Ronald and Catherine Berndt's Fieldwork Drawings: Material Sites of Ethnographic Encounter

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Abstract

This article examines the role of drawings in the fieldwork careers of Australian anthropologists Ronald and Catherine Berndt. This investigation originates from the Berndt Museum of Anthropology at the University of Western Australia, which the Berndts established as the Anthropology Research Museum in 1976 to house materials collected during their ethnographic research. I make use of the Museum’s archive to contextualise three key sets of drawings: the 1945 Birrindudu crayon drawings (around 811 items), the 1945 Katherine ochre drawings (9 items) and the 1947 Yirrkala crayon drawings (365 items). In doing so, I argue that positioned as material sites of ethnographic encounter, these drawings reveal processes of dialogue and exchange that were navigated and shaped by the realities of being ‘in the field’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-157
Number of pages20
JournalAnthropological Forum: a journal of social anthropology and comparative sociology
Volume32
Issue number2
Early online dateSep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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