Visual Anthropology


The focus on Visual Anthropology in teaching and researching at the Institute of Ethnology Münster started in the summer semester 2007 and is countinously growing. The term Visual Anthropology originates from the English language and describes a direction of Cultural and Social Anthropology which, among other contents, records and interpretes social and cultural practices with the help of audio-visual media. Since the "iconic/pictorial turn" of humanity studies in the 1990s the upgrading of pictures as a medium for anthropological research in contrast to texts became Visual Anthropology's first priority (Bachmann-Medick 2007). In general Visual Anthropology is structured in media theory, audio-visual recordings as a method for research and teaching, researches in the area of visual representations and reception, and ethnographic films as a medium of presentation of research results.


Each semester the institute offers  seminars or lectures about theory und practice of Visual Anthropology which enable the students to create their own film projects under professional supervision. Thereto we produce together with the cluster of excellence 'Religion and Politics' two films (see Projects). These were publicly presented in cooperation with Cinema Münster. Moreover we organise field trips to film festivals (e.g. to Göttingen or London) and other activities.

Collection of ethnographic films at the institute

The institute has a wide and continuously growing collection of ethnographic and documentary films that can be borrowed at the institute's library. A catalogue of all films can be seen in the secretariat of the institute. Please have a look at our online collection.