View this email in your browser

CEE #25



Spring has sprung!!!  Our “pandemic purchase” last year was a trampoline, the result of my daughter’s insistence.  It took months to arrive, and it takes up most of our row-home “backyard,” but it has, thankfully, provided hours of endorphin release.  When we assembled the trampoline, we realized it would cover a small concrete rimmed bed that had a previous life as a rock garden, lately overrun with vines.  My thumb is definitely not green, but my parents tend to our “garden” whenever they visit, and I never really pay much attention.  This week, with the gorgeous weather, I noticed some spiky green leaves poking through the dirt under the trampoline, and then yesterday, I saw yellow daffodils blooming.  Of course, I am taking this as a sign that even when obscured by the semi-opacity of a trampoline mat and under the pall of a global pandemic, beautiful things grow if they are tended to with love and care.  We are coming off a flurry of events last month and looking forward to our Fellows’ end-of-semester offerings (see below), and I hope you will all coast into a creative spring season with joy!

Deborah A. Thomas
R. Jean Brownlee Professor of Anthropology
Director, Center for Experimental Ethnography


The Black Feminist Lab

Jasmine Johnson believes in the integration of research and practice and is interested in the various ways her own movement practices “show up” in her work.  Her research examines the politics of Black movement, which for her includes not only dance but also phenomena like diasporic travel and gentrification. Interdisciplinary in nature, her scholarship and teaching are situated at the intersection of diaspora theory, dance and performance studies, ethnography, and black feminism. Her first book manuscript, Rhythm Nation: West African Dance and the Politics of Diaspora, is under contract with Oxford University Press, and her second book project is a cultural history of black American dance.
In conversation with Grace Ndicu, Jasmine talked about the recently inaugurated Black Feminist Lab.  READ MORE...

We are very excited about the Black Feminist Lab as well as Jasmine's other projects!
Out There Without Fear

April 6, 2021 I 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT

Hear from the native Jamaican filmmaker, Joelle Powe, and the documentary participants who will be calling in from Kingston, Jamaica. Choreographer, Latonya Style, has traveled to more than 40 countries teaching Jamaican culture. Dance advocate and lecturer Maria Hitchins articulates the evolution of Jamaican dance and class struggles for Jamaican dancers. Sign onto Zoom for a rich multidisciplinary discussion on classism, pigmentism, blackness, sexuality, cultural preservation, and censorship in Jamaican arts.
The Contest over “Indigeneity” FILM EVENT 

April 29, 2021 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM EDT

Curated and organized by Jenny Chio (

Spring 2021 Visiting Fellow, Center for Experimental Ethnography


This online screening and discussion series explores how the category and concept of “Indigenous identity” has taken on divergent meanings in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In each political space, “Indigenous” has come to represent and symbolize the different stakes of identity, culture, and heritage in the modern world, while grappling with ongoing political tensions around national sovereignty, China’s global influence, and social solidarity.
The event will include a website with film screenings and pre-recorded dialogues between filmmakers and scholars, a live conversation featuring the organizers and select participating filmmakers/scholars (depending upon availability), and a printed event catalogue with filmmaker biographies, film descriptions, an essay by Jenny Chio outlining the key issues and themes raised by the films and dialogues, and a reflective essay by a prominent scholar of China/East Asia that will outline the broader, global stakes of Indigenous discourses in Asia.

GROUNDS THAT SHOUT!!... and others merely shaking
May 1st, 2021 I 3:00 PM 

Curated and organized by Reggie Wilson
Spring 2021 Visiting Fellow, Center for Experimental Ethnography

An online screening and conversation curated by Reggie Wilson/ This event will include a special screening of "Grounds that Shout! ...and others merely shaking", a documentary by Gordon Divine Asaah that follows the Reggie Wilson-curated series of performances in May 2019. These performances responded to the layered histories of Philadelphia’s religious spaces through contemporary dance and reflected on the relationships and connections between practices of movement and worship with eight choreographers and performance groups performing in four historic Philadelphia churches. The live, synchronous event at CEE will feature Reggie Wilson in conversation with CEE Director Deborah Thomas, participants in the GTS project, and others."


