A woman in the field: Susan Drucker-Brown’s photographs and anthropological fieldnotes (Mexico 1957-1958)

22 April – 31 May 2024
Exhibition open 9am – 7pm on weekdays

Join us for the exhibition reception and tour on 22 April at 6pm

This exhibition, curated and researched by Paula López Caballero, displays photographs and ethnographic fieldnotes produced by Cambridge-based anthropologist Susan Drucker-Brown (1936-2023) in the Mixtec-speaking village of Jamiltepec (Oaxaca, Mexico) in 1957 and 1958. She was one of the first women anthropologists in Mexico, and a pioneer in the study of women’s clothing and the changes they were undergoing, with the replacement of handmade (loom) clothing by industrial one. The exhibition not only presents this little-known aspect of Drucker-Brown’s work. It also invites us to reflect on three aspects: Firstly, the processes of mestizaje, indigeneity and modernisation experienced in Mexico in the mid-twentieth century at an indigenous and rural locality. Secondly, the everyday life of ethnographic research and, in particular, the role of women in fieldwork. And thirdly, the afterlives of the materials produced during fieldwork, either as collections in museums or archives, or as part of restitution processes to the villages where the anthropologists worked.

The symposium ‘Rethinking anthropological fieldwork in historical perspective‘ is held on 22 April at CRASSH and the Department of Social Anthropology.

All images: Susan Drucker-Brown, © Biblioteca de Investigación Juan de Córdova

With the support of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Biblioteca de Investigación Juan de Córdova, Fundación Harp Helú, Centre for Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge, Department of Social Anthropology, CRASSH, University of Cambridge, Brown Family