Visual Anthropology

Course content

The course proposes to analyze fundamental questions in the relationship between visual media and anthropology, with an emphasis on anthropological film, surveillance imagery and indigenous filmmaking.

Through the analysis of a series of anthropological film - both classics and "outsiders" - the course explores the relationship between visuality and anthropology, between film and anthropological knowledge, between sound and image, between vision and the other senses, between the world and the signs and images we compose to convey it, trying to determine what is the part of the anthropological in the analyzed media. Web/online-material will also provide sources for interrogation.

During the course, we will explore the methodological and epistemological implications of a audio-visual approach to the field, an approach that creates particular fieldwork exchanges and collaborations, sets up a stage for self-presentations, and offers particular insights, examining observation as a multi-sensuous practice.

A part of the course will be concerned with the analysis of surveillance imagery, as well as indigenous peoples' use of audio-visual media.

The course contains a practical part where the participants will conduct a small fieldwork, approaching the field through a audio-visual exploration and producing a small audio-visual presentation.

Learning outcome

By the end of the course the student should be able to: 



• Identify and formulate central anthropological challenges to the field of visual anthropology.

• Present the potential qualities of visual methods and formats to anthropological analysis and presentation.

• Critically analyze anthropological and other films on the basis of the concepts and theories identified during the course. 

• Reflect on the methodological, epistemological and ethical questions concerning the use of audiovisual media in anthropology, both as mode of exploration and form of presentation.



• Collaborate and communicate effectively with co-students during class work, for the student presentation and for the practical production.



• Plan a small fieldwork project that employs audio-visual methods and explain how the methods are pertinent to exploring and presenting the particular object of study.

• Produce a small audio-visual product that conveys anthropological knowledge in non-verbal forms.



Lectures combined with analysis in study groups; student presentations; practical exercises.

BSc-, Credit-, Open Education and all international students: 500 pages obligatory literature.

MSc students: 500 pages obligatory literature + 200 pages of literature chosen by students.

Course literature will be available in Absalon on the course website.

Since the course contains several practical elements as well as analysis of materials only accessible in class, class presence is necessary for you to be able to complete the exam.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Class-based feedback/group feedback on portfolio assignments, including oral presentation.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Portfolio content:
2 analytical papers in relation to course content
1 student presentation
1 practical audio-visual production
1 report about the audio-visual production process

Written: max. 18.000 keystrokes
Audio-visual: 4-8 min.

The portfolio assignments can be written individually or in groups of max. 4 people. Read more about the rules for group examinations in the

The examination portfolios must address relevant topics from the course and must include literature from the course syllabus.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
There is appointed a second internal assessor to assist with the assessment when the first assessor finds this necessary.
Criteria for exam assessment

See description of learning outcome. Formalities for Written Works must be fulfilled, read more: BA students (in Danish)/ exchange, credit students

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Course Preparation
  • 97
  • Study Groups
  • 32
  • Exam
  • 50
  • English
  • 207