RMeS RMa Tutorials 2015-16: University of Amsterdam

Dates: see below
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, 2016. Amount of participants is limited.
Register here
When registering for a tutorial, please fill in at remarks which tutorial. Note: you can only attend ONE tutorial.

Social media and the Transformation of Public Space

Dr Thomas Poell, t.poell@uva.nl | 6 or 12 EC | University of Amsterdam

The quick rise of social platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, is fundamentally affecting the balance between personal (private) space, community (public) space, and corporate (commercial) space. These platforms allow, on the one hand, for mass participation in public discourse, providing users with new means of expressions and connection. On the other hand, social media, through their technological architectures, steer how users interact with each other. This tutorial explores these potentially contradictory cultural and techno-commercial mechanisms. First, we interrogate how both formal institutions (news, public broadcasting, law and order, etc) and informal organizations (activists, communities) adopt and adjust to social media. What new cultural and political practices are articulated in these processes? Second, the tutorial examines which mechanisms of selection and which logics of knowledge production are embedded in the platforms’ technologies. Third, it discusses the political economy of social media. How do social media affect the operations and economies of media production? And how do these technologies affect power relations between different social actors?


Media and Governmentality

Dr Markus Stauff, m.stauff@uva.nl | 6 or 12 EC | University of Amsterdam

Governmentality is an approach that analyzes politics – and more generally issues of power and agency – through an analysis of environments that are created to order and to steer the behavior of things and people. In recent year this approach has fruitfully been appropriated for media studies where it contributes to at least three ongoing discussions: How to analyze power and agency in an age of continuously changing and ever more diversified media gadgets and applications? How to conceive of the relationship between media and political institutions (esp. the state)? What is the role of the ongoing phantasies (promises and warnings) of the future development of media?

This tutorial will start with discussing key texts of the governmentality approach (esp. Michel Foucault) and aims to gain an overview on the different media studies approaches working with the concept (e.g. Laurie Ouellette, Wendy Chun, Tony Bennett). Additionally, the tutorial will offer a space for all participants to experiment with applying the approach for analyzing recent developments.


Media Audiences: publics, consumers, labourers, producers?

Dr. Sudha Rajagopalan, s.rajagopalan@uva.nl | 6 EC | University of Amsterdam

This tutorial looks closely at the viewing strategies and other practices of media audiences , with a view to understanding how media texts are given further meaning and form by these audiences, and in order to assess how audiences use media to reflect upon and articulate their social, civic and political identities. As such, a tutorial on audiences must engage critically with concepts that directly touch upon our understanding of audiences – are audiences ‘publics’, and is their sphere of practice a public sphere? Do media audiences act as citizens and is their engagement with television a form of civic activism? Are audiences that qualify as fans enabled by the democratising potential of new media technologies to become authors and producers in an unproblematic way? Do audiences that use digital tools to engage with television become unwitting unpaid labourers in the media economy? In what ways are spaces of audience practices vital spaces of identity formation and articulation? Or are we in danger of treating all audience activity as critical and political, overlooking the banal and the mundane in the process? In order to unpack these various ways of looking at the audience, students will have to consider various methodological approaches from the ethnographic approach to content and narrative analysis.


Surveillance and Control: Visible and Invisible Dimensions of Global Media Culture

PhD Seminar Film and Philosophy 2015-2016 | organized by Patricia Pisters and Josef Früchtl | coordinated by Eva Sancho Rodriguez.

This year’s PhD seminar Film and Philosophy will focus on questions of surveillance, control, private/public, tracking and tracing in relation to the visible and invisible dimensions of global media culture. Webcams and surveillance camera’s keep a watchful eye on our every move, smart bots and algorithms track our behavior online, apps follow our heart beat, count our steps and feed it back to our social media networks, Big Data is booming. While much of our behavior is increasingly visible (Foucault’s panopticon in all its hyperbolic forms), and other dimensions become visualized (for instance in Google statistics or other data visualizations that show patterns of behavior), we wonder what remains (or should remain) invisible.  If control is successful through the ‘digital sphere’, do we have to revalue than the ‘analogue sphere’, for instance in terms of face-to-face communication and trust. How can we assess the mechanisms of control and surveillance, how can artists, filmmakers, theorists and philosophers intervene in critical and creative ways? Which models of reflection, intervention and behavior do they offer?

SEMESTER 2: 5 February 2016, 4 March 2016, 1 April 2016, 13 May 2016, 10 June 2016 | Time and Place:  Always Friday afternoons between 15.00 – 18.00; Location TBC

Transparency / Opacity – Cross Media Seminar 2015-2016

Dr Markus Stauff, m.stauff@uva.nl | University of Amsterdam

In this seminar we will trace the historical genealogy of ideas and practices of transparency and opacity – e.g. Rousseau’s dream of the transparent soul, the Avantgarde’s project of transparent architecture, the deliberately obfuscating techniques ranging from modernist art to film and television melodrama, the links between complexity in media texts and the obvious, often transparent showcasing of such opacities. In the course of the seminar, participants can suggest relevant readings and examples.

SEMESTER 2: 12 February / 18 March / 22 April / 3 June