Professor Marcus Banks

Marcus Banks

Professor of Visual Anthropology

Fellow of Wolfson College

Director of Graduate Studies

Visual anthropology and ethnographic film, Indian urban society and Jainism; ethnicity, nationalism, and neo-nationalism; visual research methods and visual methodologies.

Following earlier research in India and the UK on the social organization of the Jain community, and later on anthropological theories of ethnicity and nationalism, Marcus Banks has spent the last few years conducting research in the area of visual anthropology. His recent research has included studies of cinematographic practice in Colonial India, the history of ethnographic film, and the development of robust visual research methodologies. His current research, earlier funded by the University’s John Fell Fund, is on the practice of forensic science, with a particular focus on the production and consumption of images in forensic contexts.


Telephone: +44 (0)1865 274675

Current and selected past DPhil students

Marcus Banks is interested in supervising doctoral research projects on visual media, particularly ethnographies of media production and / or consumption, as well as projects relating to the ethnography of forensic science practice and representation. He is primarily interested in projects based in India, or South Asia more generally, but will also consider supervising dissertations based on ethnography in other areas



2015, with David Zeitlyn, Visual methods in social research (Second Edition), 2015, Sage: London.

2007, Using visual data in qualitative research, 2007, Sage: London.

2001, Visual methods in social research, 2001, Sage: London.

1996, Ethnicity: anthropological constructions, 1996, Routledge: London.

1992, Organizing Jainism in India and England, 1992, Clarendon Press: Oxford.

Edited books

2018, with Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes (eds), Visual histories of South Asia, Delhi: Primus Books

2011, with Jay Ruby (eds), Made to be Seen: Perspectives on the History of Visual Anthropology, 2011, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2006, with Andre Gingrich (eds), Neo-nationalism in Europe and beyond, 2006, Berghahn: Oxford.

1997, with Howard Morphy (eds), Rethinking visual anthropology, 1997, Yale University Press: London and New Haven.

Contributions to books

2019 (in press), 'Photography, memory and affect : two fragments from the history of an Indian city’, In Peter Aronsson, Birgitta Svensson & Andrej Slávik (eds), Images in history / History in images: towards an (audio)visual historiography (Stockholm: Royal Swedish Academy of Letters.

2018 Banks, Marcus: Photography in an Indian city: reflections on photo-elicitation. In Spannraft, Marcellina and Tari, János (eds.) A kultúraátörökítés médiumai. Budapest: KRE / L'Harmattan, 2018. pp. 111-115. ISBN 978-963-414-447-2

2016, ‘Preface’, In Desmond Bell (ed.) Mind the Gap! Working papers on practice based doctoral research in the creative arts and media, Dublin: Distillers Press in association with the National College of Art and Design, 2016, pp. 11-13.

2015, ‘De si beaux morts’, In Emmanuel Grimaud, Anne-Christine Taylor, Denis Vidal and Thierry Dufrene (eds) Persona. Étrangement humain, Paris: musée du quai Branley-Actes Sud, 2015, pp. 181-185.

2014, ‘Analysing images’, In Uwe Flick (ed.) The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis, London: SAGE, 2014.

2013, ‘True to life: authenticity and the photographic image’, In Thomas Fillitz and A. Jamie Saris (eds) Debating authenticity: concepts of modernity in anthropological perspective, New York, Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2013.

2012, ‘An Anthropologist in the Film Archives: Interdisciplinary Approaches’, In Sarah Pink (ed.) Advances in Visual Methodology, London: SAGE, 2012, pp. 213-229.

2008, ‘The burden of symbols: film and representation in India’, In Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Taylor The cinema of Robert Gardner, Berg: Oxford, 2008.

2006, ‘Performing Britishness: some methodological considerations’, In M. Banks and A. Gingrich Neo-nationalism in Europe, 2006.

2003, ‘Visual research methods’, In R. Miller and J. Brewer The A-Z of social research, Sage: London, 2003.

2003, ‘Indian Jainism as social practice at the end of the twentieth century’, In O. Qvarnström Jainism and early Buddhism: essays in honour of Professor P.S. Jaini, Asian Humanities Press: Freemont, Ca., 2003.

2000, ‘Views of Jain history’, In P. Dresch, W. James, and D. Parkin Anthropologists in a Wider World: Essays on Field Research, Berghahn Books: Oxford, 2000, pp. 187-204.

1999, ‘The body in Jain art’, In N. K. Wagle and O. Qvarnström Approaches to Jaina studies: philosophy, logic, rituals and symbols, Centre for South Asian Studies: Toronto, 1999, pp. 311-23.

