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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. 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).

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 behaviour, 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

  • experience with presenting audio-visual research outcomes in a digital environment

  • experience in desighning a user oriented website.


  • Lectures
    Fridays February 13th – May 22nd 2015, 10 -13 h, room 0A28, Pieter de la Court building.

  • Work groups
    Fridays February 13th – May 22nd 2015, 13 -17 h, rooms 0A28, SA15 and SA35, Pieter de la Court building. (Group division follows)

  • End seminar: Friday June 5th 2015, 9-17h, room 0A28, Pieter de la Court building.

Methods of instruction

Total 10 ECTS = 280 study hours (sbu)

  • lectures

  • tutorials

  • practicals

  • producing a short video film (approx. 10 min.), an academic report (approx. 10pp) and a website 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

  • written assignments about the lectures and the literature (20 % of the final grade)

  • ethnographic film (40 ), accompanied by an academic report (20 %) and a website (20)

  • 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.


  • Registration in Usis is obligatory for the lectures (H) for all participants. Registration for working groups 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 2014 en 1 januari 2015 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 2015 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

  • For issues related to registration see above.

  • After registration/admission: drs. Metje Postma:
    Room 3A29 / 3A31, Pieter de la Bourt Building, Wassenaarseweg 52, Leiden