Associate Professor — Ph.D., University of Alberta
Siberia, Central Siberia, Indigenous Siberians, Evenki, Evenkiia, Reindeer hunting and herding, Travel and mobility, Socialist colonialism, early forms of Sovietization. Visual and intermedia ethnography
2016-2016 Fellow of the Cornell Society for the Humanities and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.
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.
REE 345 • Cultures And Ecologies
44570 • Fall 2016
Meets F 100pm-400pm CLA 1.108
(also listed as ANT 325L)
This seminar examines the anthropology of “nature” and “natural resources,” with particular attention to the communities in the arctic and subarctic regions. We will use ethnographies to learn about the cultures of peoples who inhabit northern latitudes (e.g. Russia, Alaska, Canada), especially their cosmological modes of belief and their ecological ways of life. We will explore the complexities of culture change through the lens of colonialism and question the popular misconceptions that these peoples are out-of-time with the ‘modern’ world. Climate change is disproportionately affecting northern peoples, and the imperiled arctic has been caught in the global politics of energy. We will engage in a nuanced exploration of human experience framed against industrialism and extractive economies in the North, along the way considering controversial topics such as energy futures and the ends of history.
Flags: Global Cultures, Independent Inquiry, Writing
REE S325 • Traveling Culture
88160 • Summer 2011
Meets MTWTH 100pm-300pm SAC 4.118
(also listed as ANT S325L)
Travelling ideas, images, artifacts, and people have troubled traditional scholarly notions of bounded cultures and cultural wholes. Mobilities are about boundaries and passages: conceptual and actual rifts and ruptures. This course will look specifically at mobility as a point of inquiry into questions of identity, community, belonging, place and landscape, art, representation, cultural difference, experience, and history. Both major and minor travels or mobilities are suggestive not only of engaging bodily with the world but also of spectatorship, looking, and being looked at. From mundane experiences of sauntering and wandering, to ritualized forms of travel as well as life-changing displacements we will explore mobility as generative of cultural exchange (marking sameness and difference), hybridization, exploration, and play.
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:
Image: Scene from our 2012 exhibition in San Francisco (Audible Observatories)
In 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