Culture and Communities: Studio Class in Visual Ethnography

Code: ΕΡ 785

Semester: 7


Konstantinos Kalantzis

Teaching Assistant: Konstantinos Diamantis

Course description

What is social experience and how can we record and analyze it ethnographically while utilizing visual media and particular theoretical models?

The aim of this studio class is to explore cultural practice and social experience as they emerge in the everyday domain of local communities. These may include a variety of geographical and social spheres (from cultural associations to grass-roots organizations, specific neighborhoods, digital collectives, followers of a certain religious group and so on). The research may take place virtually or follow interlocutors in a specific place (or between places). The studio class teaches students the fundamentals of ethnographic fieldwork (particularly, visual ethnography) and blends these with theoretical debates in anthropology and the social sciences as well as in film studies and photo theory. Its emphasis on visual culture culminates in the production of final projects that articulate anthropological analysis through photography and film. The projects draw on ethnographic fieldwork.


There is an array of themes explored by this class: from conflicts between local communities and official institutions, to everyday practices concerning memory and memorialization, infrastructures, art practice, notions of tradition, religious experience, social media and the digital (see the syllabus for more info).



Socio-Cultural Anthropology, Visual Ethnography, Visual Media, Ethnographic Film, Photo Theory, Methodology, Qualitative Research Methods, Ethnographic Theory, Visual Culture.



Suggested bibliography

Edwards, Elizabeth. 1997. “Beyond the Boundary: A Consideration of the Expressive in Photography and Anthropology.” Στο Rethinking Visual Anthropology, edited by Marcus Banks and Howard Morphy, 53–80. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.


Ingold, Tim. 2022. “Stop, look and listen! Vision, hearing and human movement” Στο The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill, London: Routledge.


Kalantzis, Konstantinos. 2019. Tradition in the frame: Photography, power, and imagination in Sfakia, Crete. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.


MacDougall, David. 2006. The Corporeal Image: Film, Ethnography, and the Senses. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


Pinney, Christopher και The PhotoDemos Collective. επιμ. 2023. Citizens of Photography. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. [open access]


Schacter, Rafael. 2014. Ornament and Order: Graffiti, Street Art, and the Parergon. London: Ashgate.


Sutherland, Patrick. 2016. “The Photo Essay.” Visual Anthropology Review, 32(2): 115-121