This course explores the genre of ethnographic film—its historical emergence, methodological
innovations, and theoretical contribution to both anthropology and art. The course charts the
evolution of ethnographic films from their initial concerns with representing the “Other” to their
shifted attention to reflexivity and the politics of knowledge production across cultural
boundaries. Throughout the course, we will be addressing various ethical, formal, and thematic
concerns underlying contemporary thinking about ethnographic filmmaking. A variety of
experimental ethnographic film and video makers will be introduced in weekly lectures and
screenings. In the course of the semester, students will also be researching, assembling material,
interviewing, and editing three short assignments and a final project that responds to the different
thematical focuses. The formats utilized to produce these projects may include single-channel
video, interactive video, or video installation.
The course introduces a new methodology for engaging with key debates and topics in
anthropology. As such, it surveys the developments of and approaches to an important subfield
of anthropological studies, one with wide applications across the social sciences and the arts. It
also allows students to harness the creative power of cinema and the moving image as tools for
reflection and engagement with contemporary social issues. The course is highly sustainable
given the strong interest among students in both Arts and Media Studies and Social Studies in
interdisciplinary exploration and film. Furthermore, given the course’s emphasis on hands-on
ethnographic field experience and analytical depth rather than technical mastery alone, it also
requires minimal infrastructure beyond the existing computer lab and equipment already
available at Fulbright.

offering time

Spring 23


Social Studies


Tram Luong


Course code


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