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Our Research


"The science of anthropology must be very grateful to the art of photography"
- Edward Burnett Tylor (1876). 

Most of current visual studies are done on video, for which the UvA gives access to the online archive Alexander street. (An English version of that site will be made at some point.) 

On how to interpret ethnographic documentaries (and other video material), this blog provides an introduction, at the end of which there is a link to this useful article.

Technical skills on documentary making are to be learned outside the UvA, e.g. at CREA.

Recommended textbooks

A very accessible and well-structured introduction to visual analysis: Rose, Gillian. 2007. Visual methodologies: An introduction to the interpretation of visual materials. London: Sage.

For students interested in the semiotics of oral, written, and visual communication, the following book argues in favor of the integral study of different modes and technologies of communication: Kress, Gunther. 2010. Multimodality: A social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. London: Routledge.

More emphasis on oral and written language but comparable in scope to Kress (2010), and discussing theoretical concepts, such as style, genre, rhythm, composition, is: Van Leeuwen, Theo. 2005. Introducing social semiotics. London: Routledge.

Indispensable reading for advanced students in visual analysis: Kress, Gunther, and Theo van Leeuwen. 2006. Reading images: The grammar of visual design (Second Edition). London: Routledge.

Recently, machine learning and other computational approaches started entering this field, loved by autocrats for face recognition, and potentially relevant for different, social science, applications in the near future. It is currently still very technical, see for example this paper.

Experts at the AISSR are Matthijs van de Port and Vincent de Rooij.