CAMRA will discuss the upcoming Screening Scholarship Media Festival (SSMF) during CEE’s April Third Thursday. The festival, a hybrid academic conference and media festival that offers multimodal scholars working across various forms and fields an opportunity for critical discourse and collaboration, will be held from April 16-18, 2021. Members of the CAMRA directors’ team and the SSMF planning committee will give a preview of this year’s festival and discuss the challenges of adapting a conference centered around the theme of Rupture and Repair (originally intended for the 2020 Festival that was canceled due to COVID-19) for a virtual platform. They will highlight the promises and pitfalls of engaging different modalities in an effort to maintain the spirit, ethics, and ethos originally intended for the in-person event. 

Friday, April 16th-18th

Goldsmiths, University of London MA Visual Anthropology thesis Screening Event
April 17th and 18th 2 PM GMT
The students of Goldsmiths, University of London anthropology department present the virtual film screening of their dissertation films from 2020. 
For the full programme click HERE. The live screenings will be held on 17th & 18th April 2021, and will be followed by Q&As. Following the event, all the films will then be made available to watch for a week on the website.

InsideOut, the theme for this year’s group showing, reflects and engages with the methodologies and subjects that the student filmmakers employed during the past year. “insideout” refers to the manner in which we reconfigured, reimagined, and reinvented our initial ideas to adapt to a pandemic present. As a result, these films represent an intimate interplay between our interior worlds and embedded environments and a productive engagement with obstruction and limitation.
The fundamental objective of the CAMRA Mellon Fellowship Program is to increase the national pipeline of undergraduate students who complete Ph.D. programs in core fields that engage with both the theoretical and practical underpinnings of multimedia research, interrogating the politics of representation and power at play in visual scholarship and media, as well as harnessing the potential of visual methods to democratize the production of knowledge in academic spaces. Through a three-year pipeline, the program aims to increase the presence of individuals from underrepresented groups pursuing Ph.D. programs on college and university faculties, as well as to address the attendant educational consequences of these disparities. Learn more and apply here

Submit your films to Blackstar Film Festival they celebrate their 10th anniversary!


Films must be directed by a person who identifies as Black, as indigenous, or as a person of color (POC), from anywhere in the world. Work must feature persons of color or tell a story of Black, indigenous, or POC experience.


  • January 15, 2021 – Submissions Open
  • February 10, 2021 – Early Deadline
  • March 8, 2021 – Preferred Deadline
  • March 31, 2021 – Final Deadline
  • May 3, 2021 – Notification Date
Madan Sara: The Power of Haitian Women
Watch and listen to a discussion between Etant Dupain (Director, Madan Sara), Dr. Régine Michelle Jean-Charles (Associate Professor of French and the Graduate Program Director at Boston College), and Lunise Cerin (Editor, Madan Sara), following the screening of "Madan Sara" on March 8th 2021. You can find the lively discussion HERE.
Documenting Discontent I Documentando el Descontento.  
Listen to “Documenting Discontent: Soundings,” a selection of remixed audio, accompanied by text and images, curated by Karina Franco Villaseñor (nêi) and Vladimir Flores García (Vlax) for the March 2021 event, Documenting Discontent/Documentando el Descontento. In "Documenting Discontent: Soundings",  nêi and Vlax mix and remix new sounds with existing audio projects.
Last month’s Third Thursday event, Birthing, and Refusal, featured the work of our post-doc fellow Alissa Jordan in conversation with Carmelle Moïse, a nurse-midwife and board member at the nongovernmental organization  MamaBaby Haiti. Alissa introduced us to her work in embodiment, healing, and resistance in Haiti, highlighting post-partum care and birthing practices in Haitian Vodou. The conversation contextualized mothers, families, and other patients encounters (and avoidances) of medical care in NGO and mission hospitals that act as debtors prisons, and featured lively discussion with attendees. Carmelle implored attendees to take the time to listen to mothers and families in their own words, describing how empathetic listening can break down common assumptions about care, debt, and the stark maternal health statistics in Haiti. The conversation also introduced the work-in-progress, "Lòpital Pa Prizon" a patient-centered, audio-visual archive of hospital detention in Haiti, which is an ongoing collaboration between Alissa Jordan, Carmelle Moïse, and Jean-Denis Aureleus of ADEF (Asosyasyon de Dwa Enfant ak Fanm). Listen to the Birthing Resistance podcast here

Listen to the presentation and lively discussion now!
Copyright © 2021 Center for Experimental Ethnography, UPenn, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp