subject under possible revision
6 modules have to be completed. The modules consist of various units. Each unit includes exams and assignments. Credit points will be awarded for successful completion. The students have to complete both Basic Modules and can choose two from three Profile Modules.
Students are introduced to the basic working methods and theories of Visual Anthropology. They are familiarized with prevalent approaches and theories and their application. As they are expected to have rather diverse backgrounds, this introduction also aims at achieving a common basis from which to proceed to the specific modules. Visual Anthropology consists of two modules:
1a) Introduction to Visual Anthropology (Chris Wright) in-house-class (November 3rd 2008 - November 7th 2008)
For some, there is no question about what visual anthropology is: it is ethnographic film and video (and, in the past, photography), and is defined by its content – exotic others – and its style – documentary. On the other hand, visual anthropology may be less an extension of anthropological research (new media through which to pursue traditional ethnographic concerns) than it is a convergence of practices drawn from diverse fields - academic, commercial, artistic - that escapes any easy definition. As well as providing an introduction to the sub-discipline, this course productively questions existing definitions of visual anthropology. It looks at various accounts of the sub-discipline, but also looks beyond immediate disciplinary concerns in order to explore the possibilities for a visual anthropology that is not only connected with the professional concerns of anthropologists (for many of whom visual anthropology is unimportant), and with adequately presenting anthropologically-informed representations to a larger public, but that also extends our understanding of the world in creative new ways.
This course considers visual anthropology in its historical perspective; asks how it is related to text-based anthropology; questions its role in relation to indigenous media; and explores the ways in which it can engage with other senses. The range of material covered is designed to give you a base from which to develop your own research interests and visual practices. The course will consist of a series of themed lectures with accompanying visual material and screenings of film extracts, followed by seminars and various kinds of group work. The constant use of visual material as examples will emphasise the links between theory and practice, and you will be required to make visual work before the course begins, as well as carrying out small practical exercises while it is running.
1b) Classics and Varieties of Ethnographic Film (Anne-Marie Reynaud) Online-course
Spread over thirteen units, this course will take us from the first grainy ethnographic film shot in the Arctic all the way to southern Ethiopia, with stopovers in Bali, Russia, Italy, Ghana, the United States, Canada, Germany and England. On this journey, we will explore classic works, figures and issues in the history and practice of ethnographic film. In so doing, we will encounter the visual anthropologists Margaret Mead, Timothy Asch, Jean Rouch, Robert Gardner, Judith and David MacDougall, and many others. The goal is to experience and reflect on a diversity of ways of seeing, and thereby inspire new ways of filming.
Each unit will be based on viewing and discussing films. We will aim to grasp an understanding of each film and its relationship to anthropology, and the way these films deal with issues and themes on-camera, off-camera, behind-camera and on the screen. We will consider the use of the camera as a research tool, the Kino-Eye, early British Realism and Italian Neorealism, aesthetics in film, ciné-trance, ciné-vérité, observational film, issues of cultural and gender representation, auto-ethnography, and ethical questions raised by the practice of ethnographic film.
1c) Producing and reading moving images (Kristian Petersen) Camera Workshop in-house, 5th of November)
The workshop gives an introduction to the professional use of a video camera during field research. Aspects of the training will be: choosing the right format (film, DV, DVcam, HDV) and ratio (4:3 or 16:9), choosing the appropriate sound equipment and how to create an image. Basics of handling a videocamera, using light and creating appropriate interview situations will be shown and discussed. Main interest of the course will be the diversity of capturing „reality“. Besides questioning objectivity and subjectivity of images we will try to train our eyes for compositions and the “golden cut”.
Beyond that we will make exercises, compare and discuss the results and analyse the differences regarding that what we see and that we don’t see.
1d) Editing moving images (Angela Christlieb, Roland Topel), Digital Editing Workshop at digiparc postproduction company Berlin, 8th of November
This workshop gives an introduction how to use a professional Avid On-Line Workstation, as well as how to work with an editor and a basic overview into various forms of film and TV- editing techniques (including examples). The class will cover the following topics: the medium of digital non-linear editing, organizing your material, storyboarding, editing shots into sequences, the fundamentals of Avid effects. Different forms of audio editing including adjusting natural sound, adding music and mixing narration. Elements of classic editing techniques like reverse angle, eye-line match, crosscutting and jump cuts will be explained with various examples as well as the importance of rhythm and pacing. The purpose is to complete and outplay several short editing projects while using footage from the Camera workshop.
