Between 2005 and 2010 Dr Chris Morton was a HEFCE-funded Career Development Fellow at the Museum in association with Linacre College, carrying out research on the E. E. Evans-Pritchard photograph collection. This Fellowship was part of a scheme intended to provide newly post-doctoral academics a supported and intensive period of career development, including training in teaching, research and other relevant skills, before taking up a substantive academic post.
Ingessana man being cleansed of magical substances by two
kaik (medicine men), drawing them out from the man’s
abdomen. Photographed by E. E. Evans-Pritchard in the
Tabi Hills, Sudan in 1926. Gelatin Print 103 x 76 mm
The three-year Fellowship was converted to a 40% post in April 2006 when Dr Morton was appointed as the Museum's Head of Photograph and Manuscript Collections, meaning that the Fellowship was held concurrently with his 60% curatorial post until September 2010.
In addition to contributing to the Museum’s popular M.Sc. in Material Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, Dr Morton undertook detailed research on Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard’s field photograph from Southern Sudan. Evans-Pritchard is one of the major figures in the history of British social anthropology, whose books such as Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande (OUP 1937) and The Nuer (OUP 1940), have been widely influential. His photograph collection, donated to the Museum in 1966, totals some 2500 images (5000 negatives and prints), and relates to his well-known ethnographic fieldwork in Southern Sudan during 1926-1936 among the Azande, Nuer, Anuak, Ingessana and other peoples.
The research sought to understand more about the historical contexts in which the fieldwork was carried out, as well as the communities and individuals with whom he worked, and the relationship between Evans-Pritchard’s fieldwork and photographic practice. The findings of this part of the research were disseminated via a series of academic publications listed below.
Charles Obewa, son of Ezekiel Onyango's third wife, with his
son, holding the framed copy of Evans-Pritchard's 1936
portrait of Ezekiel Onyango [PRM 1998.349.53.1].
Another key strand was the development of new relationships between the Museum and some of the indigenous communities that Evans-Pritchard photographed. During the course of the Fellowship it did not prove practicable to establish such relationships with, or travel to, southern Sudan. Instead, a project was developed with Luo colleagues in western Kenya to exhibit and research photographs that Evans-Pritchard took there in 1936. This project resulted in a series of local exhibitions in Nyanza in February 2007, as well as a website that makes the photographs available online, alongside other Luo photographs from the collection.
Key outputs of the Fellowship:
2009 Morton, Christopher and Elizabeth Edwards (eds), Photography, Anthropology and History: Expanding the Frame. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing.
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.
(forthcoming in 2011) ‘Double alienation: Evans-Pritchard’s Zande and Nuer photographs in comparative perspective’, in Vokes, Richard (ed) Photography in Africa: Ethnographic Perspectives. Oxford: James Currey.
(forthcoming in 2011) ‘Paro Manene: Exhibiting Photographic Histories in Western Kenya’, Journal of Museum Ethnography, 22.
2009 ‘Fieldwork and the participant-photographer: E. E. Evans-Pritchard and the Nuer rite of gorot’, Visual Anthropology, 22 (4), 252–74.
2007 ‘Evans-Pritchard and Malinowski: the roots of a complex relationship’, History of Anthropology Newsletter, 34 (20), 10–16.
2005 ‘The anthropologist as photographer: reading the monograph and reading the archive’, Visual Anthropology, Vol. 18(4), 389–405.