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Towards a Visual Environmental Humanities in the Digital Era

Filming and Writing as a Bimodal Research Practice


The aim of this project is to explore the added value of filmmaking to the Environmental Humanities. The project is divided in two subprojects examining “cinematic ethnography” with empirical and theoretical contributions to postcolonial urbanism and the Environmental Humanities. The specific aims are to: (i) develop a comparative film case in Uganda and South Africa exploring the film as “added value”; and (ii) organise an international seminar and a filmbased special issue about bimodal film/text practices and the emerging Visual Environmental Humanities.

Concretely, the project works with two on-going research projects of urban waste politics in Uganda and South Africa (funded by Swedish VR and UK’s ESRC). While drawing on their networks and ethnographic expertise, this project adds cinematic ethnography to research waste politics and the environments in which such politics are embedded. The project aligns with calls to re-think the rapid urbanization of Africa beyond the lens of EuroAmerican experiences. The project also addresses the inability of the academy to institutionalize film and visual registers as part of its mode of knowledge production, in spite of the broader visual and digital revolution witnessed since the 1970s. Work will take place at the Environmental Humanities Lab, KTH and thereby place Swedish academia at the center of an emergent cinematic/visual development of the Environmental Humanities.

Funding agency: Formas
Duration: 2017-2020

Belongs to: KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory
Last changed: May 12, 2021