The Ones That Are Wanted: Communication and the Politics of Representation in a Photographic Exhibition

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9780520222823: The Ones That Are Wanted: Communication and the Politics of Representation in a Photographic Exhibition

The Okiek people of Kenya's forested highlands have a long history of hunting, honey gathering, and trading with their Maasai and Kipsigis neighbors; several decades ago, they also began farming and herding. This book follows a traveling exhibition of anthropologist Corinne Kratz's photographs of the Okiek through showings at seven venues, including the National Museum in Nairobi and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Kratz tells the story of the exhibition--the stereotypes it sought to challenge, how commentaries by Okiek people were incorporated, and different ways that viewers in Kenya and the United States understood it. In addition to presenting wonderful images of a little-known people, this inviting book explores the exhibition medium itself, focusing on the complexities and possibilities of cultural representation.

Walking a fine line between the photographic intimacy of a family album and the ethnographic distance of documentary photography, The Ones That Are Wanted reproduces the exhibition in full, with its vibrant color photographs, multilingual captions, and lively commentary. Throughout, Kratz incorporates insightful reflections on her changing involvement with the exhibition as anthropologist, photographer, and curator, and she provides perceptive discussions of such topics as photography in Kenya, stereotypes, and the post-1970s proliferation of the politics of representation.

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From the Inside Flap:

" The Ones That Are Wanted is a tour de force by virtue of the variety of expertises that Corinne Kratz brings together as photographer, researcher, curator, evaluator, and analyst of the exhibition and its reception. The book sustains its focus on the Okiek, pursues a coherent set of issues in depth, grounds the argument in a rich empirical account, and expands out to theoretical and ethical issues that transcend the immediate case. Kratz's theoretical sophistication pertains not only to the ethnographic study of culture, but also to the politics of representation and the particular nature of photography and exhibition as media."—Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, author of Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage

"Corinne Kratz establishes a new benchmark for visual anthropology, and more generally for the photographic exhibit and the photographic essay forms. She not only brings together extraordinary photography with intimate knowledge of the individuals, rituals, and history of costume changes. She has the Okiek comment, providing an experiential insiders sensibility to the exhibit. And finally, she puts the exhibit into motion, ethnographically observing the exhibit's reception by very different audiences. It becomes a polyvocal communicative performance piece transcending our usual notions of photographic books and exhibits."—Michael M.J. Fischer, co-author of Anthropology as Cultural Critique: An Experimental Moment in the Human Sciences

"An exciting and groundbreaking work involving the innovative use of photography in cross-cultural discourse, that brings with it advances in method, theory and interpretation in visual anthropology."—Howard Morphy, Director of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, Australian National University, and author of Aboriginal Art (Art & Ideas)

About the Author:

Corinne A. Kratz is Associate Professor of Anthropology and African Studies at Emory University and the author of Affecting Performance: Meaning, Movement, and Experience in Okiek Women's Initiation (1994).

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