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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Anthropology

Colorful Dragon

Visual Anthropology

... Visual Theories


(We are not accepting students at this time. Please check out the other Certificate Programs.)

The University of South Carolina announces a Graduate Certificate in Visual Anthropology for graduate students enrolled in M.A. or Ph.D. programs in Media Arts and Anthropology but which also serves graduate students in such areas as Education, the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, as well as Sociology and Geography. The Certificate introduces these graduate students to the intellectual understanding (anthropology and visual theories) and the hands-on practical skills (shooting and editing) necessary to make anthropologically-informed ethnographic (documentary) films or videos, and/or to effectively incorporate visuals (stills/film/video) into their research. The director of the Program is in Anthropology, and works with the relevant faculty in Anthropology and Media Arts. Students completing this Certificate will have a skill that complements but does not replace the fieldwork/research methods requirements already in place for the various graduate programs.

Visual Anthropology is a very broad category including both ethnographic (documentary) film and various research uses of visuals (mainly these days video and still photography). The wide interest in Visual Anthropology is evidenced by several long-standing scholarly organizations: the Society for Visual Anthropology (a Section of the American Anthropological Association), the International Commission for Visual Anthropology, and the closely-related International Visual Sociology Association, all of which publish journals.

The faculty involved include:

Media Arts:
Karla Berry, Associate Professor and Area Coordinator, Media Arts. Past President, University Film and Video Association. Documentary film and video artist with current research in digital and wireless new media art.

Laura Kissell, Associate Professor, Media Arts. Documentary film and video artist with current research in the documentation of cultural/social/political landscapes.

Joanna Casey, Associate Professor. Archaeology. Video production in ethno-archaeology (Ghana).

Marc Moskowitz, Associate Professor

Jennifer Reynolds, Associate Professor. Linguistic Anthropology. Uses of video in linguistic research with Mayans.

Languages, Literatures, and Cultures:
A number of faculty teach 500 and 700-level culture and film courses in several different languages.

Film Studies:
There is a new Film Studies Program at USC, which offers FILM 566, Topics in American Film; FILM 597, Comparative Studies in Film; and FILM 598, Topics in World Film. Susan Courtney, Associate Professor of English and Film Studies, directs the program.

Certificate Requiements:
We offer a flexible mix of courses. Specific programs are worked out between the students and their committees, composed of three faculty from at least two units (Anthropology and Media Arts). Eighteen hours of course work are required for the Certificate, nine of which must be at the 700 level. Sample course programs:

Core courses:
ANTH 703 (the introductory graduate theory class)
ANTH 724 Visual Anthropology Research Methods
ANTH 570 Ethnographic Film
MART 710 Principles of Production: Theory and Practice

Sample Programs of Study:
There are two main tracks, one concentrating on ethnographic/documentary film, which is especially relevant to Media Arts and Anthropology graduate students who plan to make documentary films. The other track is for visual anthropology research, appealing especially to Anthropology as well as Education, Public Health and other graduate students who plan to use visual records in their research. Sample programs of study:

1. The Ethnographic/Documentary Film track: two courses beyond the core, selected from the following:

MART 553 Documentary Production
ARTH 555/FILM 555 History of Documentary Film
Foreign Languages, English or ANTH -- 1 or 2 Culture and Film classes
e.g.: ANTH 516 Indonesian Culture Through Film
FILM 597 (=CPLT 597) Comparative Studies in Films
FILM 598 (=FORL 598) Topics in World Film
MART 572 Single Camera Video Production

2. The Visual Anthropology Research track: two courses beyond the core selected from the following:

ANTH 719 Field Problems in Ethnography
ARTH 555/FILM 555 History of Documentary Film
MART 553 Documentary Production
MART 572 Single Camera Video Production

18 hours are required for the Certificate, 9 of which must be at the 700 level. . (Candidates may use up to 6 credit hours that are also required for their primary degree programs.) A final public presentation of a culminating project incorporating visuals is required for completion of the Certificate Program. This final culminating project could be an ethnographic/documentary film, or it could be a demonstration of how visual records (like schoolroom video) enhanced the candidate’s research.