Transliteracy and polyphonic narrative: a case study
Aston, J. (2010) Transliteracy and polyphonic narrative: a case study. In: Transliteracy Conference, Phoenix Square Digital Media Centre, Leicester, UK, 9 February 2010. [Unpublished]
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This paper will look at the role of transliteracy in the creation of a series of texts relating to a long-term ethnographic study of displacement in the Sudan/Ethiopian borderlands. It will draw on a rich audiovisual archive recorded by the anthropologist, Wendy James, over a forty-year period, which is now being added to by the people themselves. The paper will illustrate ways in which this archive is being used in an ongoing collaboration between the author and Wendy James to explore the role of written texts, film-making and new media in the communication of different aspects of this ongoing ‘story’ to a range of different audiences. It will be argued that transliteracy is a highly appropriate concept through which to look at issues arising from his collaboration, as it recognises the complexities involved in working with sound, text and image across a range of media platforms and within an interdisciplinary context. The intention behind the collaboration is to recognise the centrality of the anthropologist as creator of the archive, whilst at the same time allowing the multiplicity of voices contained within it to come to the fore wherever possible. Drawing on the work of the visual anthropologist, David MacDougall, the paper will focus on the transliteracy competencies that are required for the development and reception of this work.
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