From Idea to Impact: Democracy™

Over the last six years, I have been collaborating with anthropologist Keith Brown on a filmed ethnography of the history of a USAID project in Macedonia. From Idea to Impact: Democracy Promotion in Macedonia a.k.a. Democracy™ is in post-production. Our research charts the development of American democracy promotion and its material consequences. An important aspect of this video investigation concerns the role played by USAID in the training of documentary filmmakers. The footage we have collected captures a number of complex narratives about foreign aid, nation-building, privatization, community activism, civil society initiatives, and the NGO sectors in the US and Macedonia. We are currently experimenting with online database formats to help map the connections between the various stories we have recorded and to present a series of shorter segments that will have the potential to speak to a range of different audiences (from policy makers to scholars and students).