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Karson Schenk: Narrating Nubia

A hand rendered drawing of a Nubian structure

Karson Schenk (Stamps 21) is featured in an LSA Magazine article on Narrating Nubia, a project supported by the University of Michigan Humanities Collaboratory that contributes to decolonizing fieldwork practices of cultural anthropologists and archaeologists working in the region and ethnolinguistic community spanning southern Egypt and northern Sudan. 

A four-part project, Narrating Nubia is run by a team of LSA faculty, staff, and students, as well as community partners in Sudan and Egypt. With resources from the grant, Moll worked with students, Nubian Egyptian storytellers, and artists to create an animated film about the displacement experience that drew from her extended family memories, community narratives, and ethnographic photos of Old Nubia. 

…Karson Schenk (Stamps 21), who graduated with minors in sustainability and American culture, describes herself as an animator focused on the relationship between the land and the workings of people. Schenk is the principal animator of Nostalgic Futures,” and she’s focused on the story of the place lost by the Nubian people in the 1960s.

Schenk’s 2‑D art tells part of the story of Nubian cultural memory as well as a story of the environmental impact of the dam, which led to a loss of fertile land. The idea of dam-building and environmental justice revolves around that relationship to the land,” she says. As Moll explains, the dam that displaced the Nubian villages produces a huge amount of electricity for Egypt even as the Nubian human relationship to the Nile — which featured prominently in village ritual life — irreparably changed. It wasn’t just Old Nubia’s culture that was impacted by the Aswan Dam: Its geography vanished too. 

Nubia Is a Place Inside of Us | LSA Magazine

The Arabic version of the animated film was recently released and is available to watch on instagram. The film, Hanina, will be screened in gallery locations around Ann Arbor this fall: for more information, visit the Narrating Nubia site.