Association for Feminist Anthropology
Retrospective - Oral Presentation Session
My ethnographic work with Kurdish media producers since 2007 has focused on the production aspect of Kurdish media forms. I have approached production broadly, as the long process that includes the early phases of project formation, fundraising, and research, through shooting, editing, subtitling, and exhibition. I include as a stage of production the circulation of these films, their reviews, and agents’ subsequent dissemination of their approach to filmmaking through public relations and interactions with the press as ways of maintaining a political agenda on the international stage. These processes are lenses on cultural politics. The organization of production is a domain through which “power is circulated, claimed, displayed, created, disputed, and exercised” (Stoeltje 1993: 141). The production of Kurdish media is filled with conflicts through which the dynamics of power come into existence. Observing how agents recreate and resolve these conflicts reveals the historical and current conversations that discursively frame these media performances under construction. In this presentation, I focus on the production of a particular scene from The Last Season Shawaks, a documentary about a nomadic Kurdish tribe. In the scene, a tribal woman speaks to the camera about her exploitative husband who then intervenes in the shooting as the shooting seemingly disturbs the status queue. The shooting of the scene constitutes a lens on cultural politics of gender among the Kurdish tribe in focus. It also reveals the emergent hierarchies between the Kurdish tribe whose daily life was on camera and the Kurdish film crew behind the camera.