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Title: The Arhuacos, film, and the politics of representing the 'other' in Columbia
Author: Lulkowska, Agata
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 0534
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis focusses on the contemporary politics of visual representations among the indigenous communities of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. It discusses various methods used to represent the ‘Other’ and reflects on the processes of practicebased research. Centering on the figure of the Arhuaco filmmaker Amado Villafaña and the Zhigoneshi and Yokosovi Collectives which he leads, the thesis argues that his initiatives push indigenous filmmaking towards a more widespread inclusion in mainstream cinema, transcending beyond the indigenous context. The Zhigoneshi’s work focusses on the potentiality of intercultural communication, including its challenges and practicalities. In addition, it provides an alternative to non-indigenous representations of the ‘Other’, fighting for the right of self-representation. This thesis is concerned with the wider context of representing the ‘Other’ in Colombia and beyond, forming part of a practice-based research project which includes a collaborative video documenting the work of Villafaña and his team. The practical part of the research is thoroughly analysed, focusing on its successes, challenges and contributions. The theoretical part of this work considers the rationale behind the projects of indigenous self-representation. Selected film case studies illustrate the contemporary context of practices of representation, while the methodology chapter reflects on the possibilities and limitations of these approaches. This thesis discusses the implications of using audiovisual media to represent and communicate inter-culturally, suggesting that such efforts are often prone to suffer from oversimplifications and stereotyping, especially when the context where they get displayed bears the ‘ethnographic’ label. This thesis concludes by examining the extent to which the struggle demonstrated in Arhuaco filmmaking can result in a positive and constructive outcome, offering a promising change in indigenous representation practices. In addition, the potential for reaching intercultural audiences suggests the emergence of a platform for genuine intercultural dialogue.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available