Walter Goldschmidt Lecture in Anthropology Thick

Walter Goldschmidt Lecture in Anthropology
Thick Depiction:
Anxiety, Anthropology, and Film/Video
presented by
John L. Jackson, Jr.
Dean of the School of Social Policy & Practice
and the Richard Perry University Professor of
Communication, Anthropology, and Africana Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Faculty Center, California Room
UCLA Campus
Do anthropologists do enough with film/video technology? Probably not. And there are many reasons why. This
talk attempts to make a case for the newfangled value of filmmaking to anthropological theory and practice,
highlighting the challenges and opportunities that the ethnographic "image" presents--challenges and
opportunities linked to traditional claims about social scientific authority, objectivity, and rigor. What does it
mean to take scholarly arguments in visuals (and sounds) seriously? And how might we reimagine visual
anthropology's value to the field of anthropology today?
John L. Jackson, Jr., is Dean of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy and Practice. He also is the
Richard Perry University Professor of Communication, Africana Studies, and Anthropology in the Standing Faculty
of the Annenberg School for Communication and the Standing Faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences. Before
coming to Penn, Jackson taught in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University in Durham, North
Carolina, and spent three years as a Junior Fellow at the Harvard University Society of Fellows in Cambridge,
Massachusetts. Jackson received his B.A. in Communications (Radio, TV, Film) from Howard University in
Washington D.C. and his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University in New York City. As a filmmaker,
Jackson has produced a feature-length fiction film, documentaries, and film-shorts that have screened at film
festivals internationally. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation,
Harvard University's Milton Fund, and the Lilly Endowment (during a year at the National Humanities Center in
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina). He has published several books, Harlemworld: Doing Race and Class in
Contemporary Black America (University of Chicago Press, 2001), Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity
(University of Chicago Press, 2005), and Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness
(Basic, 2008), released in paperback in 2010. Jackson has just released Thin Description: Ethnography and the
African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem (Harvard University Press, 2013) and is completing another book (coauthored by Cora Daniels), Impolite Conversations: On Race, Politics, Sex, Money, and Religion (Atria [Simon and
Schuster]) released in 2014. His most recent film, co-directed with Deborah Thomas, is Bad Friday: Rastafari After
Coral Gardens (Third World Newsreel, 2012).