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  Shelly Errington

Shelly Errington

Professor Emerita

831-459-4667 (dept office)

831-459-5900 (Fax)


Social Sciences Division

Anthropology Department
Rachel Carson College

Professor Emerita


History of Art/Visual Culture
Digital Arts and New Media


Social Sciences 1

Social Sciences 1, room 407

Social Sciences 1 Faculty Services

Shelly Errington was born in New Orleans, had grade school in Latin America and high school in India, and spent a year as an undergraduate (B.A. Newcomb [Tulane]) studying political theory at the L.S.E. At Cornell for her Ph.D., she studied Anthropology with James Siegel, Southeast Asia with Ben Anderson, and Social Anthropology with Victor Turner. She has done extended fieldwork in Papua-New Guinea, Indonesia, and Mexico. In 2003-4 she spent a sabbatical studying documentary film and multimedia at the Graduate School of Journalism at U.C.Berkeley.

Errington has always been drawn to the arts (plastic, photographic, moving images, and performance) and by technologies used to create, shape, and distribute them. In recent decades she has written on the discourses and markets for the arts and crafts of marginal peoples, and she continues that work in both writing and a bilingual documentary video currently (Spring 2012) in post-production, El Oficio del Arte / the Work of Art. She exhibits photographs and has illustrated scholarly works with her humorous line drawings. Her current work concerns Contemporary Tribal Arts --or, ¿what happens to the arts of marginalized peoples when a lot of their production is geared to the market, from High Art to kitsch and souvenirs? She imagines this research as the sequel to her book The Death of Authentic Primitive Art and Other Tales of Progress, which was published at the end of the 20th century.

Errington was supported financially in graduate school by a Danforth Fellowship and a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. She has spent a year each at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral and Social Sciences at Stanford. She was in the first group of MacArthur Prize Fellows.

Anth 194V Picturing Culture - this senior seminar concentrates on visual semiotics and visual representations of humans
Anth 154 Multimedia Ethnography - for students who want to make a 6 minute MM (not video) piece based on fieldwork, using ambient sound and interviews
Anth 120 Culture through Film This lecture course examines some documentary themes, styles and filmmakers relevant to anthropology
Anth 132 Photography and Anthropology - History and Criciticsm and some practice
Anth 80J Visual Culture Introduction to a broad range of issues in analyzing visible culture

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