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Mediated Anthropology


Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s CADS

  • Minor CADS

  • Premaster’s CADS admitted for this specific course during their application procedure

  • Exchange students admitted for this specific course during their application procedure

Language of Instruction

The language of instruction is English for all participants, and all modes of instruction and examination are in English.

Course Description

This course addresses the mediation of anthropological knowledge. What does it mean to use media to gather, process, and present anthropological knowledge? How do anthropologists communicate using images and objects? How do representational paradigms shape interpretation of research findings? How do modes of production and dissemination both facilitate and limit access to research? And how do digital communication and social networks influence contemporary anthropological knowledge and ethnographic practice? This course serves as an introduction to the institute’s expertise in multimodal methodologies and digital/material culture.

The course will focus on:

  • the history of ethnographic film, photography, and sound

  • the collecting practices and material culture in the museum

  • the idea of the field as a source of knowledge for anthropology and other sciences

  • decolonization and expansion of critical practices of more contemporary anthropologies

  • the kinds of intervention and engagement shaped by our understandings of the future.

Course Objectives

During this course students will:

  • become acquainted with different forms of media and representations

  • gain a broad orientation on the sub-disciplines of material culture, media anthropology, visual anthropology, sensory ethnography, and digital ethnography

  • relate their theoretical and methodological perspectives to concrete case studies within anthropology

  • learn to reflect critically on the fact that all knowledge is mediated, and on the ubiquity of media and how to approach it from an anthropological perspective and analysis


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Mode of Instruction

This is a 5 ECTS course, which means 140 hours of study (1 ECTS is equivalent to 28 study hours or sbu's). These 140 study hours are composed from the following components:

  • Lectures: 14 x 2 hours = 28 hours x 1,5 = 42 sbu

  • Study of literature and audiovisual course materials

  • Online tutorials

  • Excursion(s) (to be confirmed)

Assessment Method

The course assesses students on both practical skills and theoretical knowledge. While theory and practices in anthropology are never fully separated, the theoretical knowledge is assessed primarily through a final exam, whereas the practical skills are assessed through a series of individual assignments. A final group project will assess the combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

The exam grade must be at least 5.5 to complete the course.
Only the final mark is registered in uSis. The final pass mark is 6,0 or higher; a final mark of 5,0 or lower is deemed inadequate. Final marks between 5,0 and 6,0 are never awarded. Only if the final mark is inadequate may the final exam be re-taken, during the re-sit.

Registration in My Studymap

All students will be registered for the lecture and the exam (including re-sits) by the Student Services Centre (SSC). Students do need to confirm the registration for their exams in My Studymap as described below.

Confirming your exams

Students need not register for the examination via My Studymap, since both tests will be conducted through Brightspace.


Brightspace is the digital learning environment of Leiden University. Brightspace gives access to course announcements and electronic study material. Assignments will also be submitted in Brightspace. Announcements about and changes to courses will be made using Brightspace. Students are advised to check Brightspace daily to remain informed about rooms, schedules, deadlines, and details of assignments. Lecturers assume that all students read information posted on Brightspace.

- How to login

The homepage for Brightspace is: Brightspace

Please log in with your ULCN-account and personal password. On the left you will see an overview of My Courses.

For access to your courses in Brightspace you need to be registered in My Studymap for those courses.

Course Literature

Readings: Most readings for the course will come from two books and some additional articles available electronically from the library. We do not provide PDFs or links to these, rather we expect you to develop your research skills in finding these references through the library catalog, which help the citation metrics of these authors and journals.

  1. Hamdy, Sherine, and Coleman Nye. 2017. Lissa, A Story about Medical Promise, Friendship, and Revolution. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  2. Geismar, H. 2018. Museum Object Lessons for the Digital Age. London: UCL Press. Free download.

Films: Many of the films assigned for home viewing are available via the Leiden University Library. Use the permalink provided in the syllabus or select ‘Find Databases’ at top of Leiden University Library homepage, navigate to ‘Ethnographic Video Online.’

Multimodal Resource: This course has a companion website on Smartphone Ethnography, which includes a series of training modules that serve as the basis of group assignments.


Dr. Mark Westmoreland Dr. Benjamin Fogarty