St Cross Alumna Receives Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize

St Cross College Alumna Emilie Le Febvre (DPhil Anthropology, 2016) is the joint winner (together with Dr Yasmine Laveille) of the 2017 British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize for her thesis “Tracing Visual Knowledge: the presence and value of images for Bedouin history and society in the Negev” written under the supervision of Prof Marcus Banks and Dr Cedric Parizot. The Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize is awarded annually to the writer of the best PhD dissertation on a Middle Eastern topic in the Social Sciences or Humanities.

According to the judges, Emilie’s thesis “is a very well-written and argued work that examines a much-neglected community, the Bedouin in the Negev, and their use of digital images and visualisation to respond to, and represent, their history themselves. Situated in anthropological approaches that combine situated fieldwork, participant observation, interviews, social biographies and intensive archival research, the author meticulously uses existing scholarship and empirical data to map what she calls ‘nested visual economies’ characterising Bedouin society in the Negev to interrogate Bedouin iconography, describing members’ own growing command of visual technologies over the last twenty years and the cultural principles that influence the visual practices in their society. The thesis offers a fresh perspective that not only moves out of dominant approaches to understanding their everyday lives and relations to the wider Israeli/Palestinian populations and histories, but also…dominant academic arguments about the role of media technologies... Another interesting aspect of the fieldwork is the discussion around the dislocation of original images from their original material constraints and spatial contexts and their re-appearance in other spaces...These areas of study remain little discussed in the burgeoning scholarship on digital images and digital story-telling. This is a solid thesis that merits recognition.”

Emilie is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford.


Ella Bedrock

Tuesday 8 August 2017