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ANTH210 Translating Culture

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?

Paper title Translating Culture
Paper code ANTH210
Subject Anthropology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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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.

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 10:00-11:50 28-34, 36-40


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Tuesday 12:00-12:50 29-34, 36-40
A2 Tuesday 14:00-14:50 29-34, 36-40