American Studies

Craig Campbell

Affiliate FacultyPh.D., University of Alberta

Associate Professor
Craig Campbell



ethnography, documentary images, Siberia, reindeer hunting and herding, travel and mobility, Socialist colonialism, early forms of Sovietization, location and place



My research has most recently been concerned with the realm of ethnographic and documentary images. The research and visual experiments that I undertake explore the possibility for failed, defaced, degraded, manipulated, and damaged photographs to activate interpretive fields typically unacknowledged in conventional ethnographies and histories. This intermedia and aesthetic approach pushes the sensuousness of the world back into an intellectual and scholarly understanding of it. This work necessarily involves careful attention to archives and archival theory.

Ethnographic and regional interests:  Siberia, Central Siberia, Indigenous Siberians, Evenki, Evenkiia, Reindeer hunting and herding, Travel and mobility, location and place, Socialist colonialism, early forms of Sovietization.

For more information about my projects, publications, and other activities please visit my website:

I am the director of the Intermedia Workshop, a laboratory of visual and sensory ethnography.




Ethnographic Terminalia

In the Autumn of 2009 I began working with some colleagues on a project I called Ethnographic Terminalia.  The idea behind it was to create an initiative that would help promote intellectual and practical conversations between ethnography, cultural and historical research and contemporary art.  We wanted to raise the profile of unconventional and experimental visual anthropology beyond the purvue of museums and cinemas. Since 2009 we have held annual exhibitions and featured dozens of experimental works in research-based art.

You can read more about our project and explore past exhibitions on our website:

Ethnographic Terminalia

Image: Scene from our 2012 exhibition in San Francisco (Audible Observatories)



Agitating Images

Photography against History in Indigenous Siberia

2014 • Author: Craig Campbell

Agitating Images
Photography against History in Indigenous SiberiaIn Agitating Images, Craig Campbell draws a rich and unsettling cultural portrait of the encounter between indigenous Siberians and Russian communists and reveals how photographs from this period complicate our understanding of this history. Ultimately, this book demonstrates how photographs go against accepted premises of Soviet Siberia and dissects our very understanding of the production of historical knowledge.


"The archival turn has had a sobering effect on recent attempts to grapple with the histories of photography but for the best studies––like Craig Campbell’s––the archive itself is part of the historical problem: its internal mechanisms, its effects of power, its production of truth and its techniques of forgetting and erasure––all effects that, as Campbell shows in this highly original work of excavation and disruption, can never be entirely secured against the arbitrariness and disfunction of the archival machine and the troubling liability of archival photographs to slip and slide out of place."

— John Tagg, Binghamton University

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