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Made to Be Seen

Perspectives on the History of Visual Anthropology

Made to Be Seen

Perspectives on the History of Visual Anthropology

Made to be Seen brings together leading scholars of visual anthropology to examine the historical development of this multifaceted and growing field. Expanding the definition of visual anthropology beyond more limited notions, the contributors to Made to be Seen reflect on the role of the visual in all areas of life. Different essays critically examine a range of topics: art, dress and body adornment, photography, the built environment, digital forms of visual anthropology, indigenous media, the body as a cultural phenomenon, the relationship between experimental and ethnographic film, and more.

The first attempt to present a comprehensive overview of the many aspects of an anthropological approach to the study of visual and pictorial culture, Made to be Seen will be the standard reference on the subject for years to come. Students and scholars in anthropology, sociology, visual studies, and cultural studies will greatly benefit from this pioneering look at the way the visual is inextricably threaded through most, if not all, areas of human activity.

432 pages | 27 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2011

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Film Studies

Media Studies


“Marcus Banks and Jay Ruby are leading figures in the field of visual anthropology, and in Made to Be Seen they have assembled an excellent set of authors to analyze the breadth of the discipline. In their introduction Banks and Ruby show clearly why paying attention to the visual dimension of human culture is vital, provide a good sense of the development of the field over time, and offer their views on how it can achieve its full potential. The rest of the essays display a diverse, balanced range of views that taken together provide an outstanding addition to the literature.”

Howard Morphy, Australian National University

“This excellent edited volume is a must-read for persons interested in anthropological writing on visual media, visual aspects of corporeality, and the situated practices surrounding objects. While varied in scope and purpose, the 13 chapters are uniformly excellent in challenging readers to see anthropological theory reflected through the visual world….An outstanding, inspirational, and challenging overview of contemporary visual anthropology.”


Table of Contents

Made To Be Seen: Historical Perspectives on Visual Anthropology
Marcus Banks and Jay Ruby

1 Skilled Visions: Toward an Ecology of Visual Inscriptions
Cristina Grasseni

2 Material Visions: Dress and Textiles
Sandra Dudley

 Visual Anthropology and the Built Environment: Interpenetrations of the Visible and the Invisible
Roxana Waterson

 Unfinished Dialogues: Notes toward an Alternative History of Art and Anthropology
Arnd Schneider

 Theorizing “the Body” in Visual Culture
Brenda Farnell

 Tracing Photography
Elizabeth Edwards

 Ethnographic Film
Matthew Durington and Jay Ruby

Digital Visual Anthropology: Potentials and Challenges
Sarah Pink

 Native Intelligence: A Short History of Debates on Indigenous Media and Ethnographic Film
Faye Ginsburg

 Productive Dissonance and Sensuous Image-Making: Visual Anthropology and Experimental Film
Kathryn Ramey

 Anthropology and the Problem of Audience Reception
Stephen Putnam Hughes

Ethical and Epistemic Reflections on/of Anthropological Vision
Michael Herzfeld



Choice Magazine: CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Awards

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