Dr Anita Herle (BA, M.Phil, PhD, FRAI) is Senior Curator for World Anthropology, with particular responsibility for North America, the Pacific (Melanesia) and Asia. She has regional interests in Canada (Northwest Coast), Torres Strait (Australia), Vanuatu and more generally in the Pacific. Her research topics include the anthropology of museums, collaborative anthropology, the early history of British anthropology, art and aesthetics, and visual anthropology. She has coordinated the MPhil course in Social Anthropology and Museums for the Department of Social Anthropology for over fifteen years, and also teaches in the anthropology of art and visual media.
Anita Herle writes:
My research is concerned with a range of ethnographic and disciplinary contexts for the Museum's collections and their many contemporary resonances. Within the history of British anthropology, my work has explored the intersection between different knowledge systems, the complex intersubjective relations that develop in the anthropological field and the potency of objects and photographs in relational encounters.
I am committed to the anthropological museum as a crucial site for scholarly and artistic research and expression, a place that brings together contemporary anthropological research with the concerns of originating communities and a range of specialist interests. Much of my research has resulted in the production of collaborative innovative exhibitions, both at MAA and elsewhere. Most recently, as part of a Leverhulme-funded interdisciplinary research project "Changing Beliefs of the Human Body" (2005 - 2009), and with additional support from the Wellcome Trust and the Arts Council, I was the lead curator for "Assembling Bodies: Art, Science and Imagination" (March 2009 - November 2010). See http://maa.cam.ac.uk/assemblingbodies. "Assembling Bodies", requiring close engagement with a wealth of divergent materials, disciplines and practioners continues to be an illuminating and open-ended research project.
Anita will be curating and working with Rachel and Nondumiso and the Bambanani Group to create the Exhibition Unlimited Global Alchemy at the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology Cambridge.