Visual Culture

Code: ΕΠ 216

Semester: 2,4


Konstantinos Kalantzis

Course description

This course introduces students to theoretical discussions concerning the role of visual culture and visual media in the social sciences. What is the potential of the visual as a medium and a platform for understanding social experience and for critiquing power? By focusing especially on film and photography, the course explores the potentials and limitations in the use of visual media and more widely of the scope of the visual in exploring and representing social life. Students are introduced to various theoretical debates and traditions and they engage different stylistic and aesthetic forms (documentary, commercial photography, postcolonial art) which the course relates to particular theoretical debates. The course is assessed with an oral exam at the end of term. Some questions pursued during the semester include: What are the possibilities and limitations that stem from the use of cameras in describing Other cultures? What are the political challenges and problems involved in the representation of Otherness? How can specific forms of visual style and structure produce different forms of analysis?



film, photography, visual theory, sociocultural anthropology, visual practice, consumption, the senses, non-western visual theory, visual research methods.



Suggested bibliography


Azoulay, Ariella. 2008. The Civil Contract of Photography, New York: Zone Books.


Banks, Marcus και Howard Morphy (επιμ.) Rethinking Visual Anthropology, New Haven: Yale University Press.


Bourgois, Philippe and Jeffrey Schonberg. 2009. Righteous Dopefiend, Berkeley: University of California Press.


Didi-Huberman, Georges. 2008. Images in Spite of All: Four Photographs from Auschwitz, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 


Grimshaw, Anna 2001. The Ethnographer’s Eye, Ways of Seeing in Modern Anthropology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Καλαντζής, Κωνσταντίνος. 2013. “Οπτικός Πολιτισμός και Ανθρωπολογία» στο Υλικός Πολιτισμός: Η Ανθρωπολογία στη Χώρα των Πραγμάτων, Ε. Γιαλούρη (επιμ.), Αθήνα: Αλεξάνδρεια.


Kalantzis, Konstantinos. 2020 “Picturing the Imaginable: Fantasy, Photography and Displacement in the Highland Cretan “Village.” Journal of Modern Greek Studies 38: 59–84.


Pinney, Christopher. 2006. “Four Types of Visual Culture.” In Handbook of Material Culture, edited by Chris Tilley, Webb Keane, Susanne Küchler, Mike Rowlands, and Patricia Spyer, 131–144. London: Sage


Said, Edward W. 1978. Orientalism. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.