AANB05090U Visual Anthropology

Volume 2016/2017

The course proposes to analyze fundamental questions in the relationship between visual media and anthropology, with an emphasis on anthropological film and indigenous filmmaking practices.

Through the analysis of a series of anthropological film - both classics and "outsiders" - the course explores the relationship between visuality and anthropology, between film and anthropological knowledge, between vision and the other senses (the "synaesthetic effect"), between images and sound, registration vs. observation, between the world and the signs and images we compose to convey it, trying to determine what is the part of the anthropological in the analyzed films. Web/online-material will also provide sources of interrogation. 

During the course, we will also explore the methodological and epistemological implications of a visual approach to the field, an approach that creates particular fieldwork conditions and offers distinct insights, and we will look closer at observation as a multi-sensuous practice.

A part of the course will be concerned with the analysis of indigenous peoples' use of audio-visual and interactive media (Amazonas & Australien).

Learning Outcome

By the end of the course the student should be able to: 

• Identify and formulate central anthropological challenges to the field of visual anthropology.

• Present the potential qualities of visual methods and form to anthropology.

• Critically analyze anthropological and other films on the basis of the concepts and theories identified during the course. 

• Reflect on the methodological, epistemological and ethical questions concerning the use of audiovisual media in anthropology, both as form of exploration and of publication.


BSc-, Credit-, Open Education and all international students: 500 pages obligatory literature.
MSc students: 500 pages obligatory literature + 200 pages of literature chosen by students.

Course literature will be available in Absalon on the course website.

Lectures combined with analysis in studygroups
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Course Preparation
  • 100
  • Exam
  • 50
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Study Groups
  • 32
  • Total
  • 210
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Length: Min. 21.600 - max. 26.400 keystrokes for an individual essay. For group exams plus an additional min. 6.750 - max. 8.250 keystrokes per extra group member.

The essay/portfolio assignments can be written individually or in groups of max. 4 people. Read more about the rules for group examinations in the

The examination essay must address a relevant topic from the course and must include literature from the course syllabus.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
There is appointed a second internal assessor to assist with the assessment when the first assessor finds this necessary.

1. re-exam:

A new essay with a revised problem statement must be submitted at the announced date. The students must sign up for the 1. re-exam.

Please note that the re-exam is an essay even for courses, where the ordinary exam is a portfolio exam.

2. re-exam:

A new essay with a revised problem statement must be submitted at the announced date next semester. The students must sign up for the 2. re-exam.

Criteria for exam assesment

See description of learning outcome. Formalities for Written Works must be fulfilled, read more: BA students (in Danish)/ exchange, credit students