Dr Christopher Morton

Research summary

My research centres on the overlapping histories of photography, anthropology and museum collections. I am interested in how the visual technologies of the past influenced the way that other cultures and societies were understood within European science, and how these legacies continue in the contemporary world. I have conducted long-term anthropological fieldwork in southern Africa, and have research interests in various other African countries, such as Kenya, South Sudan and Nigeria. I have been researching and writing on the South Sudan fieldwork and photography of E.E. Evans-Pritchard since 2003, and am currently working on the manuscript for a monograph on this subject for Oxford University Press. Another strand of my research is on the recirculation of archival photographs in the places they were taken, and the local perceptions and meanings that emerge from this process. As part of this research, I have studied the reception and resocialisation of historical photographs in Nyanza (Western Kenya), as well as South Australia and Western Australia.

CV

Christopher Morton is Head of Research and Curator of Photograph and Manuscript Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum, and a Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford. He trained in History at the University of East Anglia before undertaking an MSt and DPhil in Social and Cultural Anthropology at St Antony’s College, Oxford, between 1995 and 2002. His first post at the Pitt Rivers Museum was in 1997 as a Curatorial Assistant in the Photograph and Manuscript Collections department, where he was appointed Curator in 2006. He has curated over 35 exhibitions at the Museum, and published widely on the histories of anthropology and photography. He is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, serving on its Council as a Trustee in 2016–18, as well as being a member of its Photographic Committee. From 2012 to 2018 he was a Departmental Lecturer at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the University of Oxford. He currently acts as Head of Research and Teaching on the Pitt Rivers Museum’s Executive Board, as well as the digital and research committees of the University of Oxford’s Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM).

Publications

Books and edited volumes

(In press, due for publication January 2020), The Anthropological Lens: Rethinking E. E. Evans-Pritchard. Oxford: Oxford University Press (monograph).

2015     (co-edited with Elizabeth Edwards), Photographs, Museums, Collections: Between Art and Information. London: Bloomsbury.

2015     (co-edited with Darren Newbury), The African Photographic Archive: Research and Curatorial Strategies. London: Bloomsbury.

2010     (co-edited with Philip N. Grover), Wilfred Thesiger in Africa. London: Harper Collins.

2009     (co-edited with Elizabeth Edwards), Photography, Anthropology and History: Expanding the Frame. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing.

2000     (co-written with Jeremy Coote and Julia Nicholson), Transformations: the Art of Recycling. Oxford: Pitt Rivers Museum.

Journal special issues

2015    ‘Reasserting Presence, Reclamation and Desire’, Special Issue of Photographies, (co-edited with Haidy Geismar, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Sept).

Book chapters

2018     ‘Photography, anthropology of’, in Cox, R. & Callan, H. (ed.), International Encyclopaedia of Anthropology: Anthropology Beyond Text. International Encyclopaedia of Anthropology, vol. 12, 1 edn, Wiley-Blackwell, New York.

2015    ‘Introduction’ in Elizabeth Edwards and Christopher Morton (eds) Photographs, Museums, Collections: Between Art and Information. London: Bloomsbury.

2015    ‘Collecting portraits, exhibiting race: Augustus Pitt-Rivers’s cartes-de-visite at the South Kensington Museum’ in Elizabeth Edwards and Christopher Morton (eds) Photographs, Museums, Collections: Between Art and Information. London: Bloomsbury, 101-118.

2015     ‘Introduction’ in Christopher Morton and Darren Newbury (eds) The African Photographic Archive: Research and Curatorial Strategies. London: Bloomsbury.

2015    ‘Richard Buchta and the visual representation of Equatoria in the later nineteenth century’, in Christopher Morton and Darren Newbury (eds) The African Photographic Archive: Research and Curatorial Strategies. London: Bloomsbury.

2015    (with Gilbert Oteyo) ‘The Paro Manene project: exhibiting and researching photographic histories in western Kenya’ in International Handbooks of Museum Studies (ed. Sharon Macdonald and Helen Rees Leahy), Vol. 4: Museum Transformations (ed. Annie E. Coombes and Ruth B. Phillips), pp 311-335.

2014    ‘Observations from the Interface: Photography, Ethnography, and Digital Projects at the Pitt Rivers Museum’, in Uncertain Images: Museums and the Work of Photographs, edited by Elizabeth Edwards and Sigrid Lien. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 243-260.

2012     ‘Double alienation: Evans-Pritchard’s Zande and Nuer photographs in comparative perspective’, in Vokes, Richard (ed) Photography in Africa: Ethnographic Perspectives. Oxford: James Currey, 33–55.

2012    ‘Spiritual repatriation and the archive in Christian Thompson’s We Bury Our Own’, in Christian Thompson – We Bury Our Own (exhibition catalogue). Fitzroy: Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, 13–15.

