Anthropology of Media: Materiality, Meaning, and Mediatization

Course Number: 
250X
Semester: 
Fall
Year: 
2017
Location: 
Kroeber 219
Instructor: 
Daniel Fisher
Units: 
4
Time: 
We 10:00AM - 11:59AM
CCN: 
12651
The Anthropology of Media: Materiality, Meaning, and Mediatization

     This seminar explores anthropology's ongoing engagement with formal and material aspects of media artifacts. Our discussions will move between anthropological and ethnographic projects to which audiovisual, telephonic, iconographic and other media are central, and historical, theoretical, and philosophical works that explore media and mediation more broadly. While the focus of the course is on developing approaches to media technologies, including cinema, digital video, telephony, and musical media, we will also include a wide array of other objects and forms, including automobiles, rocks, clouds, and fire. Our aim is to bring philosophical and historical scholarship into conversation with anthropology and ethnography in order to develop conceptual language for thinking media and mediatization in their broadest terms. In this endeavor we will consider films and other audio visual work, the broader material apparatus and infrastructural forms of such media, and the modes of thinking, seeing, hearing, and knowing (and storing, creating, governing, etc.) that audiovisual and telephonic media afford. Our discussions and readings will give shape to this enormous field across two broad axes of interest; One, the shifting valence of 'materiality' in media studies and anthropology more generally, and two, the continued salience of circulation, interpellation, and infrastructure as key terms for analysing the world-shaping characteristics of media and mediatization.