Anthropological Histories and Techniques in Philip Scheffner’s Films

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter investigates how two essay films by contemporary German filmmaker Philip Scheffner, The Halfmoon Files: A Ghost Story of 2007 and Revision of 2012, engage with histories of the field of anthropology and contemporary politics of migration in Germany. The Halfmoon Files deals with an archive of sound recordings of colonial soldiers compiled by anthropologists during World War I, along with related documents and sites that intersect with Germany’s xenophobic climate in the early 2000s. The second film engages with these themes through an examination of a case of Romanian Roma migrants killed crossing the German border in the early 1990s. Scheffner’s films demonstrate how the fields of anthropology and ethnology as historical practices are productive subjects and sources for contemporary artists and filmmakers through which they understand the present, including debates about migration, xenophobia, histories of colonialism, and historical and contemporary racism.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConstructing Race on the Borders of Europe: Ethnography, Anthropology, and Visual Culture, c. 1850–1930
EditorsMarsha Morton, Barbara Larson
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9781350182349
ISBN (Print)9781350182325
StatePublished - 2021


  • experimental film
  • experimental documentary
  • Halfmoon Files
  • Revision
  • Philip Scheffnere
  • essay film
  • German colonial history
  • colonial archive
  • history of German anthropology
  • experimental ethnography


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