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Documenting Latinx lives: Visual anthropology and Latinx studies

  • Ulla D. BergEmail author
Reflexiones Pedadógicas
  • 8 Downloads

Abstract

This essay reflects on teaching college students to use the medium of film/video to explore contemporary issues that affect the everyday lives of Latinx populations in the United States. Drawing on experiences with (mostly Latinx) students in a documentary filmmaking class at Rutgers University, as well as on my own visual, documentary, and ethnographic practice at the intersection of Latinx studies and visual anthropology, I discuss the distinct representational techniques, dilemmas and possibilities that different storytelling strategies in ethnographic and documentary films hold for representing and knowing Latinx social experiences, as well as some of the steps to follow when contemplating the use of film and video in the context of ethnographic projects in Latinx communities. In doing so, I address some key issues that have shaped past and current debates about the visual representation and circulation of Latinx communities, both in Latinx studies and in visual anthropology.

Keywords

Ethnographic filmmaking Visual anthropology Latinx social experience Knowledge production Storytelling 

La documentación de las vidas latinas: Antropología visual y estudios latinos

Resúmen

Este ensayo reflexiona sobre la enseñanza de los estudiantes universitarios en el uso de la cinematografía y el video para explorar los asuntos contemporáneos que afectan la vida cotidiana de las poblaciones latinas en los Estados Unidos. Partiendo de las experiencias de los estudiantes (mayormente latinos) de una clase de cinematografía documental en Rutgers University, así como de mi propia práctica visual, documental y etnográfica en la intersección de los estudios latinos y la antropología visual, analizo las distintas técnicas, los dilemas y las posibilidades representacionales que las diferentes estrategias narrativas en los filmes etnográficos y documentales utilizan para representar y conocer las experiencias sociales latina, así como algunos de los pasos que debemos seguir al contemplar el uso del cine y el video en el contexto de proyectos etnográficos en las comunidades latinas. Al hacerlo, abordamos algunos temas significativos que han dado forma a debates pasados y actuales sobre la representación y la circulación visual de las comunidades latinas, tanto en el campo de los estudios latinos como en la antropología visual.

Palabras clave

Cinematografía etnográfica antropología visual experiencia social latina producción del conocimiento narración 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank all of my incredibly talented Documenting Latinx Lives students at Rutgers University, whose stories and creativity continue to inspire me. I am also thankful to Ana Ramos-Zayas for an invitation to present an earlier version of this paper at Yale University.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers University, The State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA

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