02 October 2017

Anthropologists everywhere! Filming heavy metal with Sam Dunn

The first time I met Sam Dunn was in the smoking room (when those still existed) of a dive-y bar that my cohort of Dalhousie MA students used to ritually visit on Thursday wing-nights in Halifax. One of my colleagues, a die-hard metal fan and Marxist sociologist, called me over to his table and introduced us. Dunn had completed his MA at York in 2000, and we had both accepted offers to begin our PhDs in Social Anthropology at York University in Toronto in September, 2006.

By September, he decided to postpone and eventually declined his acceptance to the doctoral program -- with good reason!

Dunn had already filmed Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey (2005), and would soon film a sequel of sorts, Global Metal (2008). Yet, rather than a departure from anthropology, both of these films and others made throughout Dunn's career are informed by his anthropological training and perspective.

Besides being a cool example of what you can do with a degree in anthropology, I have found Dunn's work to be a really useful teaching tool. For instance, Global Metal is a great resource for teaching about globalization, and how cultural forms and practices are always reinterpreted locally, sometimes deeply changing the meaning of the original cultural producers.

Check out more about Dunn and the connection between his work and anthropological background in the following links... and more about finding anthropologists everywhere: