The Arhuacos, film, and the politics of representing the 'other' in Colombia

Lulkowska, Agata (2018) The Arhuacos, film, and the politics of representing the 'other' in Colombia. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Arts > Iberian & Latin American Studies
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2018 15:31
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2019 13:13
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/353

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