzo de 2021).
Meet the Artists/Conocer a los artistas
Vladimir Flores García, Vlax
Vladimir Flores García is a multimedia artisan and a graduate of Mexico’s National Autonomous University’s Faculty of Arts and Design. Since 2000, his work has incorporated community journalism and education. He has worked as a news correspondent for independent and public outlets in Mexico (Radio UNAM), the United States (Radio Bilingüe, KPFT, FSRN), and Europe (Radio Nederland, RFI). Vlax is a member of the Dyne.org Foundation, where he investigates decolonial technology using open software tools. He lives in Oaxaca and enjoys cooking vegetarian food. https://vlax.dyne.org/
Vladimir Flores García (México, 1974) es artesano multimedia egresado de la Facultad de Artes y Diseño de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Desde el año 2000 su trabajo cultural incorpora el periodismo comunitario y la educación. Ha trabajado como corresponsal de noticias en medios independientes y públicos de México (Radio UNAM), Estados Unidos (Radio Bilingüe, KPFT, FSRN) y Europa (Radio Nederland, RFI). Es integrante de la Dyne.org Foundation con la que investiga la tecnología decolonial utilizando herramientas de software libre. Reside en Oaxaca y cocina vegetariano. https://vlax.dyne.org
Karina Franco Villaseñor, nê.i
Karina F. Villaseñor (Mexico, 1985), works in audio production and post-production on a wide range of multimedia projects. She received her Masters degree in Music Technology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and her bachelor’s degree in Audiovisual Sciences from the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana. Her work engages the intersection of sound, body, and perceptive ecology. Her research has been published in academic volumes in Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, Spain, and Turkey. She has collaborated on projects with national and international producers, with an emphasis on documentary projects and sound design for immersive experiences. Since 2009, she has crafted training curricula for educational centers and universities in Mexico City and surrounding areas.
Karina F. Villaseñor, mexicana, 1985, se dedica a la producción y post de audio en colaboración con diversos proyectos multimedia. Es Maestra en Tecnología musical por la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México y Lic. en C. Audiovisual por la UCSJ. Su trabajo se motiva del cruce entre sonido, cuerpo y ecología perceptiva. Como investigadora ha sido publicada en algunas compilaciones académicas en México, Chile, Uruguay, España y Turquía. Como creadora ha cooperado activamente con productoras nacionales e internacionales, con énfasis en registro documental y diseño sonoro para sistemas inmersivos. Desde el 2009 teje con procesos formativos para centros educativos y universitarios en Ciudad de México y alrededores. https://soundcloud.com/nei-villasenor
6 PM MARCH 8th
On International Women's Day 2021, the Center for Experimental Ethnography is pleased to present Haitian filmmaker Etant Dupain's feature "Madan Sara: Pouvwa Fanm Aysiyen" (Madan Sara: The Power of Haitian Women) followed by a discussion between Etant Dupain (Director, Madan Sara), Dr. Régine Michelle Jean-Charles (Associate Professor of French and the Graduate Program Director at Boston College), and Lunise Cerin (Editor, Madan Sara). The CEE screening of Madan Sara follows a four-day series of free, public screenings of the film throughout Haiti, supported by matenmidiswa pwodiksyon
"The women known as Madan Sara are on the forefront of the battle for a more robust and inclusive economy in Haiti. They work tirelessly to buy, distribute, and sell food and other essentials in markets through the country. Despite the obstacles faced by the women working in a sector that lacks investment, infrastructure and state assistance, the Madan Sara continue to be one of the most critical parts of the Haitian economy and of who we are as a country. The Madan Sara documentary tells the stories of these indefatigable women who work at the margins to make Haiti’s economy run. Despite facing intense hardship and social stigma, the hard work of the Madan Sara puts their children through school, houses their families, and helps to ensure a better life for generations to come. This film amplifies the calls of the Madan Sara as they speak directly to society to share their dreams for a more just Haiti."
WATCH THE TRAILER
Meet The Discussants
Director, Madan Sara
Dr. Régine Michelle Jean-Charles
Associate Professor of French and African and African Diaspora Studies, Boston College
Her first book, Conflict Bodies: The Politics of Rape Representation in the Francophone Imaginary (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2014) examines theoretical, visual, and literary texts in order to challenge the dominant views of sexual violence. She has authored over 30 publications that have appeared in books, edited volumes, and peer-reviewed journals. Her second academic book Looking for Other Worlds: Black Feminism, Literary Ethics, and Haitian Fiction is currently under contract with University of Virginia Press. Her book A Trumpet of Conscience for the 21st Century: King’s Call to Justice is forthcoming with Orbis Press in 2021.
