Dr Àngels Trias i Valls © 1999-2009 • Privacy Policy • Terms of Use




• SavageMinds»

My Blog


• SpiritPossession»

Some Twitter


• AllianceTheory»

In Facebook


• Exchange »



this picture visualises a moment of exchange in an antiques market. It can be read as a visual system, in this one the key elements are 'class', hierarchy of value of objects {coins}, gossip.



Residential Anthropology Learning and Teaching Material(ities)


Visual Anthropology



About this Module


Visual Anthropology was a module originally created within the Curriculum strategy of the Anthropology Department in 1998. The first lecturer to teach this course was Dr Strang whom I substituted in 2000 during her sabbatical. The course was re-developed in 2001 as it was transfered to me. I started building up the teaching elemetns using existing course notes that Dr Strang had left to me to aid in the transition of teaching staff. It was agreed departmentally that this was a study area all staff was keen to promote.


Between 2001 and 2007 I included 15 new credits for students through tutorials and lectures and re-used some of the earlier notes into new class handouts. I kept the contents of the initial introductory notes by Dr Strang as they represented a good example of good teaching practice on the subject.


I then went to expand and produced new lecture notes and new tutorials which included findings from my own research, some ethnographic films from fieldwork and an analysis of hypermedia as a visual system. The module grow from 20 credits to 40 credits with 12 lectures of two hours each and 8 tutorials, two hours each. Only 20 credits were assessed.


From 2002 to 2004 I re-defined the asssesment criteria and introduced new assessment practices, the visual photographic porfolios, a non-assessed website on student photography and a working journal based on my experience of teaching and student feedback during the first three years of running this module. In 2003 I created the first handout pack you will see in the Full Handout section. I developed over the following year. The module was run once a year and it was non-compulsory and a very succesful module. In 2005 the module became bi-anual due to staff leaves and gradual curriculum changes.


I further extended my original course notes through the creation of 'film-strips' and a follow up module, visualising ethnographies. I needed a follow up module because the module had grown to 40 credits. I hoped to divide the material into two 20 credits unit with the second specialising on film with the students producing a short film or short visual ethnography instead of written assessment. This was agreed but by then all members of staff had been replaced by staff from other disciplines and the department  lost its original pedagogic strategies. The follow up course, based on ethnographic filming practice, did not happen, shortly after I resigned from my post. I never taught visualising ethnographies.


The course, originally set to be taught in Level 1 Anthropology was in 2003 and 2004 moved to Level 2 as the introduction of Study Skills and Pesonal Development did not leave room for it. One of the film strips tutorial [guardian of the forest] was substituted by another film [dreamings] as student feedback suggested that the content of the film (animal sacrifice) was too upseting. This also suggested it was better placed in level two as students would be able to appreciate the contents differently. Smaller changes were implemented each year following student feedback. The copy here is from the academic year 2004/2005, a later copy was made in 2006 and 2007 with changes, updates, new bibliography, updated hyperlinks (these I checked every year), new essay questions, and a stronger emphasis on performativity, the internet and the effects of globalisation in 'Art'. I hope to include some of the new additions here as this site develops.


The Course Poster

The icon above was the course or module poster. I always design one for each of my courses. I designed here my own composition of visual elements that meant to synthetise some of the approaches the course took regarding Visual Anthropology: patchwork of influences, art and definitions of 'art', matrial culture and rights, ethnographic film, visual representations, interpretation and the (re)-production of visual culture, bounded and textual and numeric representations, the relevance of photography and visual systems.


[go back to all materialities]





The Full Handout includes the following:


1- Course Description

2- Learning Objectives and Aims

3- Bibliography

4- Internet resources

5- Intranet resources (readings)

7- Assessment

8- Lectures adn Tutorial Detailed Handouts

9- Revision and Exam Techniques




1- Introduction to Visual Anthropology

2- Seeing Culture and dealing with Material Cutlure

3- What is Art? Aesthetics and Cultural Translation

4- Methods in visual Anthropology, film, photography, text

5- Photography

6- Film

7- Film II

8- Indigenous Art and the Global Discourse

9- Hypermedia: Iconography and the Internet

10- Maps, Murals, Landscape and Identity

11- Tatooing and Body Modification

12- Performance and Ritual



1- Japanese Colours -group game

2- The Bilum in Papua New Guinea, group exercise

3- Wakakusa and the Go game, individual exercise

4- Out of Africa -ethnographic film

5- Photo Wallahs -ethongraphic film

6- Nanook of the North - ethnographic film

7- Guardian of the Forest -ethngoraphic film (optional)

8- Dreamings and B Auntie Tale in Australia film and Internet -with full awareness of copyright issues on stories of the Dreaming as the issue of discussion in class.



For queries, an email.