Ethnographic Video Online

As someone who both makes and teaches visual anthropology, I have long decried how difficult it is to access and research ethnographic films. Back in high school I relied on the now-defunct Donnell Library to do a research paper, and I’ve yet to find anything comparable – until now. I impressed with the initial efforts of Alexander Street Press’s Ethnographic Video Online website. The site is clunky compared with other online video sites (Vimeo, Youtube, etc.) and the collection, while quite broad, is far from comprehensive; but it offers lots of classic films and some great tools for researchers, like the ability to create “playlists” and see a scrolling transcript of the film as you watch it. (Here is a playlist I made on “Denotified Tribes.”)

Till the end of August you can try it out for free with the username: “ethnography” and the password: “sneakpeek”.

(Thanks to Jayasinhji Jhala for the link.)

3 thoughts on “Ethnographic Video Online

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    This is their “About Us” Statement:

    “IsumaTV is an independent interactive network of Inuit and Indigenous multimedia. IsumaTV uses the power and immediacy of the Web to bring people together to tell stories and support change.

    Our tools enable Indigenous people to express reality in their own voices: views of the past, anxieties about the present and hopes for a more decent and honorable future. Our sincere goal is to assist people to listen to one another, to recognize and respect diverse ways of experiencing our world, and honor those differences as a human strength.

    IsumaTV uses new networking technology to build a new era of communication and exchange among Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and communities around the globe.”

  2. Many thanks for the post on Alexander Street’s “Ethnographic Video Online.” Just wanted to point out that the collection is growing–we have about 400 films totaling just over 270 hours now, but it will grow to include more than 750 films totaling more than 1,000 hours at completion.

    We’re also eager to get feedback on the site, so please do send any suggestions for films to include, functionality, interface to–we’re definitely listening and eager to hear.

    The free access credentials posted here are good through August, but we can set up longer trials as needed, just let us know.

  3. I used this for an introductory anthropology class with much success this summer…Kerim is right about the clunkiness but the amount of classics in the library is great and frees up classtime and syllabi pretty well

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