Workshop: Returning the gaze: consumption, reception and the ‘audience’ construct (November 12, 2013)

Workshop: Returning the gaze: consumption, reception and the ‘audience’ construct

Date: 12 November 2013
Time: 12:45 – 16:30 u
Venue: BG 5 2.12, Universiteit van Amsterdam
Lecturer: dr. Sudha Rajagopalan (UvA)
Open to: PhD researchers and Research Master students who are a member of RMeS or another National Graduate Research School
Fee (non-members): €50
Credits: 1 ECTS

Returning the gaze: consumption, reception and the ‘audience’ construct – dr. Sudha Rajagopalan (UvA)

This workshop will familiarise students with historical and contemporary approaches to the audience, ranging from anxiety about media effects in the previous century to conceptualisations of the ‘prosumer’ and ‘produser’ in today’s age of media convergence. The lecture will introduce students to past and recent landmark approaches in studying the audience since the ‘cultural turn’; approaches that consider questions of class, race and gender, the embrace of fandom as an important object of analysis, and the recent shift to audience practices premised on multimediality, interactivity and production. Questions of methodology will be intrinsic to this overview of theoretical approaches. This discussion of the audience will be positioned within the larger conceptual framework of cultural consumption, in order to offer a richer, multidisciplinary perspective on ‘the other side’ of production.

Sudha Rajagopalan is Assistant Professor in European Studies, at the University of Amsterdam. The focus areas of her research and publications are historical and contemporary cinema/ television audiences, and audiences in the age of digital media platforms. Her book on the deep interest in Indian popular cinema among Soviet moviegoers in a post-Stalin era is the first ethnohistorical study of Soviet and Russian audience reception, placing audience reception in a wider context of media production, dissemination and film audience discourses in the Soviet Union. She is also co-editor of the peer-reviewed, international journal Digital Icons: Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European New Media.


12:45     doors open
13:00     start: part I
14:30     BREAK
15:00     part II
16:30     end

Preparation and readings


Livingstone, S. ‘The challenge of changing audiences – Or, what is the audience researcher to do in the age of the Internet?’ European Journal of Communication 19(1): 75-86, 2004.

Hermes, Joke, Annika van den Berg, Marloes Mol. ‘Sleeping with the Enemy: Audience Studies and Critical Literacy,’ International Journal of Cultural Studies 2013, 16 (5).

Jason Mittell,  ‘Sites of participation: Wiki fandom and the case of Lostpedia’, Transformative Works and Cultures, volume 3 (2009).

Burwell, Catherine and Megan Boler. ‘Calling on the Colbert Nation: Fandom, Politics and Parody in an Age of Media Convergence’, The Electronic Journal of Communication, Volume 18, 2008.


In preparation for the class, please explore/study a fan site of your choice (either something from your research or a site you are personally a member of) and prepare a short research proposal (about a page/ or roughly 400-500 words) that you will present during the workshop.

This proposal will
a) acquaint the rest of the class with the subject of analysis (the nature of the fan site being studied),
b) will hold a research idea or question,
and c) suggest possible methodological and disciplinary approaches.

Each presentation must be no longer than 10 minutes. The goal is to generate an informal discussion on a variety of potential research sites and some productive ways of subjecting them to a closer analysis.

Credits & certificate

Certificates of participation and credits are available upon request after the event. Event coordinators will decide whether the participant has fulfilled all requirements for the ECTS. Please direct your request to 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.