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Picturing Place: The Anthropology of Race, Class and Community

Date Feb 21, 2018
Type Panel

Photographers Brenda Ann Kenneally and Danna Singer created frank depictions of the communities in which they were raised through their Upstate Girls and If It Rained an Ocean projects. These photographic series portray the realities of intergenerational poverty, and a complicated tangle of signification, race, and class. In this program, Kenneally and Singer are in conversation with anthropologist and University of Texas at Austin Professor John Hartigan Jr., who draws on his own work across an array of methods, topics, and cultural studies to examine these topics, as well as what it means to portray, embed in, and study one's own community.


Brenda Ann Kenneally is a mother and an independent journalist who lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her long-term projects are intimate portraits of social issues that intersect where the personal is political. The result of a decade of reporting, Kenneally's book and web publication Money, Power, Respect: Pictures of My Neighborhood have received numerous awards: the W. Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography, a Soros Criminal Justice Fellowship, the Mother Jones Documentary Photography Award, and the International Prize for Photojournalism in Gijon Spain. In 2006 the multimedia component won the Best of Photojournalism Award for overall Best Use of the Web by the National Press Photographers Association. Kenneally is working to push the boundaries of the social document, using the web as a tool to expand and contextualize her immersion style of reporting.

Danna Singer is a working fine artist, educator, and curator. She was born in 1971 in New Brunswick, New Jersey and was raised in Toms River, New Jersey. Singer received her BFA in from the Pratt Institute in 2010 and received her MFA from Yale University in 2017. She was awarded the Juncture Fellowship in 2016 from the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights/Yale Law School for her Roma project. She has worked on photographic projects for Yale University, the ACLU, and the New Yorker, among others. She currently lives and works in Philadelphia and New Jersey.

John Hartigan is a professor in the department of Anthropology and director of the Américo Paredes Center for Cultural Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His most recent book, Aesop’s Anthropology (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), broadly reflects on multispecies dynamics, theorizing culture across species lines, principally by considering nonhuman forms of sociality. Hartigan recently completed three years of comparative ethnographic research in Mexico and Spain on plant science and biodiversity projects, which will be the subject of his forthcoming book, Care of the Species: Cultivating Biodiversity in Mexico and Spain (Minnesota, 2017). Hartigan’s other books include Racial Situations: Class Predicaments of Whiteness in Detroit (Princeton, 1999), Odd Tribes: White Trash, Whiteness and the Uses of Cultural Analysis (Duke, 2005), and What Can You Say? America’s National Conversation on Race (Stanford 2010). He recently edited Anthropology of Race: Genes, Biology, and Culture (2014), based on a seminar he chaired at the School of Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico.