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Media Worlds


Please note: this course description is not fully up-to-date for the academic year 2019-2020. A new version with marginal changes will be presented on this page shortly.

Admission requirements

This course is open to the following categories of students:

  • Bachelor’s CA-DS,

  • Minor CA-DS,

  • Pre-Master’s CA-DS admitted for this specific course during their application procedure,

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

  • Contract students registered in accordance with the procedure set out on this page of the faculty website.

Language of Instruction

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


This course addresses the mediation of anthropological knowledge and serves as an introduction to the institute’s expertise in multimodal methodologies and digital/material culture. 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?

The lessons will focus on:
a) the history of ethnographic film, photography, and sound;
b) the collecting practices and material culture in the museum;
c) the idea of the field as a source of knowledge for anthropology and other sciences;
d) decolonization and expansion of critical practices of more contemporary anthropologies; and
e) the kinds of intervention and engagement shaped by our understandings of the future.

Course Objectives

During this course students will:
1. become acquainted with different forms of media and representations;
2. gain a broad orientation on the sub-disciplines of material culture, media anthropology, visual anthropology, sensory ethnography, and digital ethnography;
3. relate their theoretical and methodological perspectives to concrete case studies within anthropology;
4. 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.

Time Table

See our website

Mode of Instruction

5 EC = 140 study hours (sbu)

  • lectures 14x 2 hours (42 sbu)

  • study of literature

  • group assignments

  • excursions

Assessment Method

  • Participation (10%): The most successful course experience relies on every student contributing to the best of her/his ability. Play an active role in the group project, i.e., pulling your weight. Be prepared to engage course materials. Contribute to discussion with active listening, thoughtful comments, and inquisitive questions.

  • Assignments (20%): Students perform a series of ‘auto-ethnographic’ data collection assignments using their mobile phone as a research tool.

  • Group Project (30%): Students will be randomly assigned to groups of 4. Each group will be given access to a dataset to analyze. Final multimodal reports will be presented at the end of the course.

  • Final Exam (40%): A final comprehensive exam based on multiple-choice and short essay questions will cover the content of the lectures and assigned materials.
    Only the final grade is being registered in Usis. Only if the final grade is inadequate it may be re-taken during the re-take test.
    Enrollment in Usis for the the test and the exam is obligatory and is possible up to 10 days before they take place. More about exam enrolment.

Registering for examinations

First years students, Exchange students and Pre-Master students are not required to register.
Other students are required to register in uSis for every examination and may do so up to 11 calendar days before the examination. Read more

Registration in uSis

  • First-year CA-OS students, Exchange students and pre-Master students: registration for lectures, tutorials, exams is NOT necessary as students will be registered by the Student Services Centre (SSC).

  • Second-year CA-OS students, Minor students and Contract students must register for all lectures and examinations (see above), but are not required to do so for tutorials.

  • Enrolment in mandatory tutorials will be done by the student administration and announced via Usis in the first week of lectures.

Registration periods and further information about procedure is given on the website on course registration.


Brightspace will be the digital learning environment of Leiden University as of the 2020/2021 academic year. This means Brightspace will replace the current system Blackboard.

Students attending the first year of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology or resitting courses, will be the first working with Brightspace as their learning management system as of the academic year 2019-2020. Through Brightspace you can access news messages, retrieve study material and hand in assignments. You will need to visit Brightspace on a regular basis to be sure to have the latest information. Lecturers will assume that all students read the information provided in Brightspace.

How to login:
The homepage for Brightspace is:
Please log in with your ULCN-account and personal password. On the left you will see an overview of My Courses.

To get access to your courses in Brightspace you need to be registered in uSis for these courses.

Leiden University app
In this app, you can find most of your personal study information in one place. The Blackboard app will be replaced by the Brightspace app over time. Until then you have to use them both.

Reading List

Collins, Samuel Gerald and Matthew Slover Durington. 2014. Networked Anthropology: A Primer for Ethnographers. Routledge.
Geismar, H. 2018. Museum Object Lessons for the Digital Age. London: UCL Press.
Additional articles & films available electronically from the library.


Mark Westmoreland - coordinator