Announcement: Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies

Contemporary Art and Anthropology: Challenges of Theory and PracticeLecturer: Associate Professor Arnd Schneider, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo
Dates: 30. July – 3. August 2007 Course Credits: 10 pts (ECTS) Limitation: 30 participants
Application details:
This course will look at recent border crossings between art and anthropology, and explore the epistemological challenges arising from it. Following the so-called ‘ethnographic turn’, contemporary artists have adopted an ‘anthropological’ gaze, including methodologies, such as fieldwork, in their appropriation of other cultures. Anthropologists, on the other hand, in the wake of the ‘writing culture’ critique of the 1980s, are starting to explore new forms of visual research and representation beyond written texts.
»Main disciplines: Anthropology, Fine Arts, Media Studies
Secondary disciplines: Art History/Criticism, Cultural Studies

This course will explore the potential for future collaborations between art and anthropology. The curriculum will be based on an examination of key texts, and review of a number of paradigmatic artists and issues (such as, fieldwork/ site-specific ethnography, appropriation, research in and representation of different sensual domains/’synaesthesia’).
In its workshops and assessment options the course encourages presentation and submission of practice-based visual work.
The course format is lectures and workshops, in which students are encouraged to present their work in progress.
The course is interdisciplinary and directed at doctoral students and researchers in the social sciences, humanities, and in the visual arts (including anthropology/visual anthropology, sociology, art criticism, art history, fine arts, film practice and studies, design, media practice and cultural studies).
Essential readings (we strongly encourage students to obtain and read the following books in advance)

  • Schneider, Arnd & Wright, Christopher (eds.). 2006. Contemporary Art and Anthropology. Oxford: Berg.
  • Schneider, Arnd. 2006. Appropriation as Practice: Art and Identity in Argentina. New York: Palgrave.
  • Coles, Alex (ed.) 2000. Site-Specificity: The Ethnographic Turn. London: Blackdog Publications (with contributions by Lothar Baumgarten, James Clifford, Susanne Küchler, Arnd Schneider).
  • Marcus, George./ Myers, Fred. 1995.The Traffic in Culture, Berkeley: University of California Press. (especially “The Traffic in Art and Culture: An Introduction” by the editors, and Hal Foster’s essay “The artist as ethnographer”).

Assessment is either in the form of a written essay (6000 – 8000 words), or; by a visual piece of work accompanied by a 3500 words interpretive statement.
Visual work can be submitted in the following formats (DVD, CD-Rom, PAL VHS, photographic portfolio/essay as bound copy A4 format). Work will not be returned. Students who want to select this option should discuss and agree this with the course director before the end of the course week.
Full course details at:
The Lecturer
Arnd Schneider writes on contemporary art and anthropology, migrationand ethnographic film. His main publications include Appropriation as Practice: Art and Identity in Argentina (Palgrave, 2006) Futures Lost: Nostalgia and Identity among Italian Immigrants in Argentina (Peter Lang, 2000), and as co-editor with Christopher Wright, Contemporary Art and Anthropology (Berg, 2006). His essays “The Art Diviners” Anthropology Today (1993, 4) “Uneasy Relationships: Contemporary Artists and Anthropology” Journal for Material Culture (1996, 2), “On appropriation” Social Anthropology (2003, 2), explore a new emerging field of art practices and anthropology.