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.
Online, GRADED COURSE
In this course, students are introduced to indigenous media technologies and social media activism by actively discussing in 10 units/sessions different questions, issues and problems:
How do indigenous people produce, distribute and utilize audiovisual media?
How has ethnographic and anthropological film making changed through indigenous media?
What role do politics, power, globalization and (post-)colonialism play in the production, distribution and consumption 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?
How do indigenous people appropriate and (co-)develop digital media technologies?
We start our seminar with the contextualization of indigenous media within 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 sociocultural lifeworlds. 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 (collaborative) media projects. The fourth unit deals with (post-)colonialism and decolonization and their 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 are the topics of the sixth unit. The following three sessions are closely connected, discussing 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 significance of digital technologies and infrastructures for indigenous people.
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 United States to the Caribbean, Guatemala, Mexico and Brazil, to Nigeria, Myanmar, Australia and Finland. The seminar's assignments include the preparation of an essay at the end of the seminar and short weekly literature and film reviews/critiques as well as an active contribution to discussions during the online sessions, which are organized with the online conference tool Adobe Connect.
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.
Online with avatars in 3D-environment, GRADED COURSE
The formation of virtual environments is a phenomenon that persists throughout the history of human populations. The dream to visually duplicate the world traces back to antiquity. More recently, Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Oculus predicted that smartphones might become obsolete within a decade and that ubiquity of virtual, augmented and mixed realities will fundamentally alter the way human societies interact.In this course, students and lecturer will meet online as avatars in different virtual environments predominantly accessed through head-mounted displays (HMDs) such as Oculus Go, Google Daydream or Samsung Gear VR. The class will analyze and discuss the current state of immersive technology from an anthropological perspective. Students will engage in small practice-based research projects about these technologies in several virtual communities. This approach will enrich, challenge and provoke students' understanding of various concepts covered over the semester.After this course, students will be well versed in the history of virtual realities and their meaning for cultures. Students will become adept at navigating an avatar in a virtual environment and learn how to conduct ethnographic research with immersive technology in virtual communities. Students will gain an extensive understanding of these technologies and deep insight into the values and needs of 3D communities. Students' acquired skills and knowledge can serve as a foundation for future scholarly research or in an applied-context enables collaboration with programmers and technology platforms to build inclusive futures that are beneficial for societies.