Visual Anthropology and the work of David MacDougall

Student Workshops and Panel Discussions featuring the films and the writing of David MacDougall

Co-organized by KAEE (Department for Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology) and CeMIS (Centre for Modern Indian Studies)

With a prolific range of ethnographic films and theoretical writing, David MacDougall is one of the most influential voices in the field of Visual Anthropology. From reflections on mediation and the conventions of photography and representation; to foundational meditations on the observational mode of filming considered central to the ethnographic film; to an intensive engagement with the more participatory and interactive approach favoured by French filmmaker-anthropologist Jean Rouch; to his recent filmmaking project of “shared anthropology” with Indian children, MacDougall’s oeuvre encompasses a sustained engagement with the visual and sensory modes of perception crucial to the ethnological and social sciences. This two day workshop will focused on some selected aspects of this wide-ranging body of work. On the first day, we hosted three panel discussions:

1. On Photography and Representation Screening of “Photowallahs” (1991) Discussants: Britta Ohm (Berlin) and Rashmi Varma (Göttingen)

2. New Forms of Ethnographic film: Contemporary Perspectives Screening: Excerpts from various films Discussants: Franziska Weidle (Göttingen) and Michael Westrich (Berlin)

3. Participatory Modes of Documentary Filmmaking and Shared Anthropology: The Childhood and Modernity Project and “Delhi at Eleven” Screening: Selected films from the “Delhi at Eleven” Project Discussants: Patrick Eisenlohr (Göttingen) and Saikat Maitra (Göttingen)

The second day comprised an intensive student workshop with David MacDougall, with a focus on his methodologies of research prior to filming and on his use of camera, sound and editing in ethnographic film. The student workshop started with a screening of MacDougall’s film, “With Morning Hearts” (2001) and ended with a screening of “SchoolScapes” (2007) at the Lumiere Cinema.