This category contains 9 posts

Mobile Visual Ethnography Kit

Last year I posted a bit about the simple, mobile equipment that I have put together for the students in my visual anthropology class to use on their visual documentary projects. This year I have made a few updates that are worth a quick share. I’m still committed to using Zoom H1s for audio capture—there … Continue reading

Michael Taussig on Field Notebooks—I Swear I Saw This

“I think of the hard work I have done and even more of all the waiting and boredom as not exactly irrelevant but as nothing more than a necessary prelude for chance to show its hand” (Taussig 2011:59). Last night I finished reading Michael Taussig’s reflections on drawings in anthropological field notebooks (namely his) in … Continue reading

(Simple) Mobile Visual Ethnography Equipment

I’m often telling folks that the goal of my visual anthropology class is not to make filmmakers, but to use basic equipment to have my students make films together with others… For the past few years, students in my class have been working with local volunteers from our university neighborhood—The Hamline Midway—to make simple films … Continue reading

An OFF Pocket™ for Sensitive Fieldwork?

I like the idea of privacy. When you carry a mobile phone, regularly check in to Twitter, often update your  Facebook, or use Google products, however, privacy  really can’t be much more than that—an idea, a dream, a conceptual ideal. So, earlier this year when I read about Adam Harvey’s Kickstarter project, the OFF Pocket™, I … Continue reading

An Afternoon Lunch at the Zhiqing Villa

Ten years ago this month I finished my PhD dissertation, “Remembering Red: Memory and Nostalgia for the Cultural Revolution in Late 1990s China,” in the anthropology department at the University of Washington in Seattle. My dissertation research examined nostalgia and memory of the Cultural Revolution among members of the generation who were most active in … Continue reading

Remembering Culture at the Terracotta Warrior Museum

In my early twenties, when becoming an anthropology professor was still a far off aspiration, I spent a few years as a tour guide leading groups to China for Pacific Delight Tours.  Experience as a guide on the front lines of the culture industry in the early years of China’s Post-Mao development provided me with … Continue reading

Walmart in China

A few weeks ago I was pleasantly surprised to receive my complementary copies of Walmart in China. Many of the papers in the collected volume were presented at a workshop on Walmart organized by Anita Chan held at Beijing University.  The conference brought together a wide variety of scholars and activists from Australia, greater China, … Continue reading

I Love Beijing’s Sensitive Words!

Right in the middle of my visit last summer, Facebook disappeared. It was added to the list of sites blocked by the Chinese firewall. At the time I was in China, hanging out with my friends, so we really didn’t miss not seeing each other on Facebook. When I mentioned it at a dinner, the … Continue reading

Replicating Terracotta Warriors

Last summer while doing a research visit at the Terracotta Warrior Museum in Xi’an and some associated tourist sights, I noted the proliferation of images and reproductions of the warriors. In this collection of images can you spot the “real” from the reproduced? Of course this is a trick question, because even the “real” warriors … Continue reading


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