My primary research project concerns how people used the medium of videotape to experiment with consciousness in the 1960s and 1970s. One of the main methods for such experimentation was mediated self-observation, the practice of recording and then watching oneself. Such techniques appeared decades earlier in ethnographic film, including in the work of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson in Bali and New Guinea in the 1930s. Mead and Bateson went on to be part of the group that developed the new science of cybernetics, which became the framework in which many of my research subjects in the 1960s and 1970s conceptualized the videotape as a new tool for individuals and communities to engage in feedback loops, observing themselves and learning from the experience. Bateson in particular was actively involved in the communities of experimental videographers that emerged in both psychotherapy and the art world in the 1960s, bringing the methods of his cybernetic anthropology to practitioners of other disciplines.
Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands June 9-10, 2017
Abstract deadline: February 3
This two-day conference of the Society for the History of Recent Social Science (HISRESS) will bring together researchers working on the history of post-World War II social science. It will provide a forum for the latest research on the cross-disciplinary history of the post-war social sciences, including but not limited to anthropology, economics, psychology, political science, and sociology as well as related fields like area studies, communication studies, history, international relations, law and linguistics. We are especially eager to receive submissions that treat themes, topics, and events that span the history of individual disciplines.Continue reading
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