Subject: Visual anthropology
Department/institution: Department of Social Anthropology; affiliated scholar and guest lecturer, Centre of South Asian Studies; member of the Cambridge Digital Humanities Network.
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Dr Motrescu-Mayes is an Official Fellow and Tutor at Clare Hall, a Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Social Anthropology, a Member of the Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement, an Affiliated Scholar at the Centre of South Asian Studies, and a Member of the Cambridge Digital Humanities Network, University of Cambridge.
While her research centres on British imperial studies, her primary work is as a visual and digital humanities scholar. She considers the construction of racial, gender and political identities in visual records and their relevance to current historical studies. In collaboration with colleagues from the Faculties of Education and History at the University of Cambridge, she explores new research and pedagogical methodologies that use theories of visual culture and cognitive psychology in advancing modern history programmes. She runs a seminar series at the Centre of South Asian Studies on ‘Visual rhetoric and modern South Asian history’ and contributes several lectures on ‘Visual and digital anthropology of new media’ for SAN11: Anthropology of Media and Visual Culture (Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, Division of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge).
In both her research and teaching at Cambridge, she has made extensive use of and assisted with the establishment of online film archives of amateur (colonial) media such as Images of Empire (Bristol), Colonial Film (London) and the online archive held by the Centre of South Asian Studies. She is the founder of Amateur Cinema Studies Network, the first international project promoting amateur cinema/media studies. She has published extensively on issues of imperial visual culture, gender and new media. In 2017, she co-edited with Marcus Banks the first anthology on Visual Histories of South Asia (Delhi: Primus Ratna Sagar).