1999, with Monica Wolfe Murray, ‘Ethnicity and reports of the 1992-95 Bosnian conflict’, In T. Allen, and J. Seaton The media of conflict: war reporting and representations of ethnic violence, Zed Books: London, 1999.

1998, ‘Visual anthropology: image, object and interpretation’’, In J. Prosser Image based research: a sourcebook for qualitative researchers, Falmer Press: London, 1998, pp. 9–23.

1997, ‘Representing the bodies of the Jains’, In M. Banks, and H. Morphy Rethinking visual anthropology, Yale University Press: London and New Haven, 1997, pp. 216-39.

1996, ‘Constructing the audience through ethnography’, In P. I. Crawford, and S. B. HafsteinssonThe construction of the viewer: media ethnography and the anthropology of audiences, Intervention Press: Højbjerg, Denmark, 1996, pp. 118-34.

1995, ‘Jain ways of being’, In R. Ballard Desh pardesh: the South Asian presence in Britain, C. Hurst and Co.: London, 1995, pp. 231-50.

1994, ‘Why move? Regional and long distance migrations of Gujarati Jains’, In J. Brown, and R. Foot Migration: the Asian experience, Macmillan in association with St Antony's College, Oxford: London, 1994, pp. 131-48.

1992, ‘Which films are the ethnographic films?’, In P. Crawford, and D. Turton Film as ethnography, Manchester University Press in association with the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology: Manchester, 1992, pp. 116-29.

1991, ‘competing to give, competing to get: Gujarati Jains in Britain’, In P. Werbner, and M. Anwar Black and ethnic leaderships: the cultural dimensions of political action, Routledge: London, 1991, pp. 226-52.

1991, ‘Orthodoxy and dissent: varieties of religious belief among immigrant Gujarati Jains in Britain’, In M. Carrithers, and C. Humphrey The assembly of listeners: Jains in society, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1991, pp. 241-260.

1990, ‘Visual ideology: problems of subjectivity (Review article)’, In R. B. Flaes Eyes across the water, Het Spinhuis: Amsterdam, 1990, pp. 127-40.

1987, ‘Caste, sect and property: relations in the Jain community of Jamnagar, Gujarat’, In N. K. Singhi Ideal, ideology and practice: studies in Jainism, Printwell Publishers: Jaipur, 1987, pp. 180-96.


2018, with Shailen Bhandare ‘Queering currency: financial “self-identification” and the LGBTQ+ movement. Ashmolean Magazine issue 76, pp: 29-30

2014, ‘Revisiting Raju’FocaalBlog 18 December (2014), 2014.

2014, ‘Slow research: exploring one's own visual archive’Cadernos de Arte e Antropologia 3 (2), 2014, pp. 57-67.

2013, ‘Post-Authenticity: Dilemmas of Identity in the 20th and 21st Centuries’, Anthropological Quarterly 88 (2), 2013, pp. 481-500.

2013, ‘Unstable Bodies: Science, Society, and Visual Work’Reviews in Anthropology 42(1), 2013, pp. 15-37.

2010, with Richard Vokes (Guest Editors), ‘Routes and Traces; Anthropology, Photography and the Archive’History and Anthropology (Special Issue) 21 (4), 2010.

1994, ‘Television and anthropology: an unhappy marriage?’, Visual Anthropology (7.1:), 1994, pp. 21-45.

1994, ‘Interactive multimedia and anthropology - a skeptical view’ , 1994.

1992, ‘La vie existait-elle avant la télévision?’, Journal des Anthropologues Special issue on Visual Anthropology (47-48), 1992, pp. 39-47.

1990, ‘Experience and reality in ethnographic film’, Visual Sociology Review (5.2:), 1990, pp. 30-33.

1990, ‘Reading Raju: a study guide to the film ‘Raju and His Friends’’ , 1990.

1990, ‘The seductive veracity of ethnographic film’’, SVA Review (6.1:), 1990, pp. 16-21.

1990, ‘Talking heads and moving pictures: David Byrne’s “True Stories” and the anthropology of film’, Visual Anthropology (03.01:), 1990, pp. 1–9.

1989, ‘The narrative of lived experience: some Jains of India and England (Photographic essay)’, Critique of Anthropology (9.2:), 1989, pp. 65-76.

1989, ‘Seeing yourself as others see you’, CVA Review (Fall), 1989, pp. 33-38.

1988, ‘Forty-minute fieldwork’ (19), 1988, pp. 251-63.

1986, ‘Defining division: an historical overview of Jain social organisation’, Modern Asian Studies (20), 1986, pp. 447-60.