autumn 2017

SVF-3903 From Fieldwork Experience to Ethnographic Film and Text - 60 stp

Sist endret: 19.01.2018

The course is administrated by

Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education


Tromsø |

Type of course

The course is compulsory for students admitted to the Master's programme in Visual Cultural Studies (VCS). It may not be taken as a singular course.

Course contents

The course aims to give the students basic research skills for utilising film and text as different means in the production and mediation of ethnographic research. During the course the students will produce a film and a written thesis.                             

Returning from fieldwork, the students will start to prepare the writing of their exam paper and the editing of their exam film. In the analysis of their fieldwork material, the course aims at utilizing images and texts as different modalities for producing anthropological knowledge. The film footage will be utilized for ethnographic descriptions and analysis, where film and text mutually inform and inspire each other. During the autumn term, the students will work on systematizing their empirical material for film and text purposes, and present a first draft of their thesis by the end of term. In the spring term the students will edit their exam film for 2.5 months, and finalize their written dissertation. Exam film and paper must be ready for evaluation by the end of May.

Objective of the course

Students who successfully complete this course should have achieved the following learning outcomes:


  • can distinguish and reflect critically on own and other people¿s ways of knowing.
  • know how to identify suitable analytical approaches based on their empirical material
  • be able to discuss and evaluate theoretical and methodological approaches within qualitative social science and visual studies
  • know the rules of scientific reliability in the establishment of knowledge within the qualitative social sciences.
  • Have knowledge of the debates on advocacy and empowerment in the social science tradition.


  • has cross-cultural understanding: Can establish anthropological knowledge on the basis of a clear understanding of the difference of own and other people¿s perspectivies.
  • be able to develop a consistent analytical argument based on fieldwork material; own and fellow students¿
  • be able to implement and analyze visual, oral, corporeal and other systems of meaning
  • be able to demonstrate basic research skills for the use of film and text as different means in the production and dissemination of ethnographic knowledge
  • be able to demonstrate an ability to try out, in an experimental way, different possible steps in the establishment of knowledge. 

General competence

  • be able to make a research based ethnographic film
  • be able to present a consistent analytical argument trough a written thesis
  • be able to, , build knowledge about own and fellow students empirical field through collaborative work and comparison
  • be able to demonstrate the relative relevance of different theoretical and methodological approaches to the empirical characteristics of research material
  • be able to identify and discuss how knowledge production and reflexivity can be used as tools for empowerment of research partners and local communities

Language of instruction

All lectures, readings, assignments, seminar discussions and the final examination are conducted in English.

Teaching methods

Part of the teaching is organised in 'Film and text seminars' (approx. 40 hours), combined with lectures (approx. 35 hours).

The students present work-in-progress, both film and texts, in compulsory seminars. Students receive individual supervision throughout the film and text-making process. 


Coursework requirements

Students shall complete and submit all the following coursework requirements to gain access to the final examination. 

Course attendance is compulsory, i.e. only valid absences will be approved. A minimum presence of 80 % is required.

Students shall have individual debrief discussions about their fieldwork.

During the autumn semester students shall submit:

  • a scene list
  • a field report
  •  three papers exploring and expanding the ideas for the  Master's thesis
  •  the final draft for the Master's thesis

During the spring semester students shall submit following:

  •  a written statement of the film idea
  • syllabus selected by student (1000 pages confirmed by supervisor).

The final examination is composed of three parts: Film (max. 30 minutes duration) Master's thesis (approx. 50 pages)

Oral examination (Approx. 60 minutes) The film and the thesis will count equally towards the final grade, the oral examination may confirm or adjust the evaluation.


Course overlap

SVF-3905 From fieldwork experiences to ethnographic film 30 stp

Recommended reading/syllabus

1) * Books available at Akademisk kvarter

2) @ accessible online

3) The rest in compendium available at Akademisk kvarter

Writing Ethnography

* Ghodsee, K. (2016) From Notes to Narrative. Writing Ethnographies that everyone can read. The University of Chicago Press. 160 p.

Identity and Power in Globalization - You may select 200 pages from one of the following monographs/books:

*Ferguson, J. (2006) Global Shadows. Africa in the Neoliberal World Order. Duke University Press. London. 227 p.

*Gledhill, J. (2000) Power and its Disguises. Anthropological Perspectives on Politics. Pluto Press, London. 242 p.

* Ortner, S. B. (2013) Not Hollywood: independent film at the twilight of the American dream. Duke University Press, London. 331 p.

The Challenges of operationalization

-The Manchester school

Van Velsen, J. (1967) The extended Case Method. In Epstein A.L. (ed.) The Craft of Social Anthropology. 25 p.

@ Boissevain, J. (1979) Network Analysis; A Reappraisal. In Current Anthropology, Volume 20, No. 2: 392-394. 3 p. * Evens, T.M.S. and Handelman, D. (2006) Introduction: The Ethnographic Praxis of the Theory of Practice. In Evens and Handelman (eds.) The Manchester School. Practice and Ethnographic praxis in Anthropology. Berghahn books. 14 p.

* Gluckman, M. (2006) Ethnographic Data in British social Anthropology. In Evens and Handelman (eds.) The Manchester School. Practice and Ethnographic praxis in Anthropology. Berghahn books 11 p.

Mitchell, C. (1984) Case Studies. In Ellen, R.F. (ed.). Ethnographic Research: A guide to General Conduct. ASA Research Methods in Social Anthropology 1. London: Academic Press. 5 p.

-Operationalization of signs

Barthes, R. (1967) Elements of Semiology. Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London: the following chapters: Excerpts. 25 p.

Goffman, E. (1976) Gender Advertisement. MacMillan Press LTD, London. 23 p.

Grønhaug, R. (1976) Transaction and Signification: An Analytical Distinction in the

Study of Social Interaction. Stencil. University of Bergen. 15 p. *Ferguson, J. (2006) Of Mimicry and Membership: Africans and the `new World Society¿. In Global Shadows. Africa in the neocolonial world order. Duke University Press. 21 p.

-Operationalization: Emotions and Gender

@ Lyon, M. L. (1995) Missing Emotion; the Limitations of Cultural Constructionism in the Study of Emotion. Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 10 (2): 244-263. 20 p.

@ Mahmood, S. (2001) Feminist Theory, Embodiment, and the docile Agent: some Reflections on the Egyptian Islamic Revival. Cultural anthropology, 16 (2): 202-236.

The Situatedness of knowledge ¿ its consequences for Anthropology

Clifford, J. (1986) Introduction: Partial Truths. In Clifford, J. and Marcus G.E. (eds.) Writing Culture. The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. University of California Press, London. 27 p.

Marcus, G.E. (1986) Afterword: Ethnographic Writing and Anthropological Careers. In Clifford, J. and Marcus G.E. (eds.) Writing Culture. The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. University of California Press, London. 6 p.

* Rabinow, P. and Marcus G.E., with Faubion, J. and Rees, T. (2008) Designs for an Anthropology of the contemporary. Duke University Press. Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8, 9. 56 p.

Jackson, M. (2005) The course of an Event. In Existential Anthropology: Events, Exigencies and Effects, Methodology and History in Anthropology. Volume 11, New York: Berghahn Books, ch 1. 15 p.

The Subject and the object

Strathern, M. (1987) The limits of auto-anthropology. In Jackson, J. (ed.) Anthropology at Home. ASA Monograph Series, Routledge. 22 p.

@ Nyamnjoh, F.B. (2012) Blinded by Sight: Divining the Future of Anthropology in Africa. In Africa Spectrum, 47, 2-3, 63-92 30 p.

Globalization in theory

@ Moore, S.F. (2005) From Tribes and Traditions to Composites and Conjunctures. In Social Analysis, volume 49, issue 3; 254-272. 19 p.

Meyer, B. and Geschiere, P. (1999) Globalization and Identity: Dialectics of Flow and Closure, Introduction. In Meyer, B. and Geschiere, P. (eds.). Globalization and Identity: Dialectics of flow and closure. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford. 1-17. 18 p.

Arce, A. and Long, N. (2000) Anthropology, Development and Modernities. Exploring discourses, counter-tendencies and violence. Routledge. N.Y. pp. 1-32. 33 p.


Fiske, J. (2002) Introduction to Communication Studies, Routledge, London.

Lectures Autumn 2017
First meeting: Tuesday August 16, 2016 at 10.15 a.m. Room: TEO 5.310
Lectures Ass. Prof. Trond Waage

f.aman. Trond Waage
prof. Lisbeth Holtedahl
f.aman. Bjørn Magne Arntsen
overing. Andreas Buch
Francisca Uriri
First semester coursework requirements Hand in field report September 11, 2017.Hand in first paper September 15, 2017.Hand in shot list September 18, 2017.Hand in second paper: October 13, 2017.Hand in third paper: November 15, 2017.Hand in draft of Master's Thesis December 22, 2017.All papers are to be submitted in Fronter before 2 p.m. Dates may be subject to changes.