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Visual Methods


*Extension of course load to 12 or 15 EC is possible for students studying at other universities upon request.

Admission requirements

Previous training in methods and techniques of anthropological research is necessary in order to take part in this course. Please see below the description of the Registration Procedure for this course.


Students will need to bring their own external hard disc to the course (minimum 320 GB, price from 70 Euro) and pay for their own recording material (memory card or tapes, approx. 25,- euro per person).

Course description

This course provides a general theoretical introduction to visual methods, as well as hands on training regarding the anthropological use of video. Students are introduced to the ways in which photography and video can be used in anthropological research. They are also familiarized with the ways in which ethnographic films are made.

NB: This course is also an admission requirement for the visual ethnographic methodological track within the MA programme in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology.

Course objectives

Students will acquire:

  • a general understanding of audiovisual methods and techniques that can be used in ethnography.

  • experience with photo and video elicitation techniques.

  • the ability to observe and report on patterns in behavior, technical processes and social interactions.

  • an understanding of when to use which medium (word, audio, image) for research and reporting.

  • basic skills in making selections in space and time, recording and editing of still and moving images from an ethnographic perspective.

  • skills in the use of basic consumer video equipment and digital editing software.

  • basic knowledge and understanding of ethnographic film history & theory.

  • experience with creating a multi-media report, including a short edited film and research sequences.


Fridays from February 8 to May 31 2013, from 10-17 h (but on February 8 and April 5: 14-17 h)
Location of the first meeting on February 8 is room 0A28, at the Pieter de la Court Building, Wassenaarseweg 52 in Leiden.
The locations of the meetings after that can be found on Blackboard.

Methods of instruction

Total 10 ECTS = 280 study hours (sbu).
Optional extension to 12 or 15 ECTS (336 or 420 sbu) for students studying at other universities.

  • lectures

  • tutorials

  • practicals

  • producing a short video film in a team of two students (approx. 10 minutes)

  • various assignments in text and image

  • literature self-study ca. 300 pages of selected reading

  • film self-study ca. 10 hrs

Assesment method

  • written assignments about the lectures and the literature (25 % of the final grade)

  • ethnographic film (50 %), accompanied by a short paper (25 %).

  • presence and active participation in lectures and tutorials is obligatory

  • when failing final deadline or grade, there will be one possibility for re-examination before July 1st.

Reading list

Available through Blackboard


  • Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply for the exchange programme. Only the students whose admission to this particular course has already been approved, can register for this course in Usis and on Blackboard.

  • BA studenten CA-OS van Universiteit Leiden:
    Inschrijving geschiedt via Usis vanaf 6 weken voor aanvang van de cursus, alleen voor “hoorcollege HC” en “tentamen TEN”. Bij problemen met Usis-inschrijving, raadpleeg de Usis-helpdesk van de FSW .
    Bij aanhoudende problemen, stuur een mailtje naar met het verzoek om je op de deelnemerslijst van de themamodule te zetten.

  • Studenten Culturele antropologie van andere Nederlandse universiteiten:
    Aanmelding mogelijk tot 15 januari 2013 via een e-mail naar mw. Lotte van Leengoed (coördinator inschrijving Visual Methods): Via de coördinator krijgen de studenten uitleg van de procedure voor inschrijving als gaststudent aan de Universiteit Leiden.
    NB: je betaalt géén extra collegegeld voor deze inschrijving omdat je al ingeschreven bent aan je eigen universiteit.

Contact information