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Visual Anthropology


Admission Requirements

This course is open to students registered in the CADS bachelor’s specialisation DAE.

Please note: Students that are registered in the CADS bachelor's specialisation SuSo may only take this course (as an elective or extracurricular course) once they have successfully completed the two Key Issues courses specific to their own specialisation.

N.B. Completing this course may be required to register for the third-year course Selected Bibliography and Bachelor Thesis.

Equipment and Expenses

Students who wish to experiment with a handheld video camera, may request – availability permitting, an HD video-camera from the university (Panasonic HC-V700 or HC-V770). Alternatively, the use of a students’ own equipment is also permitted.

Language of Instruction

Lectures are given in English.
Assignments are written in English.

Course Description

This course examines how audio-visual media shape and are shaped by human beings. To do so, this course provides a general theoretical introduction to the theory of visual anthropology, as well as an introduction to basic principles of the use of photography, sound, and video in ethnographic research. Particular attention will be paid to the contributions of visual anthropology to cinematic language, multisensory social inquiry and media-making. Students are trained in how multiple forms of media can be used in anthropological thought and research through a series of ethnographic film screenings and related assignments.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Define and explain basic concepts of visual anthropology, and apply them to new contexts.

  • Identify and apply basic principles of visual anthropology as related to ethnographic research, developing an understanding of the possibilities and limitations in form and content of various mediums (text, audio, image, video) for research and dissemination.

  • Distinguish and recognize the implications of specific visual media technologies for different groups of people in various times and places.


Dates can be found on our website.

Mode of Instruction

This is a 10 ECTS course, which means 280 hours of study (1 ECTS is equivalent to 28 study hours or sbu). These 280 study hours are composed of the following components:

  • Lectures: 12 x 2 hours = 24 x 1,5 = 36 sbu

  • Literature and viewings: ca. 900 pages = 150 sbu

  • Written and audio-visual assignments: ca. 3,600 words = 48 sbu

  • Final project: 46 sbu

Assessment Method

  • Two assignments: 60% of final mark

  • Final project: 40% of final mark

Only the final mark is registered in Usis. A final pass mark is 6,0 and 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.

Registration in My Studymap

Registration for the lectures in My Studymap is mandatory for all students. Registration closes 5 days before the start of the course. Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Confirming your exams

Students need not register for the examination via My Studymap, because this course does not include a single final 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 are given via Brightspace. Students are advised to check Brightspace daily to keep informed about rooms, schedules, deadlines, and all details regarding 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 courses in Brightspace you need to be registered for those courses in My Studymap.

Course Literature

Articles from electronic journals and encyclopaedias are available through Leiden University’s digital library.

Contact information

Dr. B.L. Fogarty-Valenzuela Dr. F. De Musso