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We are happy to invite you to the screening of Empty Home, a project by Sanderien Verstappen & Willy Sier. The screening of the film will be followed by a discussion on the text they are currently writing.

Event details of The Anthro Screening Room invites you to the screening of: Empty Home
Date 14 February 2019
Time 17:00 -19:00
Location Roeterseilandcampus - building B/C/D (entrance B/C)
Room Anthropology Common Room (B5.12)

Join for film discussion, and free snacks and drinks!

In contemporary China, cities are growing fast with large-scale investments in urban housing to accommodate rural-urban migration. What does house ownership mean to families in the midst of a rural-urban transition? How do rural-urban migrants make a home in a new city while also remaining connected with the village of origin, and with relatives in other Chinese cities?

The short film Empty Home introduces Wendy, a young rural-urban migrant in Wuhan, the provincial capital of China's Hubei province. Whilst taking the viewer on a tour of her family home, a flat on the outskirts of the gigantic city, Wendy reflects on the meaning of ‘home’ within a context of intense mobility and rapid transformation.

The film was recorded by visual anthropologist Sanderien Verstappen, based on PhD research by anthropologist Willy Sier among rural-urban student migrants in Wuhan, China. Before the film, the directors will briefly introduce a paper they currently co-author to reflect on the puzzle presented in the film. Afterwards, in the discussion, everybody is welcomed to offer their reflections.

Willy Sier is a PhD student at the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam. Previously, she studied Chinese and lived in China for 8 years.

Sanderien Verstappen is a postdoctoral research fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) at Leiden University. Previously, she was a lecturer in (visual) anthropology at the University of Amsterdam.


The Anthropology Screening Room

Visual anthropology can help opening up the boundaries of academia, by bringing new elements into our theoretical discussions and by strengthening our interactions with non-academics, including informants. What are the opportunities of integrating visual methods in anthropological research? How can we use film productively as output in alliance with text? What are the institutional limits to do so, and how can we stretch them?

The Anthropology Screening Room aims at fostering a space in the AISSR and in the Anthropology Department to reflect on visual methods in anthropology. We want to share and reflect on questions such as: what does film / text do to anthropology? How do the narratives and media we use as anthropologist shape the ‘fields’ we attempt to study? To engage with these questions and more, we have prepared a film screening agenda around topics and concerns.

The Anthro Screening Room is a monthly event organised by Bea Addis, Anja Hiddinga, Ronja Jansz, Marijn Kraak, Fien Lindelauff, Ildikó Plájás, Mattijs van de Port & Jip van Steenis. You can contact us via e-mail or our Facebook Page:

Anthropology Common Room (B5.12)

Roeterseilandcampus - building B/C/D (entrance B/C)

Room Anthropology Common Room (B5.12)

Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
1018 WV Amsterdam