Visual Anthropology - SE554

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19 2019-20
(version 3)
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6 15 (7.5)


SE301: Social Anthropology


This module is subject to a quota and is available to Stage 3 students only



This module is a general introduction to visual anthropology. It includes treatment of cross-cultural cognition and symbolic analysis, the social history of still photography and film relating to ethnographic subjects, the study of national and regional cinematic traditions (outside Europe and America), the comparative ethnography of television and broader consideration of issues of social representation and political ideology in visual imagery, combining empirical ethnographic analysis of these issues with the alternative (complementary) contributions of scholars of visual imagery from a literary and humanistic tradition of interpretation. It includes a short practical introduction to different visual media, but extended practical experience is available only through the project modules.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

11 Lectures; 11 Seminars

22 hours


This module contributes:
BSc Anthropology; BA Social Anthropology, Joint, with Language and Year Abroad

Method of assessment

Students are assessed 50% by coursework and 50% by a two-hour examination

Preliminary reading

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

Crawford, Peter & David Turton (eds). 1992. Film as Ethnography.

Edwards, Elizabeth (ed.) 1992. Anthropology and Photography, 1860-1920.

Jessica Evans & Stuart Hall (eds). 1999. Visual Culture: The Reader.

Hockings, Paul (ed.) 1995. Principles of Visual Anthropology.

Visual Anthropology
Visual Anthropology Review
Journal of Visual Communication and Image Representation
Studies in Visual Communication
Studies in the Anthropology of Visual Communication
Journal of Visual Culture

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should:
Be conversant in the main themes and trends in Visual Anthropology
Have cultivated an informed understanding of the production and analysis of visual
Be able to analyse and communicate their comprehension of visual materials
Be able to construct coherent and logical arguments combining visual and textual discourses, combining conceptual understanding with substantiated ethnographic examples.

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