Saturday, September 02, 2006

Book: Doug Harper's Good Company: A Tramp Life

Good Company: A Tramp Life, is a vivid portrait of a lifestyle long part of America's history, yet rapidly disappearing. The author traveled extensively by freight train to gain rich insights into the elusive world of the tramp.
Richly illustrated with 85 photographs by the author, the book presents the homeless man as an individual who "drank, migrated, and worked at day labor" rather than the stereotype of a victim of alcoholism. The tramps with whom Harper shared boxcars and hobo jungles were the labor force that harvested the crops in most of the apple orchards in the Pacific Northwest. They were drawn to the harvest from across the United States and migrated primarily on freight trains, as had hobos in the 1930s. Although not without its problems, the tramp way of life is a fierce and independent culture that has been an integral part of our American identity and an important part of our agricultural economy.

Since the first edition of this classic book was published by the University of Chicago Press, the tramp has virtually disappeared from the American social landscape. The agricultural labor force is now made up of Hispanic migrants. This significantly revised and updated edition contrasts this disappearing lifestyle with the homelessness of the modern era, which has been produced by different economic and sociological forces, all of which have worked against the continuation of the tramp as a social species. The new edition richly documents the transition in our society from "tramps" to urban homelessness and the many social, political, and policy changes attendant to this transformation. It also includes an additional thirty-five previously unpublished photographs from the original research.

Douglas Harper, Professor and Chair of Sociology, Duquesne Univeresity, is the author of Working Knowledge (University of Chicago Press, 1987) and Changing Works: Visions of a Lost Agriculture (University of Chicago Press, 2001).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Book: David MacDougall, The Corporeal Image: Film, Ethnography, and the Senses

In this book, David MacDougall, one of the leading ethnographic filmmakers and film scholars of his generation, builds upon the ideas from his widely praised Transcultural Cinema and argues for a new conception of how visual images create human knowledge in a world in which the value of seeing has often been eclipsed by words.

In ten chapters, MacDougall explores the relations between photographic images and the human body-the body of the viewer and the body behind the camera as well as the body as seen in ethnography, cinema, and photography. In a landmark piece, he discusses the need for a new field of social aesthetics, further elaborated in his reflections on filming at an elite boys' school in northern India. The theme of the school is taken up as well in his discussion of fiction and nonfiction films of childhood. The book's final section presents a radical view of the history of visual anthropology as a maverick anthropological practice that was always at odds with the anthropology of words. In place of the conventional wisdom, he proposes a new set of principles for visual anthropology.

These are essays in the classical sense--speculative, judicious, lucidly written, and mercifully jargon-free. The Corporeal Image presents the latest ideas from one of our foremost thinkers on the role of vision and visual representation in contemporary social thought.

Smithsonian Online Photography Initiative

The Smithsonian's 18 museums, nine research centers, and the National Zoo collectively preserve some 13 million photographs which now, thanks to the Smithsonian Photography Initiative, will begin to be made accessible to researchers online. The images found in some seven hundred collections throughout the Smithsonian are organized by museum and discipline -- for instance, the National Museum of Natural History holds natural science images in its collections, the National Air and Space Museum houses images of flight in its archives, and the National Museum of African Art holds photographs of Africa in its collections. The Smithsonian Photography Initiative is devoted to the presentation and study of these photographic images, viewing photography as an art form, a record keeper, and a cross-disciplinary medium that encompasses science, history, popular culture, and more. Beyond offering more information about where to find photography collections throughout the Smithsonian, a new website aims to be an educational tool, serving anyone who wishes to study, explore, and enjoy photographs of many kinds. To view the website go to: where you will be provided access to some 1,800 digital images, the work of 100 photographers, who used 50 different processes.

Newsfilm Online

Newsfilm Online is planned to be one of the most exciting resources to be offered to Higher and Further Education in the UK. 3,000 hours of television news and cinema newsreels, taken from the huge collection of the ITN/Reuters archive, is to be made available online in high quality format for teaching, learning and research. Newsfilm Online will be a gateway of unmatched richness to nearly one hundred years of news, from the 1910s to the present day.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Launch of Screen Archive South East and the new online resource - Screen Search

South East Film & Video Archive presents its new identity - Screen Archive South East and is delighted to announce the launch of its new online catalogue - Screen Search.
The Screen Archive South East was established at the University of Brighton in 1992 and the name change signifies a new beginning for the collection. The archive's function is to locate, collect, preserve, provide access to and promote research and use of screen material related to the South East of England. The name change captures a wider collection interest for the archive - now focusing not only on film and video but also on the magic lantern and on the new digital media of the 21st Century.
The Screen Archive South East's new website is available at:
The launch of a new e-resource, Screen Search, also means that for first time the archive's unique collection is searchable online. The resource can be found at:
Funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, Screen Search aims to be a key resource for learning, teaching and research in the South East region. It contains an enhanced catalogue of selected films from the Screen Archive South East, plus over 100 film clips and over 250 stills. The resource, which is being added to every week, combines extensive contextual information on the films, with links to reference resources around the region and the UK.
Users can search the collection and find films ranging from temperance protests in Brighton in the early 1900s to 21st century surfers on the South coast. Films from around the South East of England including Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Brighton & Hove and Medway are represented in the archive. Users of the site can also browse the collection, looking at themes such as 'family life' in the region or 'the seaside' on film.
Dr Frank Gray, Director of Screen Archive South East said: "Films connect with living memory and this archive brings the past to life in an exciting and innovative way. This collection represents a unique social, cultural and historical record of the region on film and we are contributing to people's knowledge as well as plugging into the new digital world".

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Finding and Using Audio-Visual Media in Further and Higher Education

Tuesday 16th May 2006: 11am – 4.30pm
Venue: BUFVC, 77 Wells Street, London, W1T 3QJ
Presented by BUFVC specialists Luke McKernan, Sergio Angelini, Murray Weston, Nick Townend and Markeda Cole.
The course programme offers:
  • Practical sessions on the use of audio-visual media in Further and Higher Education
  • An exploration of forms of delivery of audio-visual media – film, video, DVD, audio, CDs, streamed/ downloadable media
  • An insight into the processes of recording of television and radio programmes off-air under licence
  • An understanding of UK copyright with an explanation of exceptions – includes a question and answer session
  • A look at BUFVC services such as HERMES, TRILT and the Moving Image Gateway, and how they are of value to Further and Higher education
  • Information on using the Internet to access moving image resources
Participants will have the opportunity to view the BUFVC's facilities and network with colleagues from other institutions.
This course is suitable for a general audience of those involved in teaching and learning processes. It will be of particular interest to teachers, researchers, librarians, audio-visual and IT service providers in further and higher education institutions.
For more information on this course and other one day courses and workshops please visit our website at or contact Nancy Prall at or on 0207 393 1512.