Craig Campbell Talk: "Agit Kino: tell them we’re for peace"

When and Where

Friday, February 02, 2024 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Room 108N
The Munk School
North House, 1 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON, M5S 3K7


Craig Campbell


“Agit Kino: tell them we’re for peace.”


In the months before we began to learn about the world-altering scale of the Covid-19 pandemic, I was teaching at a University in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk and preparing to return to a distant northern village after many years away. One Indigenous Evenki friend said to me at that time, “we are far from war and pestilence, these things just pass us by.” The world of armed conflict and infectious disease, seen from the Central Siberian Plateau, does seem far away at times. And yet that place, too, has been touched by disease and forced military conscriptions. Despite a sense of remoteness and the feel of a radically different pace for life, Evenkiia’s ‘magnitude of difference’ belies a density of shared experience. In this paper I explore insights from a nearly twenty-five-year friendship that has been renewed and sustained through social media and direct messaging. After sharing a series of photos my friend wanted me to include in an ethnographic art installation, he wrote: “And tell them we’re for peace”— this message became the centerpiece of our collaboration. The photograph in these conditions builds on a unique mode of personal exchange: we remember each other’s visage and being through the surface of the image but our care for one another emerges through its density.  This work explores the shared and divergent temporalities of distant relations through the social space of photographs.


Craig Campbell

Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin


I have been conducting anthropological research in Siberia since the late 1990s. I have written extensively on themes associated with photography, multimodal anthropology, Siberia and the Yenisei North, culture and political struggles of Indigenous Siberians, travel and mobility, and socialist colonialism. In 2014 I published a book called Agitating Images: Photography Against History in Indigenous Siberia. I have been working on ‘future feelings’ and the cultural history of an unbuilt hydro-electric dam in subarctic Krasnoyarsk Krai. I have also been exploring the utility of the concept of ‘borealism’ in the context of Indigenous Siberia. Most recently I mounted an exhibition titled Agit Kino: and tell them we’re for peace in Austin, Texas. I am the lead editor for a photo essay magazine called Writing with Light and one of the directors of the Bureau for Experimental Ethnography. I am Assistant director of the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and am a member of the Native American and Indigenous Studies advisory council at the University of Texas at Austin.



Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, Department of Anthropology


North House, 1 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON, M5S 3K7