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The University of Southampton

ANTH3003 Anthropology, Film and Representations of the Other

Module Overview

This module is often concerned with how different cultures and ways of life are both constructed and represented within ethnographic film, but this is not its only feature. The medium of ethnographic film will be considered in the light of its development in terms of methodologies, techniques and processes of production as well as in relation to issues concerning the visual representation of the filmic subject. The module will also explore the filmic medium and audience reception in the light of methodological debates within anthropology.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate theoretical and methodological issues in ethnographic film- making and understand their relationship to wider debates in society.
  • Undertake an investigation of the validity of film as a data-gathering tool while paying attention to appropriate methods, styles of analysis, genre, evidence, theory, and the presentation of research findings.
  • Recognise and respond to the ethical dimensions of film while doing social research.
  • Recognise the problems associated with representations of other ways of life.
  • Appreciate the ethical dimensions involved in producing ethnographic film.
  • Critically evaluate ethnographic film as both a communication medium and a research tool within the discipline of anthropology
  • Consolidate your critical, evaluation, analytical and communication skills.
  • Effectively employ information technology data search skills.
  • Identify, select and evaluate appropriate data and evidence from relevant sources and present conclusions in an appropriate social science format.
  • Recognise and formulate social science questions.
  • Be competent in the use of theoretical perspectives and concepts in anthropology and filmmaking while being able to apply them to the areas of film production and issues in representation.


Anthropology actively studies people in real-life settings in order to investigate the crucial roles that culture and social organisation has in human life. This involves anthropologists communicating other ways of life to an academic 'audience' who read about how other people live. But is this the best way of communicating between cultures? Modern anthropology can now study human life using film as a medium that sometimes challenges former ways of doing anthropology. In this unit we use a varied range of films from 'documentary' to 'anthropological' as case studies to examine a range of issues. These will include the accuracy and complexity of recording other ways of life, the relationship between filmmaker and audience, popular imagery, indigenous film, different filmic styles and traditions, as well as critically appraising the role of traditional anthropology in a world of media entertainment.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

One lecture a week, one film screening a week and one discussion seminar a week.

Independent Study121
Total study time154

Resources & Reading list

Please contact the module co-ordinator via email.. 


Assessment Strategy

The 100% 4000 word project will expect students to involve inclusion of both regular weekly reading from lecture reading lists and filmic material from screened films shown in the module.


MethodPercentage contribution
Project  (4000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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