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ANY2170 - Visualising cultures: film and ethnography

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader(s): Brett Hough


Clayton Second semester 2009 (Day)


This unit explores the relation between film and ethnography by examining how cultures are 'visualised' - documented and represented on celluloid, usually in productions that are aimed at an educational audience rather than one that seeks pure entertainment. The ethical responsibilities of the filmmaker, the political dimension of filmic representation and the practical problems of recording another culture without 'exoticising' it will be studied. The unit also explores the issue of when visual representation can be more (or less) effective than textual discussions.


Students in this subject can expect to:

  1. Become familiar with a range of ethnographic films.

  1. Further their understanding of issues involved in the politics of representation.

  1. Situate ethnographic film in relation to both a written tradition of ethnography and other filmed products.

  1. Develop their capacity to apply theories 'visually' as well as 'textually'.

  1. Improve written and oral skills in presenting, discussing and evaluating ideas and issues in anthropology by studying particular films in some detail.


Written work and film reviews: 70%
Exam: 20%
Participation: 10%

Contact hours

4 hours (1 x 2 hour film screening, 1 x 1 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour tutorial) per week


Appropriate first-year ANY sequence or by permission


COS2170 & ANY3170

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