ANTH2401 Constructing Cultures Through Media

6 points
Not available in 2020UWA (Perth)Multi-mode
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the Anthropology and Sociology major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 2 elective
Cultures have not only been represented, but also produced and reproduced through the use of film and other mass media. This unit critically examines such issues as the anthropological construction of myths about other cultures, the textual nature of media, the histories of various media and their implications for contemporary representations, relationships between the representers and the represented, and the modes of ethnographically investigating media. It focuses on issues of the roles of subjectivity and power in the process of representing, seeking to sensitise students to the ways in which media construe and construct cultures, both constraining and liberating our understandings, especially in cross-cultural contexts of learning and dialogue. Students who take the unit are particularly well prepared to enter the field of media production and those organisations involved in the promulgation and analysis of media productions.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of key concepts in anthropological and sociological studies of media including cultural diversity, social inequality, the nature of social relationships and institutions, systems of symbolic meaning, and processes that underpin social and cultural change; (2) demonstrate knowledge of anthropological and sociological approaches to media, debates surrounding the history and deployment of media, and the complexities of media depictions of cultural issues (as in, e.g., ethnographic film); (3) demonstrate an ability to critically review, analyse, sumarise and synthesise anthropological and sociological research and theory focused on media; (4) demonstrate an ability to formulate, investigate and discuss anthropologically and sociologically informed research questions and develop arguments based on a critical evaluation of evidence, and respond insighfully to media production with due attention to rhetorical strategies; and (5) demonstrate an ability to communicate anthropological and sociological ideas, principles and knowledge to specialist and non-specialist audiences using a range of formats (written, oral, visual etc.) with particular attention to interactive and social media.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial/workshop participation; (2) written work; and (3) in-class exercise. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Sam Han
Unit rules
any Level 1 ANTH unit
ANTH2204 Visual Representations of Cultures, ANTH2239 Anthropology of Media
Contact hours
up to 3 hours per teaching week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.