Reverse Ethnography

Reading Circle

Minou Norouzi

The Museum of Impossible Forms is pleased to announce a twinned series of events exploring Migrant Screen Cultures led by Anat Pick and Minou Norouzi.‍ Anat and Minou will each host a reading circle and present films relating to their respective research in cinema studies. The reading circles are restricted to registered participants. The screenings don’t require registration. The series forms part of the research project “Revolutionary Patience: Migrant Perspectives on Doing Politics with the Documentary” funded by Kone Foundation. ‍


Minou Norouzi: Reverse Ethnography

Reading Circle
Saturday December 11, 2021 from 14:00 - 16:00

Minou Norouzi, Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki, will discuss the oversaturation of migration documentaries that center on migrant others being experts of their own distress, oftentimes omitting everyday narratives and practices of joy and sorrow. The discussion borrows from Alisa Lebow’s notion of “reverse ethnography” and focuses on filmmakers with personal histories of displacement who cross ethical boundaries by avoiding empathic identification with narratives of suffering.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED through the following form. Maximum capacity 10 participants. A reading list will be circulated and vegan food will be provided for the participants.


Minou Norouzi is a filmmaker, writer, curator. Her research is focused on cinematic language and aesthetic productions that communicate the ineffable and challenge normative, totalising accounts of history and knowledge production. Her project, “Revolutionary Patience: Migrant Perspectives On Doing Politics With Documentary” is a study of diasporic cinemas, critically reviewing empathy as a form of political engagement in visual cultures.

Essential readings:Lebow, A. (2012) “The Camera as Peripatetic Migration Machine” in The Cinema of Me: The Self and Subjectivity in First Person Documentary, ed. Lebow, A., Columbia University Press, pp. 219 – 232. Minh-ha, T. T. (2010). “Other Than Myself, My Other Self” in Elsewhere, Within Here: Immigration, Refugeeism and the Boundary Event. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, pp. 27 – 42.

Further readings: Akomfrah, J., Sagar, A., & Eshun, K. (2020, September 23). Blackness and Post-Cinema:John Akomfrah and the Otolith Group in Conversation. Frieze., T. (2021).  “Verse Six: Adjacency and the Poethics of Care” in A Black Gaze. The MIT Press.Demos, T. J. (2018, July 27). Migrant World: On Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow. BOMB Magazine.

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