Dr Rupert Cox
Lecturer in Visual Anthropology, Social Anthropology
School of Social Sciences
Arthur Lewis 2.060
Tel: +44(0)161 275 0570
Fax: +44(0)161 275 3970
My original, doctoral research, which focused on issues of vision and visuality in the representation and practice of the Zen arts in Japan (published in 2002), has developed into a diversity of funded research projects and publications on 16th century folding screens, 19th century automata and modern aircraft - linked by interests in the relationships between technology and the senses and in media practice as a means of conducting sensory anthropology.
My current research deals with the political ecology and cultural history of domestic and military aircraft noise in a multi-regional context. It is a continuation of fieldwork, sound and film productions carried out over the past three years which focused originally on US military bases in Okinawa and has expanded to the Japanese domestic airport at Narita, Tokyo and to airbases, museums and indigenous communities in North America. It has attracted funding from Japanese and UK academic and governmental bodies, a visiting position at Okinawa college of Technology and two film commissions. A major publication with a University Press which includes audio and visual material is planned. This research is based on a cross- disciplinary collaboration with a senior scientist (Professor Hiramatsu of Kyoto University) and addresses a significant political issue of public health in the environment by applying a combination of media - audio, visual and textual.
It is an approach also represented by another research project, with an artist and academic at University of the Arts, London, and supported by a grant from the Wellcome Arts Trust. This research will also combine different media in conjunction with an art installation to produce outcomes that are intellectually meaningful, artistically exciting and have a social impact. It is a project driven by the experience of working on an installation with the sound artist and anthropologist Steven Feld which resulted in an exhibition at the Whitworth art gallery (2007) that coincided with a major conference (Beyond Text) at Manchester University. This will be published by Manchester University Press in 2010.
My collaboration with Professor Hiramatsu has led to a further funded project in a region - Laos - that will open up a new regional area for my research and extend the approach we have developed together to an institutional context with global reach, addressing the concerns that UNESCO has for the identification and preservation of intangible cultural heritage. This project develops research I have conducted about the international heritage industry (Making Heritage in Japan 2009) and specifically questions the use of media within the policy making activities of international agencies. It will have significant social impact, being a project that bridges an existing gap between the narrow academic concerns of media made in the cultural heritage context and the wider political and public considerations that lie behind a developing reliance on media as a documentary record by the organisation UNESCO. At issue here is the evidential status of visual and audio media in different institutional domains and the consequences for the people whose local knowledge and livelihood is being represented by this transfer.
Relevant Research Projects
- Air Pressure: aircraft noise and perceptions of the environment (2010-2012)
- Quantitative and Qualitative Impacts on the Sonic Environment
- Sounds of Freedom: an investigation of the role of aircraft noise in defining notions of community in Okinawa, Japan.
- Zen and the traditional arts in Japan
- The visual history of mutual perceptions of Japan and Europe following the first contacts in the sixteenth century
- Orientalist automata in culture, history and mind
- The US military and Pacific war memories in Japan
- Soundscapes as cultural heritage
- The political ecology and cultural history of military aircraft noise
- Cox, R. 2007. The Culture of Copying in Japan: critical and historical perspectives. Routledge Curzon Press.
- Cox, R. & Brumann C.2009. Making Heritage in Japan. Routledge Curzon Press.
- Cox, R. Irving A. & Wright C.forthcoming 2010 contract signed. Beyond Text: critical practice and sensory anthropology. Manchester University Press.
- Cox, R. 2008. 'Wandering without purpose: auditory journeys through History and Memory in Nagasaki'. Special issue of Journeys: The Map is not the territory, Mind, Body and Imagination as Globally Human. ed. by Andrew Irving. pp 76-96.
- Cox, R. 2010. forthcoming, invited paper. 'Objects that move: Japanese Namban screens in time, space and the imagination.' Journal of Instituto de História da Arte 'Revista de História da Arte Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Lisboa.
- Cox, R. 1998. 'Is there a Japanese Way of Playing.' In Japan at Play: The ludic and logic of power, ed. Joy Hendry and Massimo Raveri,. London and New York: Routledge Press. pp169-86
- Cox, R. 2007. 'Wagamama (Selfish) technology - An uncanny history of Japanese robot technology' in Japanese and Asian Modernities, ed Rein Raud. Columbia University Press. pp 203-215
- Cox, R. 2007. 'Hungry Visions: the material life of Japanese food samples'. In The Culture of Copying in Japan: critical and historical perspectives. Routledge Curzon Press.pp 257-269
- Cox, R. 2009. 'Automated Alterities: Movement and Identity in the History of the Japanese Kobi Doll.' In Making Heritage in Japan, ed. Rupert Cox and Christoph Brumann. Routledge Curzon Press. pp 171-186
- Cox, R. 2010. forthcoming. 'Pencil of the Sun: tracking the reverberations of war memory in Okinawa, Japan.' In Beyond Text: critical practice and sensory anthropology. Manchester University Press.
- Cox, R. & Wright, C. forthcoming 2010. 'Visual Anthropology'. In The SAGE Handbook of Social Anthropology ed. Fardon and Gledhill. Sage Press.
- Cox, R. & Hiramatsu, K. forthcoming 2010. 'Sounding Out Indigenous Identities in Okinawa Japan'. In Anthropology and Indigenous Studies: Learning from a Long encounter. ed J Hendry & L Fitznor. Berghahn Press.