Vanessa Wijngaarden

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Independent Scholar

Grant number

Gr. 10194

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Wijngaarden, Vanessa (Independent Scholar) "Multimodality, multivocality and a multitude of knowledges: Transformations in anthropology through reflexive dialogues between researcher, Maasai and tourists"

What role can anthropology play to increase multivocality in academia? Often Indigenous’ peoples, including Maasai I work with, consider cultural tourism and academic research visits almost impossible to distinguish. My research has evaluated the potential of a set of applied multimodal ethnographic techniques to shift positionalities, relationships and imageries with regard to perceived ‘others’ over distance, and contribute to a more symmetrical anthropology. Based on over a decade of reflexive and dialogical fieldwork with Dutch tourists and a Northern Tanzanian Kisongo Maasai community, it has interrogated the interactions between Indigenous, European and academic perspectives and knowledges by employing video-elicitations and dialogues through video-messaging. This has resulted in the award-winning ethnographic feature “Maasai Speak Back” and its accompanying reflexive ‘behind-the-scenes’ short film, which shows how the research and filming processes were negotiated and questioned by the involved participants and researcher. The proposed monograph forms a theoretical companion to these audio-visual outputs, addressing how practical applications of multimodal ethnography –in which the researcher is part of the data, and participants are part of the analysis– can be employed and developed to co-create knowledge with non-scholarly focused or non-reading (Indigenous) people. Evaluating its own approaches, it is a response to worldwide demands to decolonize academic theories and research methods in order to further cognitive justice and a plurality of knowledges in the academe.