Much of Dr. Jean-Charles’s activist work has been with A Long Walk Home, where she began as founding board member in 2003. A Long Walk Home, Inc., is a non-profit organization that uses art to educate, inspire, and mobilize young people to end violence against girls and women. Her involvement in ALWH ranged from performing in Story of a Rape Survivor, a multi-media arts performance about black women and sexual assault, conducting workshops for the Girl/Friends Leadership Institute in Chicago, to giving lectures at universities across the country on topics such as study abroad and sexual assault. Her work with the Boston area includes initiatives with Shatter the Silence a faith-based initiative to address sexual violence and AFAB the Haitian Women’s Association of Boston.
Dr. Jean-Charles is also a regular contributor to media outlets like The Boston Globe, WGBH, America Magazine, and Cognoscenti, where she has weighed in on topics including #metoo and issues affecting the Haitian diaspora.
Editor, Madan Sara
The Madan Sara project is raising funds to support their efforts to bring the film to communities in Haiti through free, public screenings. We invite you to make a contribution of any size to support this mission. To learn more about the film and join in the conversation online, visit MadanSaraFilm.com, use the hashtag #MadanSara across social media, and follow @madansarayiti on Twitter and @MadanSaraFilm on Instagram.
REGISTER HERE: The Forum will be a free and online program.
Participatory Dance & Choreography Workshop on "Choice"
March 3, 2021 (Wednesday)
1:00 pm—2:00 pm
ONLINE EVENT- REGISTER HERE
Dawn Marie Bazemore
Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance,
Philadelphia's Premier Modern Dance Company
Join us for a live virtual interactive workshop that explores the Wolf Humanities Center's annual topic of "Choice" through the embodied practice of dance and art-making. Led by Dawn Marie Bazemore and lead dancers from Philadanco, this workshop welcomes participation from all backgrounds and skill levels.
Support for this workshop and Dancers Choices, Choreographers Choices provided by The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation.
Dawn Marie Bazemore is a Philadelphia-based dance artist and educator. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Rowan University and the Artistic Director of her own dance collective DMB|#dbdanceproject. Dawn Marie is a former member of Philadanco and has also performed featured roles in Broadway and regional musical theatre productions. Her performance of Strange Fruit, choreographed by the late Dr. Pearl Primus, is currently on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Dancers' Choice Choreographers' Choices
March 3, 2021 (Wednesday)
ONLINE EVENT - REGISTER HERE
Philadelphia's Premier Modern Dance Company
Dawn Marie Bazemore
Dance Artist; Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance, Rowan University
Jasmine E. Johnson
Assistant Professor of Africana Studies,
University of Pennsylvania
Deborah A. Thomas
Professor of Anthropology and Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Doctoral Candidate, Penn English
Lead dancers from Philadelphia’s premier modern dance company perform a piece that pays homage to the Yoruba deity Oshun, the protector, savior, and nurturer of humanity. Following this special performance, Dixon Li will moderate a conversation among the dancers and dance scholars Jasmine Johnson, Deborah Thomas, and Dawn Marie Bazemore, that touches upon the choice to dance, choreography and choice, and performance and choice.
Support for Dancers' Choices, Choreographers' Choices provided by The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation. Cosponsored by the Department of Africana Studies and the Center for Africana Studies.
FEB 18th @ NOON
Ricardo A. Bracho is currently Sachs Artist-in-Residence in the Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies program here at Penn, where he teaches creative and critical writing. His plays have been staged read, workshopped, and premiered in theaters and at universities nationwide. He has a committed focus on working with feminist, queer, Latiina/o, community-based, and experimental theaters including Mabou Mines, INTAR, and Company of Angels. His plays have also been staged read and workshopped at Vassar, Stanford, DePaul University, and the University of California campuses at Riverside, Berkeley, Irvine, Santa Cruz, and Santa Barbara. His past academic appointments include Artist/Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for Chicano Studies at UC Santa Barbara and the Multicultural Faculty position at The Theatre School at DePaul University. His plays include The Sweetest Hangover, Sissy, Mexican Psychotic, and Puto. He has worked in independent film and video as an art director, in casting, and as a script, grant, and editorial consultant, primarily with queer, black, and brown makers, including Augie Robles, Cauleen Smith, and Ela Troyano.
As a producer and dramaturge, he has helped stage anti-gentrification street theater in Boyle Heights and the works of Lisa Thompson, Brian Bauman, and Sigrid Gilmer. He began this theater career some thirty years ago as Assistant Director to Cherrie Moraga’s DramaDIVAS, writing for a performance workshop for queer and trans youth of color. He was a co-founder of Proyecto ContraSIDA Por VIDA, a San Francisco based Latina/o LGBT HIV service agency. He has also worked on curriculums, media campaigns, research and funding for FIERCE!, AIDS Project Los Angeles, and Center for AIDS Prevention Studies. He was a researcher on The H.I.P. H.O.P. Project (Health in Prison, Health Outta Prison) for young men in San Quentin Prison. He was interviewed on The Blunt Project in New York. He is developing two chapbooks of poetry, The Salt of Him and Under Quarantine.
PENN MUSEUM 336