25 Feb 2013 5:00pm - 7:00pm CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT - S2



Dr Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes (University of Cambridge)

Susanne Hammacher (Royal Anthropological Institute)

As a preamble to the first international conference on Exploring modern South Asian history with visual research methods, Cambridge, UK, 15-16 March 2013, the Centre of South Asian Studies is organising a seminar series that will introduce the theme of the conference. Several historians and anthropologists will discuss a selection of ethnographic / anthropological films of South Asia in relation to current historiographical methodologies. The series is organised in collaboration with the Royal Anthropological Institute and CRASSH.

Eyes of the Ancestor: ‘returning’ photographs to an Indian village

Dr Mark Elliott (MAA, University of Cambridge) will present the third CSAS & RAI pre-conference seminar, titled 'Eyes of the Ancestor: “returning” photographs to an Indian village'.


In January 2012 the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and the Grassi Museum fur Volkerkunde in Leipzig shared historic photographs of Adivasi communities in India with Vaacha, the Museum of Voice in Tejgadh, Gujarat. These photographs, taken by three Europeans between the 1920s and 1940s, formed an exhibition staged by local Rathwa museum curators at an important ancestral site. Following the exhibition, researchers and curators from Cambridge, Leipzig and the University of East Anglia visited the homes of Rathwa families where copies of the photographs were on display, talking to them about what the photographs meant to them, the memories they evoked and the concerns they raised. A pilot for a more long-term project to engage contemporary adivasi audiences in research on these pieces of their cultural heritage, this small expedition provided stimulating and often surprising encounters around the black and white images. This presentation reflects on the processes through which the project took place, the different intentions of the various participants in India and in Europe, and the reactions to the experiment so far.


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