Ethnographic Film and Photography

Please note: this is archived course information from 2021 for ANTHRO 212.


This course explores the uses of photography and film in the production and dissemination of anthropological knowledge.

Anthropologists have been using photography and film for more than a century both to create records of people, objects and events, and to communicate anthropological ideas to professional audiences and the general public.

Part of the power of photography and film lies in their apparent realism, but the relationship between the material world and images on film have been the subject of debates in philosophy, art theory and the social sciences, and in this course these debates inform the examination of photography and film as research techniques and forms of communication.

This course emphasises the choices in subject matter, imagined audience, composition, construction of narrative (or not) and mode of representation that are made at all stages in the production of ethnographic images. These choices constitute a process of representation and are acts of authorship.

The course will increase students’ awareness of the intentions, choices and perspectives of photographers and filmmakers, as well as the politics of those choices, and will use that awareness to reflect on similar choices made in the construction of written texts.


Coursework only

Availability 2021

Semester 1


Lecturer(s) Dr Mark Busse


Coursework only


ANTHRO 212: 15 points


ANTHRO 100 or ARTHIST 115 or 30 points in Anthropology, Sociology or Media Film and Television, or Communication