ANTHRO 402 and Film Studies xxx:
Visual Anthropology
Professor: Karen Nakamura http://www.disabilitystudies.jp/nakamura/courses
Seminar: Monday-Wednesday 10:30 - 11:20 Discussion/ Film Lab : TBA Location: TBA
Last offered: - Next offered: Fall 2012
Quick Links:

Course Description
Visual anthropology is premised on the conviction that a deeper understanding of other cultures can be achieved through the study and production of visual and other sensory media in conjunction with long-term participant observation fieldwork. Over its one hundred year history, visual anthropologists have been primarily concerned with the production and analysis of ethnographic film and photography, but in recent years there has been growing interest in digital media as well as other sensory forms. Through seminar discussion, film screenings, and mini-labs, this course explores the history, theory, ethics, and methods that underlie this growing subfield of anthropology.
This course is intended to give the student an understand of the breadth and depth of the field of visual anthropology. We will read books and articles that address various aspects of visual theory and methods, watch and discuss ethnographic films, analyze the use of still photography in the field, and engage in small mini-ethnographic projects on campus. There is a significant writing component to the course and the course has been petitioned for WR credit.
After taking the course, students will have a better understanding of basic theory and methods in visual anthropology. They will know the history and be familiar with the ethical and methodological debates in ethnographic film production and analysis. They will be able to balance the positive and negative attributes of motion picture, still images, aural narrative, and other media in communicating cross-culturally. And through the various mini ethnographic projects staged through the semester, be able to engage more fully in the production and analysis of visual ethnographic media.
The readings consist of a selection of foundational texts in visual anthropology, including Karl Heider's
Ethnographic Film and Jay Ruby's Picturing Culture. The field of visual anthropology has expanded considerably in the past decade and other readings will draw widely from journals in visual anthropology, film and media studies, photography, linguistic anthropology, sociocultural anthropology, and ethnomusicology. Students should expect to read approximately 100 pages a week and be prepared to write four short essays through the semester, culminating in a final paper of approximately 15-20 pages.
There are no course prerequisites and the class is open to students in all majors.

Prerequisites and Requirements
No course prerequisites. Class limited to 30 students. Seniors and majors in Anthropology or Film Studies have preference, however students from all disciplines are welcome pending the enrollment limit. Graduate students interested in the subject should see the professor regarding graduate school credit.

Textbooks and Course Readings
The required textbooks will be available at theYale bookstore. Course readings in the forms of articles will be distributed in class and also available through the ClassesV2 system.
  • Heider, Karl (2006) Ethnographic Film. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • Pink, Sarah (2001) Doing Visual Ethnography. London: Sage Press.

Equipment and Editing Resources on Campus
Undergraduate majors in Film Studies taking this class as a Film Studies course: Video cameras (Mini-DV) and filming equipment are available for rental at no charge at the Digital Media Center for the Arts (DMCA). You must provide your own tapes and DVD-R disks. The DMCA has fully equipped digital video workstations using Apple Final Cut Pro as well as non-linear analog editing equipment.
Undergraduate majors in Anthropology and non-Anthropology graduate students: Video and digital image editing workstations are available at some of the ITS computer labs. Students from previous years also used machines at the computer lab in the Music Library which had Final Cut installed.
Graduate students in Anthropology: Doctoral students in anthropology enrolled in this class also will have limited access by permission of the instructor to the Anthropology Media Lab, located on the 2nd floor of 10 Sachem. The Media Lab has iMac editing stations and MiniDV and AVCHD equipment for short-term rental.


Useful Links
Audio Editing

Library Resources
HADDON, the online catalogue of archival ethnographic films
Wilder Research Center

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