Profile Module B: Communication/Mediascapes (15 credits)

Students will receive an understanding of the symbolic forms of presentation and communication of ideas, values and norms in a trans-cultural and historical media context. Students will learn the user opportunities for social anthropological and audiovisual research methods in media, and will also become acquainted with virtual networks and use them for social anthropological empirical research.

B1) Indigenous Media (Philipp Budka)


In this course students get an introduction to indigenous media technologies. In ten seminar units selected questions, issues and problems are discussed: How do indigenous people produce, distribute and utilize audiovisual media? How has ethnographic and anthropological film making changed? What role do politics, power, globalization and (post-)colonialism play in the production and use of indigenous media? How do indigenous people utilize media to construct and negotiate their individual and collective identities? How are indigenous cultures and languages represented through media? And how do indigenous people appropriate and (co-)develop digital technologies in times of increasing globalization?

We start with the contextualization of indigenous media within the framework of an anthropology of media. In the second unit students are introduced to selected debates about the meaning and relevance of (mass) media for indigenous people and their culture. We then discuss ethnographic film making and visual anthropology in the context of indigenous people's changing role from “objects” for ethnographic films to partners in media projects. The fourth unit deals with the phenomenon of (post-)colonialism and its political implications for indigenous media. This discussion leads us to the self-controlled production of indigenous media and its relevance for issues such as (self-)representation, appropriation, control and empowerment. Globalization, modernity and related questions of collective indigenous identity construction – “indigeneity” – are the topics of the next unit. The following three sessions are closely connected and discuss aspects of identity, community, networking, ownership, activism, empowerment, aesthetics, poetics and popular culture in relation to indigenous media. In the final unit students learn about the importance of digital technologies and infrastructures for indigenous people, their activist projects and networking initiatives.

Through several case studies students are introduced to the similarities and differences of indigenous media projects throughout the world. These case studies take us to different regions, countries and continents: from Nunavut, Canada and the US to the Caribbean to Guatemala, Mexico and Brazil to Nigeria to Myanmar to Australia and back to Finland. The seminar's assignments include the reading of selected articles, the watching of films and videos and the discussion of these in essays. The online conference tool Adobe Connect is used to present and discuss aspects of texts, films and essays.

© Thomas John 2012, Mexico


B2) Qualitative Methods II: Introduction to Theory and Method of Ethnography (Prof. Dr. Julia Eksner)

In-house class + online, NON-GRADED

This workshop is an introduction to the epistemology and methodology of qualitative data collection and exposition. The course will address the dominant theoretical approaches to qualitative research (analytic, grounded theory, interpretive, narrative, phenomenological). The class is designed for graduate students who are planning their research and data collection. Special attention will be paid to epistemological and methodological considerations as they pertain to the practice of visual anthropology.

Please note: This class requires advance preparation in order to make the most of the short time we have together. You will need to dedicate considerable amounts of time in preparing adequately for the four meetings during the two in-house classes (readings and working with data), and you should plan your time accordingly. All readings and assignments need to be completed as in-house class activities are based on these. Experience shows that you will be able to use most of your written assignments in your MA thesis. This is good news. The bad news is that students who cannot prepare the readings or who cannot complete the assignments will not be able to participate.

B3) Introduction to the Theory and History of Social and Cultural Anthropology (Nasima Selim)

online, NON-GRADED

“In what mood do we, students and teachers of anthropology, face our disciplinary past?” (Singh and Guyer 2016). In the “post-truth” times, it is incumbent upon us to re-assemble the past of a discipline and make it alive in the present. With the aim of drawing insights from the re-assembled past of the discipline of social and cultural anthropology, this seminar will introduce the students to the rich repertoire of its theory and history between the 1850s and the 1980s. Each session is focused on discussing a set of concepts, the anthropologist (s) in focus, and excerpts of original ethnographies from which the concepts have been derived. The seminar is designed with the genealogical principle of theory/history: to assist the students in understanding how each time-period and the available epistemes provided the conditions of possibilities for the respective anthropological theories, i.e., situating theories with the histories of practices and people involved in the anthropological enterprise of that particular epoch. Students are expected to attend the digital classroom having read the mandatory literature assigned for each session. Films and additional texts are recommended to enhance the learning experience. The lecturer will facilitate a student-led learning environment.


Singh, Bhrigupati, and Jane I. Guyer. "Introduction: A joyful history of anthropology." HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 6, no. 2 (2016): 197-211.