Drawing-writing culture: the truth-fiction spectrum of an ethno-graphic novel on the Sri Lankan civil war and migration

Dix, Benjamin and Kaur, Raminder (2019) Drawing-writing culture: the truth-fiction spectrum of an ethno-graphic novel on the Sri Lankan civil war and migration. Visual Anthropology Review, 35 (1). pp. 76-111. ISSN 1058-7187

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Abstract

With the focus on an ‘ethno-graphic novel’ on the Sri Lankan civil war and the forcible displacement and migration of Tamil survivors, we consider two main propositions as a reflection on, and development of the ‘graphic narrative turn’ that has emerged in anthropology in recent years. First, we inscribe drawing into the ‘writing of cultures’ where words have held a superior status in ethnographic representations. Rather than seeing drawings as secondary to, or merely as perceptive tools for recording experiences during fieldwork, we extend them so as they become part of a representational practice in which they can have a deep, intricate and equivalent entanglement with words to create synchronous affective intensities with research participants and viewers. Our second proposal follows Jean Rouch on cinema vérité to interrogate assumptions about truth and fiction as portrayed by film representations. We propose a theory and practice for graphic novel production that we have termed, vérités graphiques (literally, graphic realities). This describes the collaborative and interactive engagement with people’s contributions and views, and their distillation and fictionalisation through the ethno-graphic form. We diverge from cinema vérité, however, by highlighting a truth-fiction spectrum that further interrogates the presumed objectivity of what is seen, experienced, co-created and revealed.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
School of Global Studies > International Development
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2018 12:11
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 15:02
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/79591

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