Edward Herbst

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Independent Scholar

Grant number

Gr. 9538

Approve Date

October 11, 2017

Project Title

Herbst, Dr. Edward W., Independent Scholar, East Otis, MA - To aid research on 'Research and Ethnography of Early Film Footage Documenting Arts, Life, Ritual, and Natural Environment in Bali (1930--1938)'

To conduct fieldwork that will provide context and identify performers and other participants in more than five hours of previously unavailable silent film footage shot in Bali between 1930 and 1938 by Colin McPhee, Miguel Covarrubias, and Rolf de Mar’ with Claire Holt, as well as 150 archival photographs by these and other 1930s ethnographers. The original footage was almost entirely without identification by the filmmakers, making this research essential for the purposes of scholarship and repatriation. This is the final phase of research for a book-length ethnography, cultural history and analysis of music from 1928 and 1930s films to be published with multimedia in the U.S. and Indonesia (translated). My documentation and research among near-centenarian and younger musicians, singers, dancers, actors, priests, and scholars illuminates a decade of creativity and loss of ancient traditions; the trauma of colonialism and decentralization of the arts from royal courts to local villages with some innovations geared to tourists while still reflecting indigenous tastes; and a generation later, recentralization by academic systemization. Dialogic methodologies with a team of Balinese artist-scholars illustrate repatriation as a means to facilitate intersubjective collaboration; investigating from a temporal distance, each of us providing resources as modes of understanding, perception and analysis intertwine. Circumstances of loss, re-acquisition and revival have broad implications, stimulating cultural memory and new approaches to scholarship.