Project in Visual Anthropology - SE555

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
(version 2)
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5) DR MS Poltorak


Must be taken with SE554 Visual Anthropology Theory


Available to Stage 3 students only
This module is subject to a quota and is taught in two streams.
Students chose to do a video OR a photographic project.



Within the Anthropology degree programme this module represents an optional component of Part II studies, namely the practical study of visual representations. It assumes that students will be taking SE554 Visual Anthropology Theory as a prerequisite. Its distinctiveness relative to the other module is that it focuses principally on the exploration of theoretical issues, through the development of an ethnographic project, focussed on either photography or video and delivered as multimedia. The module requires the making a visual project (a photographic essay, a short ethnographic film) with practical instruction in developing, editing and mounting procedures.

Students will be introduced to basic techniques of visual production and presentation. The practical component of the course cannot attempt to provide qualified instruction in professional photographic or video production expertise, and we are narrowly constrained by the limited equipment and technical support available. The visual project is intended to give practical experience of general techniques of visual communication that should critically inform understanding of more theoretical topics dealt with in the module. Techniques of camera use, instruction (theoretical and practical) on research methods, practice and demonstration of visual presentation will all be taught sequentially, and linked to students practical experience in formulating and producing their projects.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

There will be 24 hours of classroom time, including darkroom, editing and computer training.


This module contributes:
Anthropology, Social Anthropology

Method of assessment

The module is assessed as 100% coursework.

Preliminary reading

Postma, M. and P. Crawford (eds.) 2006. Reflecting Visual Ethnography. Leiden CNWS

Rabiger, M. 2004. Directing the Documentary. London: Focal.

Banks, Marcus & Howard Morphy (eds). 1997. Rethinking Visual Anthropology.
New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Collier, John & Malcolm Collier. 1986. Visual Anthropology: Photography as a
Research Method. AlbuquerqueUniversity of New Mexico Press

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

Edwards, Elizabeth (ed.) 1992. Anthropology and Photography, 1860-1920. New
Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Hockings, Paul (ed.) 1995. Principles of Visual Anthropology. Berlin and
New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Horenstein, Henry. 1983. Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual.
Boston: Little, Brown and Co.

Journals (in Templeman Library):
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, combing conceptual understanding with substantiated ethnographic examples
- be able to carry out ethnographic research, esp. using still and moving cameras
- be able to interview, observe and assimilate knowledge about ethnographic subjects

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.