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Basic Module 2: Media Anthropology

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) Qualitative Methods: Introduction to Theory and Method of Ethnography (Prof. Dr. Yari Or)

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.

2B) Digital Anthropology (Anna Lisa Ramella, Blake Kendall)


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 will be considered for publication in our online journal found here: http://www.visual-anthropology.fu-berlin.de/journal/index.html

2C) Introduction to the Theory and History of Social and Cultural Anthropology (Nasima Selim)


“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.