• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Anthropology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

As digital technologies are increasingly incorporated into daily experience there is a growing interest among students to utilise these technologies as part of their educational practice. This course will introduce students to the field of visual anthropology, providing a well-rounded overview of conceptual and practical methods. The aim is to take technologies with which students are already familiar and have a good working knowledge of — their own digital cameras, laptops and mobile phones — and to teach them to apply an anthropologist’s eye to the use of these technologies as part of a broader research methodology. In this course students will be asked to engage with current, readily accessible technologies and integrate their use into ethnographic, visually-oriented research. This undergraduate course is designed to give students a solid grounding in visual anthropological research techniques, such as observational filmmaking, as well as introducing them to a diverse range of relevant scholarly literature and experimental visual work. This course will articulate with existing postgraduate courses in Visual Culture Research, and establish a base from which students might go on to honours and/or postgraduate study using visual technologies as research tools. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the skills and knowledge to:

1. Identify and define key concepts in visual anthropology

2. Distinguish the key approaches and aims of ethnographic filmmaking

3. Apply anthropological analysis to visual social phenomena

4. Speak and write clearly about concepts, methods, theories as these apply in visual anthropology.

5. Produce visual work that demonstrates ethnographically informed attention to social life.


          Indicative Assessment

          1. The “Single Shot”. Students will produce one observational shot using a moving camera, on a subject of the student’s choosing of 1-3 minutes in length. (20%) (LOs 1, 3 and 5)
          2. “Representing the Other”.  Students will be required to produce a film-based portrait of a person.  This assignment may consist of still or moving shots that are edited together in the observational style but can be of no more than 10 minutes in length.  This assignment will be presented in the final week of class.  (30%) (LOs 1, 3, 4 and 5)
          3. 2,500 word research essay on a theme of relevance to the field of visual anthropology. (30%) (LOs 1, 2, 3, 4)
          4. Presentation of one in-class summary of set weekly readings (10%) (LOs 1, 2, 4)
          5. Contribution to workshops and inclass discussions (10%) (LOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

          The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


          One three hour lecture/workshop/tutorial per week for 12 weeks. A total of 120 hours preparation and class time across the semester.

          Requisite and Incompatibility

          To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of Anthropology (ANTH) Courses. Alternatively you may gain permission of the Course Convener to enrol in this course.

          Prescribed Texts

          Weekly readings as specified in the course guide will be available on the class Wattle site. Preliminary recommended readings are:

          Pink, S. 2007. Doing Visual Ethnography, Sage

          MacDougall, D. 2006 The Corporeal Image, Princeton

          Assumed Knowledge

          To be admitted to this course students must have access to a laptop computer, preferably Macintosh, with basic editing software, and digital camera, and be confident with the use of these. The course assumes no background in film-making but relies upon the students' ability to handle their own equipment. No specialist IT support will be available.



          Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

          If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

          Student Contribution Band:
          Unit value:
          6 units

          If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

          Units EFTSL
          6.00 0.12500
          Domestic fee paying students
          Year Fee
          2015 $2604
          International fee paying students
          Year Fee
          2015 $3576
          Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

          Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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