Anthropology through Film

What can we learn about anthropology from how it's represented in the movies?

3 credits

You’ll have to join the class to find out!

Spoiler alert: It’s not Indiana Jones (although we will watch some of those films).

This course explores and challenges how anthropology and people around the world are represented in films, while teaching the fundamental concepts in anthropology.

At each class meeting we will view award-winning films made for theaters, television and documentaries to critique, analyze and understand the role of media in the production of knowledge and representation.

As we read about and work through the different topics, two kinds of questions will guide our understanding:  the first examines the external and internal forces that shape cultures and individuals; the second examines the processes by which anthropologists understand the cultures in which they work. We will also engage with some of the fundamental tools of anthropologists use and do some group activities to further enhance our learning.

Course goals include:

  1. a foundational understanding of anthropology
  2. the development of critical and analytical skills when reading and watching films to understand how these genres approach culture, cultural representations and viewpoints.

Anthropology through Film is taught by Dr. Sue-Je Gage, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology. Her research has concentrated in East Asia and the United States focusing on identity and race, more specifically on belonging and citizenship and the dimensions of state power in defining its citizenry. Other research interests include media representation, mental health and medical anthropology, shamanism, gender, globalization, and the notions of "empire" of the US military.