yelling, crawling and rolling. Later, they begin to show some animal-like behavior: hissing, roaring and moving on all fours. This is my fieldwork. The place is Java, the Special Region of Yogyakarta. Pawang is a kind of ritual specialist believed to be capable of controlling animals, spirits, and other invisible forces. But more commonly, or so it seems, pawangs apply their powers in controlling possession or inducing and then ending the state of trance during jathilan dance. This dance is the focus of my attention. And this research is my second shot at trying to have an academic career. I came a long way: from the field as abstract as the history of Western philosophy and the land as distant as Russia. Running away from minimal wages, long teaching hours, and impossibly high expectations about presenting and publishing, I found my new passion as far away from the notions of enlightened modernity or cynical postmodernity as possible.
Each entry in the “Single Shot” visual anthropology series presents a single photograph or unbroken shot of video taken during ethnographic fieldwork, plus a short description, with an emphasis on the researcher’s reflexive experience. The series editor is Dr. Natasha Fijn. Submit your own Single Shots to firstname.lastname@example.org. Author: Dr. Marcus Baynes-Rock is an anthropologist … Continue reading Single Shot: Poisoned Hyena
In this case, I caught a brief moment of anticipation: a troop of men walking single file through the forest, carrying fresh-cut throwing staves called bhole, preparing to raid the villages of their friends and neighbors and steal away their chickens and produce.
It’s our hope that the format — short-form, multi-media, digitally-native — will offer a complementary space for visual anthropologists to share their work, and spark debate on the uses of images and image-making in ethnography.