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Summer Course Visual Methods


Admission requirements

Previous training in methods and techniques of (anthropological) research is necessary in order to take part in this course. Previous audiovisual experience is not necessary. Please see below the description of Registration procedure for this course.


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.

Course objectives

Students acquire:

  • a general understanding of audiovisual methods & 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.


July 1st to August 31rd
Location: Faculty of Social Sciences, Leiden University

Mode of instruction

Total 10 ECTS = 280 study hours (sbu)

  • lectures

  • tutorials

  • practicals

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

  • various assignments in text and image

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

  • film self-study ca 10 hrs

Assessment method

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

  • ethnographic film (50 %), accompanied by text and still images (25 %).

  • presence and active participation in lectures, practicals and tutorials is compulsory (missing more than two sessions disqualifies for the course)

  • when failing final deadline or grade, only one re-examination will take place, before sept 15th

Reading & viewing list

(300 pp lit, 10 hr collective viewing, 20 hr self-study)

Compulsory and suggested literature on the following topics will be made available during the course:

  • Basic overview history (f.i. Hockings, Collier, Loizos, Banks, Henley incl mention of Heider, Rouch, MacDougall)

  • Current state of affairs (f.i. Pink, Biella, Coover)

  • Ethics & reflexivity (Asch, Ruby)

  • Photo Elicitation (Harper, Stanczak)

  • Comparing Methods (Stanczak, Banks, Pink)

  • Basic Film Grammar (Monaco, Vos, Barbash & Taylor)

  • Overview discours genres and audiences (Crawford)

  • Relationship to fieldwork discours (Marcus, Loizos, MacDougall, Turton)

Classic filmtitles a.o. (Asch, Rouch, MacDougall)
Various methods (Mead, Navajo, Biella, participatory, roots2share)
Leiden team (Nijland, de Maaker, Meyknecht, Postma, Prins)
Internationally renowned recent work (Grossman, ea)

Self-selection from suggested literature and various audiovisual sources.


Registration must take place before May 15th.
[NB: The course can not take place if there are less than 10 participants.]

This course is primarily meant for students who are applying for the MA programme CA-DS. In that case, registration for the summer course should be preceded by application for the Master Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology.

To register for the Summer Course as a premaster student:

  • Apply for the master’s programme at the Masters in Leiden website for the MA pogramme Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology (it is optional to indicate a specialisation)

  • Send an email to the coordinator of Visual Ethnography to indicate that you have started the applicatuon procedure.

To register for the Summer Course as a contract student / a la carte:


The enrollment fee for the Summer Course is € 950,. Students also need to provide their own external hard disc (aprox. 100 GB disc space)and cover the costs of their own recording material (memory card or tapes, ca. 25, euro per person).


This course will only be taught if a minimum of 10 students register before May 15th 2013

Contact information