Graduate Program in Visual Anthropology

Jay Ruby, Temple U (V5293E@TEMPLEVM.BITNET)
Tue, 7 Dec 1993 06:18:59 EST

Announcement of Graduate Studies in
The Anthropology of Visual Communication.
Department of Anthropology, Temple University

The Department of Anthropology at Temple University offers graduate studies
programs in the anthropology of visual communication leading to a Ph.D and M.A..
The program is designed to train students of anthropology who wish to study
various modes of visual and pictorial communication and/or to communicate
anthropological knowledge in some form of pictorial media. The emphasis of the
program is on understanding the cultural dimensions of the pictorial and visual
world including: 1. The study, use and production of films, photography,
television/video, and other pictorial representations for research and public
enlightenment; 2.The analysis of pictorial symbolic forms from a cultural and
historical framework; 3. Theories of visual/pictorial communication as they
relate to technologies and methods for recording and analyzing human behavior;
4. The analysis of how people structure reality as evidenced by pictorial
productions and artifacts; 5. The relationship of culture, communication, and
visual/pictorial perception; and 6. The study of the forms of social, political,
and economic organization surrounding the planning, production, and use of
pictorial forms in communications contexts. Typically students concentrate their
work in one of three tracks film/video production, photographic ethnography,
or media studies. Students interested in producing films, videotapes, and
photographs will be trained as anthropologists of visual communication not as
professional imagemakers.

Three members of the anthropology faculty are directly involved in this program:

Richard Chalfen [indigenous image communication, the home mode of pictorial
communication, American cultures, anthropology in feature films]

Jayasinhji Jhala [ethnographic film production, cross cultural aesthetics,
indigenous media, Indian cultures]

Jay Ruby [the application of anthropological insights to the production and
comprehension of photographs, film, and television, American cultures,
photohistory, indigenous productions]

Students will also find that other members of the Anthropology Faculty are
enthusiastic about contributing to the program and serving in various advisory
capacities including being on student M.A. and Ph.D. committees. In addition,
faculty in the departments of Rhetoric and Communication English, History,
American Studies, Art History as well as RadioTelevisionFilm are professionally
concerned with questions of media, culture, and representation. They offer
courses relevant to this program and are willing to serve on studentUs studies
and dissertation committees.

Admissions The DepartmentUs admissions committee considers the following
information when deciding whether a student should be admitted to graduate
school: grade point average, letters of recommendation and support, statement of
purpose, and the results of the graduate record exam (GRE) Q a combined score of
1000 is required and a score of over 1300 will place you in a competition for
university fellowships. Foreign students may be exempt from the GRE but are
required to submit TOEFL scores. Neither an undergraduate major in Anthropology
nor previous media experience is required for admission.

Students applying to the anthropology of visual communication program should pay
particular attention to the following:
1. A written statement of purpose must include a projection of your long term
professional goals, a description of your educational background and experience
that indicates the ways in which you feel you have prepared for this course of
study, and a statement about why you have selected Temple and how our program
will enhance your goals.
2. Whenever possible prospective students should visit Temple to discuss
their plans with faculty members in the program. If a visit is unfeasible, a
telephone interview is recommended. Our process of selection is greatly
enhanced if we know an applicant as a person and not simply as an application
3. Students must include some example of their work a film, videotape,
photographs, published writings or an essay written for a course. The work need
not be anthropological. It should be the best example you have of your ability
to communicate an idea.

Financial Aid The Department makes financial awards in three categories:
graduate assistantships, tuition scholarships, and fellowship funds.
Approximately onethird of the awards are reserved for incoming first year
students. The University Graduate School awards fellowships on a university
wide competition. Students with outstanding records are nominated by the

Student Workload The normal workload for a full time student is nine (9) hours
per semester. Graduate seminars in Anthropology are three (3) credit hours; RTF
production courses are usually four (4) credit hours. Thus while a three course
per semester load is normal, some students may be enrolled for ten (1) or even
eleven (11) credits in any one semester.

Course offerings A total of sixteen courses are required for a Ph.D. or eight
anthropology courses plus two production workshops for an MA. Six are required
of all students in the visual communication program:
1. Four Approaches Seminars. These seminars review the history and theories of
the four fields of anthropology cultural, linguistic, archaeology, and
2. Approaches to the Anthropology of Visual Communication is a two semester
review of the history, theory, and practice of an anthropological approach to
visual and pictorial communication.

In addition to these required courses, the following seminars are offered on a
regular basis:

Anthro. 531 The Anthropology of Mass Media
Anthro. 532 Anthropological Photography
Anthro. 533 Anthropological Film
Anthro. 534 Anthropological Problems in Visual Production
Anthro. 536 The Anthropology of Feature Films
Anthro. 537 Pictorial Lives
Anthro. 729 Problems in the Anthropology of Visual

Production Training and Facilities. The Anthropology department maintains a
limited amount of production and editing equipment for thesis and dissertation
projects. Training in film and video production is offered through the
department of RadioTVFilm. Training in photography is offered at Tyler School
of Art at Temple.

General information concerning the Department of Anthropology, Temple
University, including admission requirements, financial aid, and other general
information, is found in the Temple Graduate Studies Catalog. Persons
interested in receiving these materials should write to Jay Ruby, Admissions
Chair, Anthropology, Temple University, Phila, Pa. 19122 or