What follows is a series of conversations conducted after the recent Image as Method symposium, which took place on May 4th and 5th, 2015, at Columbia University’s Heyman Center for the Humanities, organized by Brian Goldstone. The symposium featured numerous presenters and commentators: Diana Allan, Vincent Crapanzano, Robert Desjarlais, Angela Garcia, Gökçe Günel, Michael D. Jackson, Julie Livingston, Stuart McLean, Natasha Myers, Anand Pandian, Elizabeth Povinelli, Hugh Raffles, Stephanie Spray, and Lisa Stevenson. Rather than summarizing the event or attempting to reproduce every presentation and commentary, below I follow a few conceptual paths made at the symposium through conversations with Brian Goldstone, Stuart McLean, Anand Pandian, and Robert Desjarlais, who, each in his own way, describes an alternate way of thinking through the use of the image in all of its forms (visual, literary, photographic, phantasmagoric, etc.), as an invitation, a marking out of some “elsewhere” within anthropology itself.
The interest in images for anthropology has grown rapidly in recent years. This shift towards the imagistic has nonetheless come in many different forms. From the recent surge of ethnographic films invested in sensory experience and the ‘haptic’ forms of visuality, to photo-ethnographic works and a ‘literary anthropology’ whose aim is, in part, to think and write imagistically, anthropology finds itself at a threshold where images are no longer complementary, illustrative, or indexical to larger frames of thought, but instead themselves have value for thinking and doing anthropology.
While the critical interest in images has seen a renewal, anthropology has a long tradition of thinking imagistically.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.