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Richard Chalfen, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus

Email: rchalfen@temple.edu
Link to my web page.


I am now Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and reside in Boston, MA where I have been appointed Senior Scientist for the Center on Media and Child Health at Children's Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School. I continue to offer a summer seminar/workshop with Dr. Lindsey Powell in Japanese Visual Culture at Temple University Japan located in Tokyo. Given on both undergraduate and graduate levels, this program enrolls a limited number of students on a competitive international basis.
Prospective applicants should contact Dr. Powell at lindseypowell@msn.com

My long term interests continue to include the development and diversification of human mediascapes accompanied by alternative systems of meaning that vary across different interpretive communities where significance is culturally structured and shared in different ways. I have examined alternative pictorial human expression, performance and communication. Images under study have come from: past and contemporary settings; domestic, international and cross-cultural contexts; public and private domains; and mass- as well as home-media. Field research has included work with Navajo adults living in Pine Springs, Arizona, African-American teenagers and middle-class Anglo-American teenagers from urban Philadelphia, Japanese-Americans living in Los Angeles and Gallup, New Mexico, and, most recently, Japanese families living in Tokyo. In all cases, analysis has featured relationships between what is expressed in visual ways and how people from different sociocultural backgrounds organize their own pictorial communication.

Current interests center more on relationships of applied visual anthropology and medical contexts, both domestically and internationally. I continue research on the social organization of Japanese amateur photography and home media with new attention to Japan. While at Temple, I became a member of both the Asian Studies and American Studies faculties which allowed me to introduce new courses on connections between U.S. and Japanese cultures. In turn, I am attending more to the communication foundations of pedagogical practices in Japanese and American classrooms with applications to problems in international education.

Selected publications:

2008 Shinrei Shashin: Photographs of Ghosts in Japanese Snapshots. Photography & Culture 1(1): 51-72.

2007a Amateur Photography and Movies. Entry for _The International Encyclopedia of Communications_, Wolfgang Donsbach, Editor. Boston, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

2007b Combining the Applied, the Visual and the Medical: Patients Teaching Physicians with Visual Narratives (with Michael Rich). _Visual Interventions_, Sarah Pink (ed). Oxford & New York: Berghan Books. Pp. 57-73.

2007c The Worth/Adair Navajo Experiment — Unanticipated Results and Reactions.” _Memories of the Origins of Visual Anthropology_ edited by Beate Engelbrecht (Peter Lang Publishers, Frankfurt/M. et al, New York, Bern and Brussels), pp. 165-75.

2007d If Tiles Could Talk... The Visual Life of a Senior Ceramic Tiles Project. _Visual Studies_. Special Issue on The Visible Curriculum, 22(1): 31-41.

2007e Photographs Answering Questions -- A Summer School in Visual Sociology (with Patrizia Faccioli, John Grady, Doug Harper, Pino Losacco and Charles Suchar). _Visual Studies_
22(1): 85-94.

2005a Looking at Japanese Society: Hashiguchi George as Visual Sociologist. _Visual Studies_ 20(2):140-158.

2005b Le meta-immagini dei giornali nella cultura visiva contemporanea (Newspaper Meta-Pictures in Contemporary Visual Culture). _DESK_ 7(3): 17-19.

2004a Electronic Demonstration Portfolios for Visual Anthropology Major. Journal of Educational Media, 29(1):37-48.

2004b (November) Applying Visual Research: Patients Teaching Physicians through Visual Illness Narratives (with Michael Rich). In Special Issue of Visual Anthropology Review (VAR) on "Applied Visual Anthropology".

2002 Snapshots "R" Us: The Evidentiary Problematic of Home Media. In Visual Studies 17(2): 141-49.

2001 Print Club Photography in Japan: Framing Social Relationships. Visual Sociology (with Mai Murui), 16(1): 55-73. (also as: Print Club in Giappone: frame che rappresentano frame. In Altre Parole - Idee per una sociologia della comunicazione visuale, ed. Patrizia Faccioli, Milan, Italy: FrancoAngeli, pp. 219-52 (with Mai Murui).

1999 Showing and Telling Asthma: Children Teaching Physicians with Visual Narratives. Visual Sociology (with Michael Rich), 14: 51-71.

1996 Through Navajo Eyes-An Exploration in Film Communication and Anthropology.(revised/expanded 2nd edition) Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press (with John Adair and Sol Worth).

1992 Picturing Culture Through Indigenous Imagery: A Telling Story. Film As Ethnography, Peter Crawford and David Turton (eds.), Manchester: University of Manchester Press, pp. 222-241.

1991 Turning Leaves: The Photograph Collections of Two Japanese American Families. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.

1987 Snapshot Versions of Life. Bowling Green, OH: The Popular Press, also as Sorrida, Prego! La Costruzione visuale della vita quitidiana, University of Bologna Press (1996).

1981 A Sociovidistic Approach to Children's Filmmaking: The Philadelphia Project. Studies in Visual Communication 7(1):2-33.

Department of Anthropology | Gladfelter Hall, second floor | 1115 West Berks Street | Philadelphia, PA 19122
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