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    An introduction to the political and ethical implications of anthropological representation combining readings of selected ethnographic films, books and anthropological theory.

    This paper explores the conventional and creative ways that anthropologists ‘speak’ to a range of audiences – including other scholars and the public – through mediums including books, articles, photo essays, films, blogs and podcasts.

    Ethnographic writing often employs a rich, narrative and sensory style; its evocative and layered approach helping us understand and interpret other lifeways and worldviews. Meanwhile, in a mediascape of soundbites, ethnographic film is known for longer scenes, dwelling with people, places and events. Exploring such approaches, in this paper we ask questions including:

    • What is truth, and how do anthropologists seek to capture and challenge it?
    • How do anthropologists show greater meaning from specific details, linking the particular with the general and back again?
    • How do anthropologists advocate for change?

    About this paper

    Paper title Translating Culture
    Subject Anthropology
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024, expected to be offered in 2025 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    ANTH 103 or ANTH 105 or 54 points
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music

    Teaching staff

    Dr Hannah Bulloch

    Teaching Arrangements

    One two-hour lecture per week, and one tutorial per week.


    Course readings are provided through eReserve on Blackboard.

    Course outline

    Will be available on Blackboard at the start of the course.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Research, Self-motivation.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to:

    • Appreciate a range of challenges and complexities in communicating and translating culture through written and audio-visual means.
    • Critically analyse the construction of ethnographic texts and visual media, particularly in relation to truth claims, author reflexivity, narrative, exposition and representation.
    • Understand how ethnographic writing and audio-visual approaches relate to the history of anthropology and the social sciences, particularly to debates around ethics, objectivity and outreach.


    Not offered in 2024, expected to be offered in 2025

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
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