RMeS RMa Tutorials 2016-17: 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, 2017. 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.


Non-theatrical Film

Dr Eef Masson (e.l.masson@uva.nl) | 6 or 12 EC | University of Amsterdam

Historical film audiences, much like contemporary ones, were exposed to a range of materials – not just the fiction features they could watch in entertainment theatres, and that classical film history and theory have tended to focus on. Film spectatorship also took shape in homes, classrooms, museums or town halls, where family films, educational films and information or propaganda films were shown to a variety of publics. While such films have been used as sources by scholars in other fields for quite a while – for instance, in social history – profound interest among media historians is relatively recent. Moreover, information on the purposes which these films served, the circumstances in which they were presented or the practices they were part of is often hard to come by. In spite of this, practitioners agree that such data are crucial to their interpretation, especially from a retrospective point of view.

The tutorial will offer students the opportunity to research a historical corpus of non- theatricals of their own choosing. Projects can take different shapes, but will require in any case a combination of archival research (film viewing; locating and interpreting primary sources) and methodological reflection (how to best make sense of these films retrospectively?). More hands-on projects (e.g. those involving the identification or presentation of a particular corpus, likely part of a 12 EC module) will always also have an academic component (report or research paper). Decisions on reading materials will be made early on, but will depend on the participating students’ choice of corpus.


The University as Media Assemblage

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

Our daily lives at the university are shaped by a complex set of media: In different situation an each specific interplay between presentation software (e.g. powerpoint), digital learning environments (e.g. blackboard), library databases, university architecture with access codes, public relation media, and many more media technologies shapes the access to knowledge, the social organization and the power relations. The university, thus, can be taken as a key example for the ubiquity and heterogeneity of media, which all receive their function from the complex assemblage of technologies and practices, human and non-human actors, materiality and form.

We will start by mapping the media that have become entangled in university practices, tracking the stories and the implicit or explicit rationales of their implementation. This allows us to discuss basic methodological questions: Which insights do we gain from analyzing the interfaces or the political economy of tools? When is it relevant to talk to people who develop, adapt or apply a specific tool? In this process, we will use the example of the university to discuss key concerns of contemporary media studies. The theoretical references will surely include actor-network theory, assemblage theory, didactics, sociology of organizations, or workplace studies; yet, the selection of concepts will also depend on the questions provoked by the case studies we will focus on.


Watching it Play (Out)

Alex Gekker (A.Gekker@uva.nl) | 6 EC | University of Amsterdam

People, in particularly younger people, increasingly watch others play video-games online. This phenomenon is part of the appearance of new persona-driven video-blogging (vlogging) entertainment provided by various ‘YouTubers’. Often young and relate-able, they manifest a novel kind of para-textual relationships with their audiences. Moreover, these types of content are becoming begrudgingly accepted by more traditional media forms, exemplified by guest appearances of YouTube star PewDiePie on various television shows (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4fxG17hk8Q, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pM21uQR6G_Q, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_cO-k2DAFw) or the recent opening of a Dutch YouTubers -theme exhibition at the Netherlands Sound and Vision Institure (http://nos.nl/op3/artikel/2136378-eerste-youtube-tentoonstelling-ter-wereld-geopend-in-beeld-en-geluid.html).

Yet despite the popularity of such topics like lifestyle, humour and make-up tutorial videos, games-related content consistently remains at the forefront of this emerging genre. This type of content now constitutes the most viewed and most profitable video material on YouTube and other platforms. Yet, game-play videos are somewhat paradoxical as they incorporate a passive consumption of interactive media. In this tutorial we will examine various ways to understand the game-watching phenomenon, meet game-makers and game-streamers as well as attempt to create and record our own Let’s Play series.