Basic Module 2: Media Anthropology (15 credits)
Students are introduced to the basic working methods and theories of Media Anthropology. They are familiarized with prevalent approaches and theories and their application Media Anthropology consists of two modules:
2a) Introduction to Media Anthropology (Thorolf Lipp) in-house-class Berlin (November 3rd and 4th 2008)
This course provides an overview of the emerging field of Media Anthropology. Using the term “field” should make clear that most probably we can not speak of Media Anthropology as a discipline yet. Media Anthropology should rather be seen as an ongoing process involving people from various disciplines and different professional backgrounds, dealing with similar sets of phenomena , employing vaguely similar methodologies. On a basal level one can say that Media Anthropology examines the relationship between media and people. Culture without communication is unthinkable. Or, in other words: humans need mediums in order to communicate, culture must be “mediated“ to come into existence. Hence, the role of the human being as the “first medium” will be the starting point of our seminar. Secondly, we’ll look into the history and differentiation of media systems, such as writing, electric and electronic media, and explore how and why different mediums produce a different “interface” between humans and the surrounding world. Marshall McLuhan summarized this finding with his famous phrase: “the medium is the message”.
Lastly, the seminar will explore different forms of narrative. Why is it that certain narratives, e.g. the Aristotelian drama, seem to be more widely used and seem to have more autopoietic potential than others? On the other hand, however, there is a strong quest for the “totally different narrative” that is a constant concern for many artists, filmmakers, poets, scholars etc. alike. This question closes the circle because it creates a direct link to one of Anthropology’s fundamental questions: what is the relationship between unity and diversity in the many forms of human culture and in what way can the study of media help us to understand this relationship.
2b) Indigenous Media (Laura Gerber, Steffen Köhn, Florian Walter), Online-course
The course provides an introduction to how indigenous people use audiovisual media. Starting with a general perspective on the phenomenon, we will discuss the history of representation in ethnographic filmmaking from authoritarian styles to self-representation. Focusing on a case study in Chiapas, Mexico, we will develop a general overview of the politics and poetics of indigenous filmmaking concentrating especially on feminist and postmodern approaches. Broadening the scope, we will also discuss the reality of mass media in the traditional sites of anthropological fieldwork, as well as new transnational networks of media distribution and the role of media in maintaining diasporic connections.
The theoretical framework of this course will not only encompass the latest ethnographic material, but also perspectives from communication studies, cultural studies and the philosophy of media. We will consider the development and role of indigenous media productions in promoting indigenous cultures, languages and world-view, how media technologies affect the representation and reproduction of indigenous cultures.Potential stories, series and program ideas will be explored. Students will have the opportunity to develop a thorough understanding of production practices and skills.
Profile Module A: Basic and Varieties of Ethnographic Film Production (15 credits) (from April 15th to Juli 15th 2009)
(A1) Camera workshop and Digital Editing II, in-house-course
(A2) Visual Anthropology and Ethics (Anne-Marie Reynaud), in-house-class
Profile Module B: Communication/Mediascapes (15 credits) (from April 15th to Juli 15th 2009)
(B1) Social Anthropology in Virtual Cultures
(B2) Photography as Ethnography, online-course
Profile Module C: Applied Visual and Media Anthropology (15 credits) (from April 15th to Juli 15th 2009)
(C1) Visual Anthropology in Art and Experimental Film, in-house-class
(C2) Ethnographic Film Production (Julia Berg), online-course
Internship (extern, third semester, winter semester Oct. 2009 - Febr. 2010 ) (15 credits)
The students should complete their internship (9 weeks) in a film production company, TV-station, museum or other related field of the Master programme. This internship shall give students an insight into potential areas of employment and confront them with the professional demands in one of the related fields.
Project-Module: Film Project /Media Project (third semester, winter semester Oct. 2009 - Febr. 2010) (15 credits)
Part 1: Development
Part 2: Production
Part 3: Post-Production
Master Thesis (30 credits)
After completing all units and in-house workshops, a Master's thesis of about 18,000 words (60 pages) or a film (about 40 min) with a Master's thesis of about 8.000 wods (25 pages) has to be completed within three months.
Students may choose the topic they wish to elaborate on. The topic has to be closely connected to the matters studied. Great importance is attached to the correct use of methodology, the application of theoretical models as well as an acceptable format.
The thesis is appraised by two persons entitled to examine students.