Beloit College Anthropologist, Associate Professor Jennifer Esperanza was feeling frustrated. Why is there always images of “exotic” peoples on the cover of anthropology textbooks? “Why can’t there be images of, for example, a group of white American women eating salads, on the cover?,” she asked.
The design brief that I offered to my former Swinburne Design Anthropology postgraduate students was the following:
Greetings Danthro Alums. I have a quick weekend project for you to do as a favor. A friend of mine pointed out how all anthropology textbooks have these “exotic” images of others on the covers and never an image of “white women eating salad”.
Me, being Dr. Smarty Pants, said, “Wouldn’t it be great to replace those exotica images with those of middle class American/Australian Caucasians doing stuff, maybe even using stock photos?”
So, I would ask you to select a cover from a cultural anthropology textbook and replace the “exotica” image with an image equivalent of “white women eating salad.”
Design anthropologist, business coach, and branding specialist, Julie Hill accepted the challenge and produced nine images for the project. She describes her experience below:
I found this exercise interesting and fun to explore. Especially focusing on the shift in the lens, from traditional anthropology to contemporary ethnography, and what that means. The longer I did it, the more interesting it got – I accessed deeper cultural themes, such as beauty, festivities or core cultural values.
I found the results of this exercise thrilling and thought-provoking. See what you think. [Read more…]