Visual Anthropology - SE554

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2020 to 2021.


This module introduces visual anthropology via the encounter between media maker and subject and framed in relation to the concepts of reflexivity and intersubjectivity. Central concerns are the cross-cultural reception of media, the use of video and photography as and for research, the social history of film and photography relating to ethnographic subjects, the study of national and regional cinematic traditions (outside Europe and America) and the comparative ethnography of television and broader consideration of issues of social representation and political ideology in visual imagery. Indicative areas covered in the module include:

1) Collaborative Media and Intersubjectivity
2) Soundscapes and Sensory Ethnography
3) Photography and Sociality
4) Observational and Participatory Cinema
5) Ethno-fiction and Indigenous Media
6) Intersections of medical and visual anthropology
7) New Media and Activism


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours



BA Social Anthropology and associated programmes
BSc Anthropology and associated programmes

Method of assessment

50% Exam; 50% Coursework
Analytic Note (20%)
Essay (30%)

Indicative reading

Banks, M & Ruby, J (eds). 2011. Made to be Seen: Perspectives on the History of Visual Anthropology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Pink, S. 2001/2007. Doing Visual Ethnography. London: Sage
Harris, A. 2016. Video as Method: Understanding Qualitative Research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
MacDougall, D 1998. Transcultural Cinema. Princeton University Press
Askew, K. and R. Wilk 2002. The Anthropology of Media: a reader. Blackwell.
Ginsburg, F, L. Abu-Lughod and B. Larkin (eds).. 2002. Media Worlds: anthropology on new terrain.
Banks, Marcus & Howard Morphy (eds). 1997. Rethinking Visual Anthropology.
Collier, John & Malcolm Collier. 1986. Visual Anthropology Photography as a Research Method.
Edwards, Elizabeth (ed.) 1992. Anthropology and Photography, 1860-1920.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8.1 be conversant in the main themes and trends in Visual Anthropology
8.2 demonstrate an informed understanding of the production and analysis of visual texts
8.3 analyse and communicate their comprehension of visual materials
8.4 construct coherent and logical arguments combining visual and textual discourses, combining conceptual understanding with substantiated ethnographic examples.
8.5 reflexively present their reception of a documentary in relation to others' experience and in terms of the type of media and the broad themes considered by the documentary.
8.6 critically engage with some of the assumptions present in their understanding of the truth value of ethnographic media productions.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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