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"

VANESSA WIJNGAARDEN, an independent scholar in Nieuw-Vennep, Netherlands, was awarded a Hunt Fellowship in October 2021 to aid research and writing on “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 the voices in academia? Often, Indigenous’ peoples such as Maasai, consider cultural tourism and academic research visits almost impossible to distinguish. This research evaluates 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 13 years of reflexive and dialogical fieldwork with Dutch tourists and a North Tanzanian Kisongo Maasai community, it interrogates the interactions between Indigenous, European and academic perspectives and knowledges by employing classical ethnography as well as video-elicitations and dialogues through video-messaging. This monograph is a theoretical companion to (reflexive) audio-visual materials including the award-winning film Maasai Speak Back. It addresses 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.