We can use this page to post links to films, photos, or articles that explore identity and/or use the methods and forms of ethnography. As we watch some of these films, consider ways you might use similar methods to construct and present your work. Or use the discussion tab above to pose questions, share ideas, or make suggestions about films you feel might be valuable to the class.

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The Devil's Playground
The Devil's Playground (2002) is a documentary film directed by Lucy Walker and based on the ethnographic work Rumspringa, by Tom Schactman. The film details the insulated culture of the Amish and follows several teenage informants from different Amish families as they go through the rite of passage called "Rumspringa." The Amish believe that children cannot be baptised as full members of the church until they are old enough to freely choose the path for themselves. As a result, when Amish children reach the age of "consent" (about fourteen), they are allowed to live in the "English" world until they decide that a life within the Amish community is what they really want.


thin.jpg Thin
Feminist-minded photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield details the ravaging physical and mental effects of anorexia nervosa by following four anorexic women between the ages of 15 and 30 as they struggle to recover from their illness over the course of six excruciating months at a Florida residential treatment center. As the complexity of the disorder emerges through scenes in which the afflicted struggle through dispiriting weigh-ins, revealing therapy sessions, and painful meal times, Greenfield offers a revealing look at the devastating effects of a media driven by impossibly high standards of physical beauty. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide


Assignment sheet for Lauren Greenfield's Thin. Click the link to view the full assignment.

born_into_brothels.jpg In Born into Brothels, directors Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman chronicle the amazing transformation of the children they come to know in the red-light district. Briski, a professional photographer, came here in 1998 to photograph Calcutta's prostitutes, but soon turned her focus on their children. She decided to become a teacher to the children, giving them cameras and lessons in photography that ignited latent sparks of artistic talent and, in a few cases, genius. In turn, the photographs taken by the children - Kochi, Shanti, Avijit, Suchitra, Manik, Gour, Tapasi and Puja - are not merely examples of remarkable observation and talent. They reflect something much larger, morally encouraging, and even politically volatile: art as an immensely liberating and empowering force. (http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/born_into_brothels/synopsis.html )


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Professor Mike Wesch and his undergraduate anthropology class at Kansas State University conducted ethnographic research on the YouTube community by participating through the use of webcams and video blogging and observing by watching a wide variety of uploaded videos. Click on the link below to watch the film they created from their research.
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**Kansas State University Anthropology's Digital Ethnography of YouTube**

In class assignment:
As you watch the digital ethnography on YouTube, take notes and consider the following questions:
  1. What questions are Wesch and his students trying to ask and answer with this digital ethnography?
  2. What kinds of information does Wesch include for those unfamiliar with YouTube?
  3. What themes and conflicts arise as the research continues?
  4. How do Wesch and the students from KSU present these conflicts and issues for viewers?