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The Society for Visual Anthropology's Visual Research Conference: The First Twenty-Four Years (1985–2008)


  • Joanna Cohan Scherer


The Society for Visual Anthropology's Visual Research Conference (VRC) has been an active presence at the American Anthropological Association (AAA) annual meetings since the mid-1980s. Although critical studies and selected histories of visual anthropology have been written, no history has ever included this Special Event of the AAA. The absence of the VRC in past studies has prompted this history that reviews the first 24 years, from 1985 to 2008. It identifies the 166 participants, their 225 presentations, and many of their associated or resulting publications. It shows that the VRC has stimulated scholarly research in a wide range of anthropological studies, from collaboration with indigenous community to studies of gesture and primate studies, etc. Through statistics and personal testimony, this study reveals the value as well as some problems associated with the VRC.