Book Talk: Sandra Ristovska (Ph.D. ’16), University of Colorado Boulder

Speaker(s): Sandra Ristovska

“Seeing Human Rights: Video Activism as a Proxy Profession”

This event will be held via Zoom beginning at 12:30pm EST. 


As video becomes an important tool to expose injustice, Seeing Human Rights (MIT Press, 2021) examines how human rights organizations seek to professionalize video activism through video production, verification standards and training. The result, it argues, is a proxy profession that helps legitimize video’s potential to serve distinct policy functions while brokering human rights voices in journalism, the law and political advocacy. Please join us for this virtual book talk co-sponsored with CAMRA at Penn. 

Juan Castrillón is the inaugural Gilbert Seldes Multimodal Postdoctoral Fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication. Castrillón earned his doctoral degree in ethnomusicology with a graduate certificate in experimental ethnography from the University of Pennsylvania. His research dialogues with contemporary debates about decoloniality, visual and sound/music cultures, and indigenous analytics of the person, magic and technology. Castrillón’s academic work has been published in academic journals and his films are permanently featured at New Media Review of the Society for Cultural Anthropology. His work on audiovisual ethnomusicology was awarded in 2021 by the International Council of Traditional Music. Castrillón is a CAMRA alumnus and currently serves as board member of the Society for Anthropology of Lowland South America (SALSA).

Larissa A. Johnson is a process artist and writer. She is completing a PhD in Music and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania where she is also Program Director for the Collective for Advancing Multimodal Research Arts (CAMRA) for 2021-22. Her dissertation project is a multimodal study of the ongoing revival of musical mouthbow practices in South Africa, an ancient technology that offers practitioners a tool and a set of techniques that facilitate the kinds of deep listening that necessitate convenings with their ancestors who connect them to this land. Other interests include radio and film in Africa, listening and subjectivity, genealogies of Black radical study and multimodal methodology and the decolonial option in research and pedagogy. Larissa is a Benjamin Franklin Ph.D. fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, and a recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship and the NRF Doctoral Scholarship for studies abroad. 

Sandra Ristovska is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado Boulder and a 2016 graduate of the Annenberg School. Her research, informed by her experiences as a documentary filmmaker, focuses on the interplay between images and human rights, particularly in institutional and legal contexts. A 2021 Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellow, Ristovska’s new project examines the use of video as evidence in U.S. courts and is conducted as part of a research residency at the Scientific Evidence Committee of the Science and Technology Law Section of the American Bar Association.

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