image/identity: explorations of identities through visual representations in Sulawesi, Indonesia

image/identity: explorations of identities through visual representations in Sulawesi, Indonesia
fieldwork photo 2015

The paper explores visual representations of identities (professed and attributed) over a century of turbulent history in the mountainous interior of Sulawesi, Indonesia--from the images of the 'headhunters' from early twentieth century scientific expeditions to the postings on social media by contemporary residents, and an exploration/interrogation my 40+ years of ethnographer’s photographic archive. How have changing visual representations -- of people, places, activities- figured in shifts in forms and expressions of identities? Do visual representations present contradictions, clarifications, or reveal unelected assumptions of textual/ethnographic analysis of identities? The analysis informs an investigation of mediation in a move from a confidently expressed and uniformly embraced local identity that indexed claims to land and a privileged association with place; to current contestations among those same people and their descendants, about their claimed historical identity.

Professor Kathryn Robinson is Professor Emerita in Anthropology, CAP ANU. Her ANU Anthropology PhD (1984) was the beginning of her 'Indonesianist' career which has involved research on mining, land rights, identities, gender relations, Islam, health, water and development. She was appointed to RSPAS (noe part of CAP) in 1995, and this allowed and informed a deepening engagement with Indonesia, the opportunity to supervise many PhDs and to establish the ANU Anthropology flagship journal, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology. She has a long interest in visual representation( including studies at the Australian Centre for Photography). Her most recent book is Mosques and Imams: Everyday Islam in Eastern Indonesia (NUS Press 2021)

Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 812 1179 0732
Password: 968025

Date & time

Mon 01 May 2023, 3–4pm


Rm 3.369 HC Coombs Building ANU


Prof Kathryn Robinson, ANU


Natasha Fijn


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