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Media Worlds


Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s CADS

  • Minor CADS

  • Premaster’s CADS admitted for this specific course during their application procedure

  • Exchange students admitted for this specific course during their application procedure

Language of Instruction

The language of instruction is English for all participants, and all modes of instruction and examination are in English.

Course Description

This course addresses the mediation of anthropological knowledge. What does it mean to use media to gather, process, and present anthropological knowledge? How do anthropologists communicate using images and objects? How do representational paradigms shape interpretation of research findings? How do modes of production and dissemination both facilitate and limit access to research? And how do digital communication and social networks influence contemporary anthropological knowledge and ethnographic practice? This course serves as an introduction to the institute’s expertise in multimodal methodologies and digital/material culture.

The course will focus on:

  • the history of ethnographic film, photography, and sound

  • the collecting practices and material culture in the museum

  • the idea of the field as a source of knowledge for anthropology and other sciences

  • decolonization and expansion of critical practices of more contemporary anthropologies

  • the kinds of intervention and engagement shaped by our understandings of the future.

Course Objectives

During this course students will:

  • become acquainted with different forms of media and representations

  • gain a broad orientation on the sub-disciplines of material culture, media anthropology, visual anthropology, sensory ethnography, and digital ethnography

  • relate their theoretical and methodological perspectives to concrete case studies within anthropology

  • learn to reflect critically on the fact that all knowledge is mediated, and on the ubiquity of media and how to approach it from an anthropological perspective and analysis


See our website

Mode of Instruction

This is a 5 ECTS course, which means 140 hours of study (1 ECTS is equivalent to 28 study hours or sbu's). These 140 study hours are composed from the following components:

  • Lectures: 14 x 2 hours = 28 hours x 1,5 = 42 sbu

  • Study of literature and audiovisual course materials

  • Online tutorials

  • Excursion(s) (to be confirmed)

Assessment Method

The course assesses students on both practical skills and theoretical knowledge. While theory and practices in anthropology are never fully separated, the theoretical knowledge is assessed primarily through weekly quizzes and a final exam, whereas the practical skills are assessed through a series of exercises and group assignments. A final group project will assess the combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

  • Weekly Quizzes (15%): At the end of each unit, a short quiz will be administered on Brightspace to test the student’s comprehension.

  • Final Exam (35%): A final comprehensive exam based on multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay questions will cover all aspects of the course. This grade must be at least 5.5 to complete the course.

  • Individual Exercises (10%): Students must follow a series of tutorials that use the smartphone as an ethnographic research tool and complete a series of corresponding exercises to be submitted via BrightSpace. These short exercises will be assessed by peers using Pitch2Peer and graded sufficient/insufficient. All exercises must be completed to pass the course.

  • Group Assignments (20%): Students will work in groups to execute two multimodal assignments building on the smartphone ethnography exercises.

  • Final Group Project (20%): Students will work in groups on a multimodal project related to the Volkenkunde (Ethnographic) Museum. In the preparations, students will go on a fieldtrip to the museum. Students should demonstrate the ability to combine different aspects of the course in the production of an experimental, multimodal ‘digital object lesson’. The grade must be at least 5.5 to complete the course.

Only the final mark is registered in uSis. The final pass mark is 6,0 or higher; a final mark of 5,0 or lower is deemed inadequate. Final marks between 5,0 and 6,0 are never awarded. Only if the final mark is inadequate may the final exam be re-taken, during the re-sit.

Enrolment in uSis for the test and the exam is mandatory and is possible up to 10 days before they take place. More about exam enrolment

Registering for Examinations

  • First-year CADS students, exchange students and premaster’s students: registration for lectures, tutorials, and exams is NOT required as students will be registered by the Student Services Centre (SSC).

  • Other students must register in uSis for all lectures and examinations and may do so up to 11 calendar days before the examination.


Brightspace is the digital learning environment of Leiden University. Brightspace gives access to course announcements and electronic study material. Assignments will also be submitted in Brightspace. Announcements about and changes to courses will be made using Brightspace. Students are advised to check Brightspace daily to remain informed about rooms, schedules, deadlines, and details of assignments. Lecturers assume that all students read information posted on Brightspace.

- How to login

The homepage for Brightspace is: Brightspace

Please log in with your ULCN-account and personal password. On the left you will see an overview of My Courses.

For access to your courses in Brightspace you need to be registered in uSis for those courses.

Course Readings

Readings: Most reading for the course will be from one book that is available online and some additional articles available electronically from the library.

Geismar, Haidy 2018 Museum Object Lessons for the Digital Age. London: UCL Press. Museum Object Lessons for the Digital Age

Films: Many of the films assigned for home viewing are available via the Leiden University Library. Use the permalink provided in the syllabus or select ‘Find Databases’ at top of Leiden University Library homepage, navigate to ‘Ethnographic Video Online.’

Multimodal Resource: This course has a companion website on Smartphone Ethnography, which includes a series of training modules that serve as the basis of individual exercises and group assignments.


Mark Westmoreland - Coördinator