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Representing the Non-representable: Visual Representations of Extraordinary Beings in Ethnographic Films (V07)


The 17th World Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences

University of Manchester (August 5th-August 10th, 2013)

Convenor: Dr. P. Khosronejad (Dept. of Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews)

Anthropologists have long struggled with the problem of how best to conceptualize and account for the observable diversity of religious belief and practice in various societies.Also recently there has been interest among ethnographic filmmakers who survey healing and spirit possession rituals, exorcism ceremonies or religious gatherings among which supernatural forces (djinns, demons and spirits) are the main topic of the ceremonies. The aim of this panel is to investigate and discuss how such non-representable supernatural beings could be studied and captured visually and ethnographically via documentary films.


This program received financial support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation (U.S.A.), and GSRL- Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités, CNRS (France).

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