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Basic Module 2: Media Anthropology (15 credits)


Students are introduced to the basic working methods and theories of Media Anthropology. They are familiarized with prevalent approaches and theories and their application Media Anthropology consists of two modules. 2a and 2c are in-house courses in Berlin. 2b is an Online-course.

2A) Introduction to Media Anthropology (Dr. Tilo Grätz)  

In-house class

This course aims at outlining the major perspectives, concepts and debates prevalent in contemporary media anthropology, and includes an introduction into current debates, important works and authors in this field. The central focus is on "classical" mass media such as radio, TV, journals and newspapers, but also ICT, video and (to a lesser extent) film and small alternative media.
What is the perspective of media anthropology? We are starting from the assumption that today, media shapes the social and cultural construction of (almost) all societies worldwide.  This process is, however, related to the creation of distinctive modes and experiences of media appropriation, production & reception, that are framed by local social and cultural forms, systems of knowledge and power relations. Media is both shaped by global flows of information, images and technologies, as well as local modes of communication, representation, remediation and symbolic expression. We will discuss the issues on the basis of selected case studies, research data presented by the lecturer as well as contributions by the participants. 

2B) Digital Anthropology (Prof. Dr. Undine Frömming, Mike Terry)

Online-course

Technology infiltrates nearly every aspect of our lives. You are likely reading this on your computer or smartphone, from a digital file that you downloaded. This course will push you to critically consider technologies that are ubiquitous—and often invisible—and how they affect both individual identity and social life. We will begin this course with an examine what we mean when we talk about digital anthropology, and how scholars throughout the twentieth century have addressed disruptive technologies. We will then study case studies that examine various aspects of the intersection between culture and technology. The goal of this course is for students to conduct an (audio-)visual fieldwork in an online community of their choice. In doing so, they will be able to practice ethnographic fieldwork methods, such as participant observation and various interview techniques, in digital environments. Through the use of visual anthropological and ethnographic methods, students will produce short virtual in-world-films (machinimas) or visually based research papers on topics such as the representation of indigenous media in digital environments, political activism online, post-internet art, (de-)construction of gender and sexuality, and the analysis of digital space and place. The course will take place as an Adobe Connect webinar. All recommended and mandatory readings can be found on the Blackboard for the course Digital Anthropology. Each week, students will present the mandatory readings in small groups via voice chat with webcams.

Technical Requirements:

You can access the Adobe Connect webinar with a smartphone or computer. It is recommended that you use a headset for optimal audio quality.

*** Some of the best final projects of this course are published here:

http://www.visual-anthropology.fu-berlin.de/journal/Vol_1_1_2015/index.html


2C) Multivocality/Montage and the Reflexive Application of Images (Dr. Mark Curran)

In-house course

Late modern critique regarding visual representation and media in general has created an environment where photographers and artists have revised and transformed photographic research practices into more complex forms. This seminar introduces such forms and locates this work within the context of the indexical association, historically, of photography’s relationship to reality. Engaging with both theoretical and visual discourse, this seminar will examine how responses to this core tenet have impacted upon and informed contemporary research practice and how such practice has sought to represent reality and the everyday. Drawing on research, informed by visual ethnography, and multi-sited fieldwork addressing labour, global labour practices and the predatory impact of migrations of global capital, the seminar will foreground a methodological framework which affords the application of the photograph as a core method in the context of a critically reflexive research practice. Simultaneously, such an approach highlights performative and disseminative interventions regarding the re-narration of research extending to installation, web-based and bound publication.