Narratives of Belonging in Borderlands Through Perspectives of Indigeneity and Visual Representations

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Narratives of Belonging in Borderlands Through Perspectives of Indigeneity and Visual Representations
Stream: Anthropology
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Authors:
Suryasikha Pathak, Assam University, India (organizer, presenter)
Kaustuv Saikia, Directorate of Museums, Government of Assam, India (presenter)
Shaheen S. Ahmed, Monash University, Australia (presenter)
Madhumita Sengupta, Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, India (chair, discussant)

Abstract:

The advancement in visual technologies and its subsequent use in anthropology has been able to construct an ethnographic observation with modalities that have denied the ethnographic present and ignored the historical context of its own processes of production. Consequently, series of representation(s) were generated which contradicted the historical reality under which those representations were produced. There emerged a convention which generated imagery which supplemented the already predominant positivist textual trope of exclusively stereotyping non-western and indigenous communities.
Visual markers of culture were entered into a shared, observational, contextual, liminal space - of representation which were a product of decontextualized social and cultural elements which negotiated through the meanings of social events and processes for the 'observer' and the 'observed'; the 'photographer' and the 'photographer'; the 'curator' and the 'curated'.
This panel aims to engage with the concept of indigeneity with a triad of perspectives. The first would be from the lens of ethnographic/anthropolical constructions. The second is assertions of indigeneity and identity through political movements and a sense of belonging to the soil. The third would be through the legalistic framework of indigeneity in terms of constitutional definitions and definitions provided by world bodies like the United Nations. This triad of analysis might overlap in the individual papers in the proposed panel. This panel aims to look at the constructions of visual markers that got associated with the concept of indigeneity with the politics of Assam, both colonial and postcolonial.