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    Claude Lévi-Strauss and Aloha Baker in Mato Grosso: framing the Bororo

    Martins, Luciana (2011) Claude Lévi-Strauss and Aloha Baker in Mato Grosso: framing the Bororo. In: Claude Lévi-Strauss and Aloha Baker in Mato Grosso: framing the bororo, 2011, Centre for Latin American Studies, Cambridge, UK. (Unpublished)

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    n 1935, Claude Lévi-Strauss and his wife Dina travelled to Mato Grosso, in Brazil, with the dual aim of visiting the Kadiwéu and Bororo Indians and collecting ethnographic objects for the Musée de l’Homme. During this fieldtrip, they were kept busy collecting artefacts, taking photographs, shooting film. From the late nineteenth century, the Bororo Indians fascinated not just scientists and scholars interested in salvaging something of the ‘primitive mentality’, but also adventurers seeking to profit from the popular attraction of images of the ‘vanishing primitive’, such as the Canadian explorer and filmmaker Aloha Baker, who spent several months in Mato Grosso in 1930-1931. In this paper I juxtapose the work of Aloha Baker with that of Claude Lévi-Strauss in order to, firstly, reflect on the status of ethnographic film and photography within the context of a longer tradition in the visual production of knowledge concerning culture and ‘race’, reaching back at least to the scientific expeditions of the early nineteenth century. My second purpose is to examine anthropologists’ ambivalence about the role of the visual, especially their fraught relationship to popular culture. Finally, this extended body of images – especially when studied alongside contemporaneous written accounts – offers glimpses into the dynamics of cross-cultural encounters in the context of rapid, and violent, modernization.


    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies, Centre for (CILAVS), Birkbeck Knowledge Lab
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2014 13:41
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:35


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