Discussion,The Act of Killing

Podium Discussion 'The Act of Killing'

19:00, Saturday 15th June, George Square Theatre

The screening of the film “The Act of Killing” by Joshua Oppenheimer will be accompanied by three short interventions by anthropologists at the University of Edinburgh. The film invites a number of important discussions around anthropological themes and methods that we would like to engage with as we host the screening of the film. The subject area of Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh has a strong research profile in the areas of the anthropology of political violence, postcolonial conflict, torture, death and human rights, as well as a number of researchers doing fieldwork in Southeast Asia. The screening of the film provides an important opportunity to engage in a debate on these themes across social anthropology and filmmaking practices.

The short interventions will be presented by:

Jonathan Spencer, Professor of the Anthropology of South Asia & Head of School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh. Jonathan Spencer has carried out fieldwork in Sri Lanka since the early 1980s, concentrating at first on rural change and local politics, but writing more recently on ethnic conflict, political violence and political non-violence. He has recently published a book on the anthropology of 'the political' in South Asia, Anthropology, Politics, and the State (2007) and is preparing a new book, with colleagues from SOAS, Zurich and Peradeniya, on the work of religious organizations in war and peace in Sri Lanka. He is a series editor for Cambridge New Directions in Anthropology, and has been a member of the ESRC Training and Development Board.

Dimitri Tsintjilonis is Lecturer in Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh. Dimitri Tsintjilonis has been carrying out fieldwork among the Sa'dan Toraja of Indonesia (South Sulawesi) over a number of years, concentrating at first on mortuary rites and indigenous notions of personhood, but focusing more recently on religious change and 'the politics' of conversion. Within Indonesia, he has also carried out research in Bali and is hoping to undertake more fieldwork in Central Sulawesi. He is currently completing a book on the Sa'dan Toraja and planning a more comparative text on the anthropology of death.

Tobias Kelly, Reader in Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh. Tobias Kelly's research interests include human rights, legal anthropology, law and development, and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. He has recently completed a long term ESRC funded project that explores the role of law and medicine in the recognition of torture. The research draws on fieldwork in the UK, Israel/Palestine, and at the UN, to produce a multi-sited study of the implications of international human rights claims for understandings of cruelty and suffering. He has also carried out long term fieldwork amongst West Bank Palestinians, concentrating on issues of citizenship and everyday experiences of violence. He is currently in the early stages of thinking about research exploring issues around freedom of conscience. He is editor of the Ethnographies of Political Violence series with University of Pennsylvania Press.


Organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland (RAI) since 1985, it is an itinerant festival that moves biennially from one university host to another, in association with local community and cultural organisations.

The festival will be held from Thursday 13 June to Sunday 16 June 2013 in Edinburgh, hosted by National Museums Scotland and the STAR consortium. Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR) is a collaboration between the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and St. Andrews. Over 60 new films will be screened alongside a conference 'New Observations' and a selection of special events and workshop about art & anthropology and the use of archival film.

The RAI Film Festival is held in collaboration with the Center for Visual Anthropology, University of Southern California.

Our Sponsors

The Festival gratefully acknowledges sponsorship from:

UDDA NMS SSGS ED Unversity of Aberdeen StAndrews WILEY