RMeS RMa Tutorials 2013-14: Media Anthropology & Cross Media Trajectories

RMeS RMa Tutorials 2013-14 (6 ECTS)

Dates:  2nd semester 2014
Venue: University of Amsterdam
Open to: First and second year research master students in Media Studies and related fields, registered with RMeS
Offered by: the Research School for Media Studies (RMeS), as part of the RMa curriculum
Credits: 6 ECTS
Registration: register before: 1 February, 2014. Amount of participants is limited. Register here: Media Anthropology or Cross Media.

Media Anthropology: Ethnographic Approaches to Cross-Media Cultures (6 EC)

dr. Anne Kustritz (A.M.Kustritz@uva.nland dr. Niels van Doorn (N.A.J.M.vanDoorn@uva.nl)

Media anthropology is an emerging field which employs the tools of ethnographic analysis to understand cultures of production, distribution and consumption/reception, as well as how the circulation of media objects and technologies are inseparable from the cultural contexts they produce.  As a form of industry studies, researchers like Hortense Powdermaker analyze the way in which norms and shared beliefs shape every aspect of the production process.  Conversely, audiences from romance novel readers to users of on-line dating sites can also be studied using participant-observation and interviews.  In addition, authors like Peter Manuel, Don Slater, and Daniel Miller question how existing cultural contexts transform the meaning and use of media technologies across the globe, and the impact digital technologies can have in fighting humanitarian battles against poverty and disease. Meanwhile, some scholars like Charles Soukup argue that the layered, post-modern experience of living within many different forms of media simultaneously calls for experimentation in constructing new types of participant-observation and authoring new mediated genres of ethnographic writing. Overall, this course provides a detailed account of the history and contemporary practice of media anthropologists, while also assembling a collection of methodological approaches for the study of digital cross-media cultures.

Cross-Media Seminar: Cross Media Trajectories – 2: Circulating Entities: Figures, Symbols, Memes

Dr. Sudeep Dasgupta and dr. Markus Stauff. Contact: M.Stauff@uva.nl

The term ‘cross media trajectories’ is supposed to suggest that current culture is neither defined by a seamless convergence of different media nor by chaos and fragmentation. Rather, it is a multiplicity of dynamics, which connect (and distinguish) media in quite heterogeneous manner. For the coming two semesters, the ASCA Cross-Media seminar will focus on the entities that connect and traverse different media. These include the subjects, cultural forms, styles and practices which travel across different platforms.

The main questions will be: What kind of entities are able to circulate across genres, media, and economic strategies? In what ways do aesthetic and narrative strategies construct such travelling entities? How are these entities transformed (or ‘augmented’) by their cross-media trajectories? What are the different dynamics, these entities bring to cross media culture and how do they blur or highlight the specificities of different media?

Circulating Entities: Figures, Symbols, Memes

Feb 21 / April  18 / May 16

Cross-media trajectories are very often shaped by cultural building blocks which appear in many different genres and narratives and can – in a process of de- and recontextualization –  be adapted to different historical conjunctures: mythical characters, metaphors, stereotypes – or what in online culture is called an internet-meme. By crossing different media and cultural forms, these circulating entities  at the same time cross the compartmentalization of society resulting from the division of labor, specialist knowledge, and subcultural differentiation. Questions to be taken up: How do these cross-media trajectories contribute to a common culture or a public sphere? How do they structure political struggle? How are they molded by the ruptures between media and the economic strategies which aim to bridge these ruptures?

Programme and assignments

The tutorials consist of two parts: several group-meetings with the teacher, in which the assigned readings will be discussed, and subsequently intensive individual supervision in writing a paper on a subject related to the theme of the tutorial, over email and/or in person. Readings and assignments will be announced in due time.

Credits & certificate

Certificates of participation and credits are available upon request after the event. Event coordinators/teachers will decide whether the participant has fulfilled all requirements for the ECTS. Please direct your request to RMeS-fgw@uav.nl and include the postal address you want the certificate send to. Note: the certificate itself is not valid as ECTS, you  need to validate it yourself at your local Graduate School.


These tutorials are part of the RMeS curriculum for RMa students.