Museum Anthropology contributor Aaron Glass wrote with the following press release information from the AMNH and Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival :

Dear All, I wanted to let you know about some upcoming Anthropology events at the American Museum of Natural History and the Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival. The Mead is the longest-running, premiere showcase for international documentaries in the U.S., encompassing a broad spectrum of work, from to experimental nonfiction. The Mead exhibits a range of non-fiction films and videos including: indigenous community media, feature documentaries, essay films, experimental works, animation, and more. The Festival is distinguished by its outstanding selection of titles, which tackle diverse and challenging subjects, representing a range of issues and perspectives, and by the forums for discussion with filmmakers and speakers. A complete program can be found on line at See below for the anthropology highlights.
All the best,
Ariella Ben-Dov
Festival Director

Margaret Mead: American Icon
Thursday, November 13, 6:30 p.m. Kaufmann Theater, first floor
$15 ($13.50 Members, students, senior citizens)

Margaret Mead, possibly the best-known, and certainly one of the most controversial, anthropologists in 20th-century America, worked at the Museum for 50 years. Nancy Lutkehaus, Professor of Anthropology, University of Southern California, author of the just-released Margaret Mead: The Making of an American Icon, and Mead’s daughter and granddaughter, Mary Catherine Bateson and Sevanne Kassarjian, and former Life Magazine photographer Ken Hyman present memories and images of this riveting woman. Introduced by Laurel Kendall, Curator, Division of Anthropology, AMNH. A book signing will follow.


Friday, November 14: 7:00 pm
NY Premiere of restored 35mm print
Found in a Chicago area dumpster in 1947, this silent-era melodrama, made by American photographer Edward S. Curtis and featuring performances by the Kwakwaka’wakw of British Columbia, has finally been restored with help of the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Set in a time when the First Nation peoples had not yet encountered Europeans, the film tells of Motana, the chief’s son, who must overcome many challenges in the spirit and physical world to woo and win the lovely Naida, a young girl whose bewitching dancing has the power to save her from the evil Sorcerer. This film screens with live musical accompaniment by the Coast Orchestra, a Native American classical ensemble conducted by Timothy Long. Discussion with Chief Bill Cranmer and William Wasden, Jr. from the U’mista Cultural Centre to follow film. See

AMNH and the 32nd Annual Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival presents two special programs which highlights pioneers in anthropology:

Considered the father of modern anthropology, Franz Boas worked extensively with the Kwakwaka’wakw people of British Columbia, recording their culture, language, and mythology using ever-pioneering techniques. From these many exchanges, lasting relationships formed and anthropological theories were devised and revised. In this celebration of the 150th year of Boas’s birth, Revisiting Franz Boas and the Northwest Coast honors his contribution to anthropology and his revolutionary use of the visual image to examine human behavior. Through films and discussions, we will examine the impact of anthropological studies on the Kwakwaka’wakw and how this First Nation has reclaimed their right to define themselves. Also in celebration of Boas’s legacy, the Mead presents Visions of Zora Neale Hurston. A renowned writer and Harlem Renaissance intellectual, Hurston studied with Boas at Barnard College. Under his tutelage, she used the moving image to capture communities in action as part of her anthropological fieldwork. A diverse panel of speakers shares photography, archival films, and anecdotes as a tribute to Hurston’s pioneering work.

The programs:


Saturday, November 15: 2:00 pm
In honor of the sesquicentennial of the birth of Franz Boas, the Mead revisits the culture of the Kwakwaka’wakw, possibly the most heavily studied First Nation peoples. Chief Bill Cranmer and dancer William Wasden, Jr. from the U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay, British Columbia, along with AMNH anthropologist Aaron Glass, will present clips from Glass’s “In Search of the Hamat’sa” (2004) and Chuck Olin’s “Box of Treasures” (1983), which when viewed together expose the changing face of anthropological studies and testify to the tenacity of this culture threatened with extinction. Program F10


Sunday, November 16: 4:30 pm
Deborah Willis, photographer and historian of African American photography at New York University, and Lonnie Graham, photographer and professor of fine art at Penn State University, present photographs from Embracing Eatonville, their 2003 collection of images of the United States’ first all-Black municipality and childhood home of Harlem Renaissance author and accomplished anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. Elaine Charnov, director, Education, Exhibitions and Programs at the New York Public Library, presents orphan archival footage from Hurston’s fieldwork, tells of their discovery, and discusses some of the author’s pioneering work as an early ethnographic filmmaker. Multi-media presentation and panel discussion.

For more information go to or email You can order tix on line or call 212 769-5200.


“Moving Pictures: The Celluloid Archive, Indigenous Agency, and the Work of Edward S. Curtis.”

On November 13, 12-4PM, Rutgers University will host an interdisciplinary symposium that takes the recently restored 1914 silent film/ In the Land of the Head Hunters/, directed by Edward S. Curtis and featuring the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations of British Columbia, as a springboard for the reassessment of Curtis’s work and contemporary issues in film and art history, cultural anthropology, literary studies, and indigenous politics. Invited guests include:

Brad Evans (Rutgers University)
Kate Flint (Rutgers University, English)
Aaron Glass (American Museum of Natural History and Bard Graduate Center)
Alison Griffiths (Baruch College/CUNY, Communications and Film History)
Jolene Rickard (Cornell University, History of Art)
Alan Trachtenberg (Yale University, American Studies)
Shamoon Zamir (King’s College, University of London, American Studies).

This symposium is sponsored by the Center for Race and Ethnicity, the Center for Cultural Analysis, and the Rutgers American Studies Department. It compliments public screenings of the film, with live orchestral accompaniment by The Coast Orchestra, at the National Gallery of Art on November 9 and the American Museum of Natural History on November 14. It will take place at the Alexander Library, Fourth Floor Teleconference Room, Rutgers University, New Brunswick. It is free and open to the public.

For more information, see

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