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Visual Methods


Admission requirements

Previous training in methods and techniques of anthropological research is necessary in order to take part in this course.
Only the following categories of students can take part in this course:

  • Students enrolled for the BA programme CA-OS at Leiden University who have passed the Propedeuse

  • Students who have been admitted to this course as part of their pre-master programme for the MA in CA-DS.

  • Students studying Cultural Anthropology at other Dutch universities after applying for the course as indicated below.

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 (500GB/1TB, USB 3.0 connection, price from 65 Euro). If you have an Apple computer be sure to format your disk for Mac & PC, i.e. exFAT.

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 through the production of a short ethnographic video. They are also introduced to the theory of visual anthropology and the history of ethnographic film.

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

  • experience with using different audiovisual methods and techniques such as: (a) observing patterns in behaviour, technical processes and social interactions; (b) conducting photo and video elicitation and © recording, analyzing and editing still and moving images from an ethnographic perspective.

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

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

  • experience with presenting visual ethnographic research in an academic multi-media report, including a short edited video.


Methods of instruction

Total 10 ECTS = 280 study hours (sbu)

  • lectures

  • tutorials

  • practicals

  • producing a short ethnographic video (approx. 10 min.) and an academic multi-media report (approx. 10 pp) in a team of two students

  • various assignments in text and image

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

  • film and video lecture self-study ca. 10 hrs

Reading list

Available through Blackboard

Assesment method

  • practical assignments (20 % of the final grade)

  • ethnographic video (40 %), accompanied by an academic multi-media report (40 %)

  • presence and active participation in lectures, workgroups and practicals is obligatory

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


Please see “Admission requirements” above in order to see whether you are entitled to register for this course.

  • Registration in Usis is obligatory for the lectures (H). Please consult the course registration website for information on registration periods and further instructions.

  • Registration for the exam is NOT necessary because this course does not have one final (classical) exam.

  • Registration for working groups (W) is NOT needed. Registration for the exam (T) is NOT necessary because this course does not have one final (classical) exam.

  • Registration on Blackboard is obligarory for all participants.

NB: Pre-master students need to have completed their Admission procedure for the master CA-DS (having mentioned in their motivation letter that they are interested in the methodological track Visual Ethnography as a Method ) and to have been formally admitted to the pre-master programme.

NB: Studenten Culturele antropologie van andere Nederlandse universiteiten:
Aanmelding is mogelijk tussen 1 oktober 2016 en 1 januari 2017 via een e-mail naar
In de mail gaarne een korte motivatie uiteenzetten, met vermelding van de volgende punten: studiefase, eerdere ervaring met visuele middelen, eventueel de intentie om de master CA-OS in Leiden te doen (met daarin de methodologische track Visual Ethnography as a Method).
Uiterlijk 15 januari 2017 wordt bekend gemaakt of je geselecteerd bent, en zo ja, hoe je je aan de Universiteit Leiden moet inschrijven als gaststudent.
Je betaalt géén extra collegegeld voor deze inschrijving omdat je al ingeschreven bent aan je eigen universiteit.

Contact information