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M.C. (Martha) Dietrich PhD

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Exploring Diversity

Visiting address
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
  • Room number: C5.17
Postal address
  • Postbus 15509
    1001 NA Amsterdam
Contact details
  • Profile

    I am an anthropologist, filmmaker, and curator who explores the politics and poetics of everyday life. The questions that inspire my research include: How do people create a world for themselves after violent conflicts and environmental destruction? What stories do they tell? And how can I, as anthropologist, articulate aspects of human and other-than-human experiences beyond language? I have explored such questions through ethnographic fieldwork in Venezuela (2006), the UK (2009), Peru (2010–2015 and 2016–2019), and more recently in Ecuador (2021–).

    One of my ambitions is to find and develop new ways of engaging with my research partners through experience-led approaches. I use observational, participatory, collaborative, and co-creative methods to produce (moving) images and sounds that enable me to explore the complex dynamics and social relationships that make up notions of contemporary societies in Latin America. My research is situated in the fields of post-violence memory, identity, political subjectivities, and emerging forms of global citizenship.

    I have a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology with visual media and an MA in Visual Anthropology from the University of Manchester; I completed a degree in Latin American Studies and a Mag.a in Social Anthropology at the University of Vienna. After five years of working as a lecturer at the University of Bern (Switzerland) and as a tutor and project adviser at Filmmaking for Fieldwork at the Manchester School of Media, I have now arrived at the University of Amsterdam.

    Expertise and research fields

    • Visual Anthropology and Empirical Art
    • Social and environmental justice
    • Post-conflict memory
    • Indigenous rights and media


  • Publications


    Dietrich, Martha-Cecilia (2023)
    “Our Cinema, our Stories, our Power: The politics of storytelling in contemporary Andean Cinema.” New Techno Humanities, Vol.3/1, 49-55.

    Dietrich, Martha-Cecilia (2023)
    “The politics of visibility and visuality in camera-based research.” Trajectoria. Journal of the National Museum of Ethnology, Japan. Vol.4, 1-26.

    Dietrich, Martha-Cecilia (2020)
    “Doing time – visual notes on waiting without quite knowing for what exactly”, Entanglements. 3(2): 79–85.

    Dietrich, Martha-Cecilia (2019)
    “Pursuing the Perpetual Conflict: Ethnographic Reflections on the Persistent Role of the ‘Terrorist Threat’ in Contemporary Peru.” History & Memory. Vol. 31 (1), pp. 59–86.

    Dietrich, Martha-Cecilia (2019)
    “Poetic Visuality. An Essay on the Carceral Experience.” Visual Ethnography. Vol. 8, (2), pp. 143–154.

    Dietrich, Martha-Cecilia, and Maria Eugenia Ulfe (2019)
    “Antropología Visual y ‘Activismo de la Memoria’ en el Perú.” Forma – Revista d’Estudis Comparatius. Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, Vol 18 (spring), pp. 81–105.

    Dietrich, Martha-Cecilia, and Maria Eugenia Ulfe (2018)
    “Counter Narratives: visual anthropology and ‘memory activism’ in Peru.” Anthrovision. Vol. 6 (2), pp. 1–23.

    Dietrich, Martha-Cecilia (2018)
    “Activist Objects: the materiality and meaning of human remains in post-conflict Peru.” Writing with Light, Cultural Anthropology Website, January 22.

    Dietrich Ortega, Martha-Cecilia (2009)
    “Insights to Indigenous Media and Collaborative Video Work.” Die Maske, Zeitschrift für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie. Special Issue: Anthropologischer Film/Mai 2009, pp. 15–17

    Dietrich Ortega, Martha-Cecilia (2007)
    “Indigene Repräsentation im ‘neuen’ Venezolanischen Fernsehen.” Austrian Studies in Social Anthropology, Sondernummer KSA-Tage 2007, pp. 3–17.

    Dietrich Ortega, Martha-Cecilia (2006)
    “Überlebensfrage – Indigene Mitbestimmung.” Panorama, Lateinamerika Anders, Nr. 6.


    Dietrich, Martha-Cecilia (2020)
    “Horror in the Andes: Ayacuchean Cinema In-the-making.” Journal of Anthropological Films, 4 (02).

    Dietrich, Martha-Cecilia (2018)
    “Between Memories. A collaborative journey into the experience of memory in post-war Peru.” Journal of Anthropological Films, Vol. 2 (2), e1559.

    Book chapters

    Dietrich, Martha-Cecilia (2020)
    “Creative Precarity. Filmmaking between Creative Vision and Lived Realty.” In: Peruvian Cinema in the Twenty-First Century: Dynamic and Unstable Grounds by Cynthia Vich and Sarah Barrow (eds.), pp. 85-102.

    Laura Coppens, Martha-Cecilia Dietrich and Michaela Schäuble (2019)
    “Audio-visual Anthropology.” In: Methoden ethnologischer Feldforschung, 3rd edition by Bettina Beer and Anika König (eds.). Berlin: Reimer Verlag, pp. 241-260.

    Dietrich, Martha-Cecilia (2017)
    “Dehumanizando – über die Konstruktion von Gerechtigkeit(en) fünfzehn Jahre nach Ende des internen bewaffneten Konflikts in Peru.” In: Gerechtigkeits-Gefühle: zur emotionalen Re-Formation nach Krisen und Konflikten by Zenka, Olaf and Jonas Bens (eds.). Berlin: Transkript Verlag, pp. 159–190.

    Tiefenbacher, Kerstin and Martha-Cecilia Dietrich Ortega (2008)
    “Ethnographische Beobachtungen. Feldforschung in Leitersdorf.” In: Hosted. Ein Dorf als Performance-Raum. Vienna: Bucher Verlag.

    Monographs & edited volumes

    Dietrich, Martha-Cecilia (2023 forthcoming)
    “Narrating truth & doing justice: Imagining (alternative) futures in contemporary Andean Cinema.” In: ‘Telling the future: Future-making and speculative fiction in ethnographic film and creative practice’ by Anna-Lisa Ramella, Johannes Sjöberg, Igor Karim and Steffen Köhn (eds). Anthrovision.

    Dietrich Ortega, Martha-Cecilia. (2010)
    Indigene Repräsentation im neuen venezolanischen Fernsehen. Saarbrücken: VDM.

    Online articles / Blogs

    Dietrich, Martha-Cecilia (2019)
    Confinement, Surveillance and Resistance. Anthroblog. University of Bern. 15. January.

    Dietrich, Martha-Cecilia (2015)
    “When Truth Goes to Court: the shifting role of testimonies in post-conflict Peru.” Open Security Projects. 29 April.

    Dietrich, Martha and Penny Harvey (2014)
    “Activist Objects and the Disappeared.” Curating the Activist Object, 30 June.


    Production and Curation for the photographic exhibition “From muted places: Objects of resistance” commissioned by Soho in Ottakring Art Festival, Vienna. June 2020.

  • Research

    Current research projects

    Nature’s Rights in Europe: frictions, collisions and transformative potentials
    In this project, we set out to study how Rights of Nature (RoN) initiatives change environmental activism in Europe. We look at three contemporary case studies to inspire conversations between anthropology, law and environmental activsm and their responses to current debates on climate change and related crises in Europe.

    Research grants and honours

    Amsterdam Centre for European Studies (ACES) - Seed Grant

    University of Amsterdam Starter Grant

    Current collaborations

    Hamburger Institut for Sozialforschung (Dr. Laura Affolter) and University of Kassel (Dr. Andreas Gutmann)

  • Teaching & PhD supervision
  • Ancillary activities
    No ancillary activities