Africa’s Diamond Mines and the Contradictions of Visual Anthropology

Daniel Hoffman (University of Washington)

Membership Lecture, The New Mexico History Museum Auditorium

Thursday, November 4, 2010, 6:30–7:30 pm

Dr. Daniel Hoffman at his lecture “Africa’s Diamond Mines”

Dr. Daniel Hoffman admiring Julie Graber’s photographs at the SAR sponsored show “Freetown, Sierra Leone.”Dr. Daniel Hoffman during his lecture “Africa’s Diamond Mines and the Contradictions of Visual Anthropology.”
Audience members at membership lecture “Africa’s Diamond Mines and the Contradictions of Visual Anthropology.”Dr. Daniel Hoffman standing in front of the projection screen as he fields questions from audience members after his lecture “Africa’s Diamond Mines and the Contradictions of Visual Anthropology.”

For Dr. Daniel Hoffman, the anthropologist with a camera, the diamond mines of West Africa present definite contradictions. Deep in the West African rainforest, mines on the Sierra Leone and Liberia border are politically volatile, dangerous landscapes. Yet the mines are also strangely beautiful, where the vibrant forest canopy, the hues of yellow mud, and the poetics of laboring bodies create striking visual portraits of postcolonial Africa. What does it mean to be a visual anthropologist today—simultaneously a witness, an archivist, and an artist, roles that are frequently contradictory and challenging to reconcile?

Sponsored by VERVE Gallery

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