2010    ‘Fotografie dell’Africa del Pitt Rivers Museum, Università di Oxford’, in Walter Liva (ed) Sguardi sull’Africa. Centro di Ricerca e Archiviazione della Fotografia/ Comune di San Vito al Tagliamento (Italy), 72.

2010     Morton, Christopher and Schuyler Jones, ‘Wilfred Thesiger’s Photograph Collection at the Pitt Rivers Museum’, in Christopher Morton and Philip N. Grover (eds) Wilfred Thesiger in Africa. London: Harper Collins, 127–43.

2010     (with Philip N. Grover), ‘Wilfred Thesiger’s African Photographs: A Centenary Selection’, in Christopher Morton and Philip N. Grover (eds) Wilfred Thesiger in Africa. London: Harper Collins, 144–262.

2009     Edwards, Elizabeth and Christopher Morton, ‘Introduction’, in Morton, Christopher and Elizabeth Edwards (eds), Photography, Anthropology and History: Expanding the Frame. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 1–24.

2009     ‘The initiation of Kamanga: visuality and textuality in Evans-Pritchard’s Zande ethnography’, in Morton, Christopher and Elizabeth Edwards (eds), Photography, Anthropology and History: Expanding the Frame. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 119–42.

Articles

2018    ‘The graphicalization of description: drawing and photography in the fieldwork journals and museum work of Henry Balfour, Anthropology and Photography, Vol. 10. (London: Royal Anthropological Institute).

2018    ‘La description graphique. Dessins et photographies dans les carnets de terrain et le travail de conservateur de Henry Balfour’, Gradhiva (Special issue: ‘Sur le vif. Photographie et anthropologie’ edited by Camille Joseph and Anaïs Mauuarin), No. 27, 58-89.

2015    (with Haidy Geismar) ‘Introduction’, in Photographies (Special Issue: ‘Reasserting Presence, Reclamation and Desire’ edited by Haidy Geismar and Christopher Morton), Vol. 8, No. 3 (Sept), 231-233.

2015    ‘The ancestral image in the present tense’, Photographies (Special Issue: ‘Reasserting Presence, Reclamation and Desire’ edited by Haidy Geismar and Christopher Morton), Vol. 8, No. 3 (Sept), 253-270.

2015    (with Jeremy Coote) ‘“Dressed as a New Zealander” or an Ethnographic Mischmasch? Notes and Reflections on Two Photographs by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)’, Journal of Museum Ethnography, 28, 150-172.

2014    ‘Photographic collaboration in anthropology, past and present’, Photoworks, Issue 21, pp. 179-180.

2014    ‘The Place of Photographs in the Collections, Displays, and Other Work of General Pitt-Rivers’, Museum History Journal, Vol. 7, no. 2 (July; Special issue, edited by Jeremy Coote and Alison Petch, on ‘Archaeology, Anthropology, and Museums, 1851-2014: Rethinking Pitt-Rivers and His Legacy’), pp. 168-187.

2014    ‘Reconnecting and researching Australian Aboriginal photographs’, The Friends of the Pitt Rivers Museum Newsletter, Issue 79, p5.

2012    ‘Photography and the comparative method: the construction of an anthropological archive’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 18, No. 2, 369–96.

2010     (with Jeremy Coote), ‘Visual Traditions of Eastern Africa: Report on a Colloquium’, ACASA Newsletter [The Arts Council of the African Studies Association Newsletter], Vol. 86 (Fall), pp. 27-8.

2010     (with Heather Richardson), ‘Conservation of the Woodthorpe albums’, The Friends of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, Newsletter, no. 68 (July 2010), p. 5.

2009    (with G. Oteyo) ‘Paro Manene: Exhibiting Photographic Histories in Western Kenya’, Journal of Museum Ethnography, No. 22 (Dec.), 155–64.

2009  ‘Fieldwork and the participant-photographer: E. E. Evans-Pritchard and the Nuer rite of gorot’, Visual Anthropology, 22 (4), 252–74.

2007 ‘Remembering the house: memory and materiality in northern Botswana’, Journal of Material Culture, 12 (2) (July), 157–79.

2007  ‘Evans-Pritchard and Malinowski: the roots of a complex relationship’, History of Anthropology Newsletter, 34 (20), 10–16.

2005  Visualising southern Sudan: a museological resource, The Friends of the Pitt Rivers Museum Newsletter, Issue 52 (April).

2005  ‘The anthropologist as photographer: reading the monograph and reading the archive’, Visual Anthropology, Vol. 18(4), 389–405.

2004  ‘Fixity and fluidity: chiefly authority and settlement movement in colonial Botswana’, History and Anthropology Vol. 15, No. 4. (Dec.), 345–65.

2002  ‘Building, place and perception: the development of a drinks-can building style in northern Botswana’, Journal of Museum Ethnography, No. 14, 60–73.

2000  (with Jeremy Coote) ‘A glimpse of the Guinea Coast: regarding an African exhibition at the Pitt Rivers Museum’, Journal of Museum Ethnography, No. 12, 39–56.
 

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