Dr. Thomas Blakely, Instructor in Anthropology at Penn State Berks, recently received the Society for Visual Anthropology?s Lifetime Achievement Award for 2015. Blakely is a founding member of the SVA, serving as its president and representative on the American Anthropological Association Executive Board in 1986 and 1987.
Blakely has done six years of ethnographic fieldwork (including 60,000 photographs, hundreds of research films and audio recordings) in Central Africa among Báhêmbá in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is the organizer and master of ceremony of the Visual Research Conference from its inception in 1985 through the present time.
In 2006, he received the Outstanding Teacher Award at Penn State Berks. He is also an adjunct professor at Albright College and previously taught at Brigham Young University and Temple University. He has published works in visual semiotics, proxemics, and gesture; ethnographic photography and film; religion in Africa; and African arts and performance. His contributions to SVA have also included serving several times each as American Anthropological Association Program Chair for SVA, as juror for the SVA Film Festival, and SVA Anthropology Newsletter editor, as well as publishing a directory of visual anthropologists? research and filmmaking, which includes a valuable history of the predecessors of the society.