Digital Anthropology

2018-2019

Course Objective

Knowledge and understanding - The student has acquired knowledge and
understanding of:
(1) how contemporary lives (including their own lives) are being shaped
and changed due to the advance of digital technologies.
(2) the rapidly growing body of anthropological research assembled under
the nomer 'digital anthropology', and learn what is specific to an
anthropological approach to digitalization (as compared to other
disciplines who address issues of digitalization).

Making judgements - The student is able to
(3) critically reflect on their own digital habits and environments, by
seeing these in a larger social and political context.

Communication - The student has acquired the skills to:
(4) experiment with digital modes of story-telling, by producing webblog
assignments and a multi-media hybrid report.

Course Content

The scope and depth of the digitalization of modern lives can hardly be
overestimated. From 3D printing to alternative online identities; from
smartphone communications to new forms of digital story-telling; from
Facebook to gaming; from web-based confession boots to internet porn;
from digital artforms to Netflix; from digital passports to new medical
technologies: digital technologies are everywhere, transforming human
consciousness, entering human bodies, changing social lives to the core.
Digital Anthropology explores how this development is picked up, fought
off, sought to be controlled and explored in different cultural settings
around the world. It registers the anxieties around the digitalization
of our lives as well as the utopic visions the digital engenders. And it
does so in the classical anthropological sense of looking at grass-root
level what new practices have emerged due to digital technologies, how
these practices change the existing social fabric and produce new
notions of self and community. Aware that anthropology itself is fully
encapsulated in these developments, digital anthropologists also ask how
digitalization changes current research practices.

The course is an introduction to this emergent field of study. In the
first part of the course it will seek to sketch the enormous scope of
this field by visiting a rich variety of domains where the digital is
making its presence felt. The main question is: how does the digital
enter contemporary modes of worldmaking, and to what effect? In the
second part of the course, we will narrow the focus by looking into the
way digital technologies impact on (1) social relations and (2) notions
of self. In tandem with the readings and discussions, the course will
constantly highlight how much research itself -- in the social sciences,
and more particularly in anthropology -- is being digitalized, and will
assess both the pitfalls and promises of that development. To deepen
their understanding, students will experiment with digital forms of
storytelling.

Teaching Methods

Lectures and tutorials

Method of Assessment

Webblog reporting and multi-media essay

Literature

To be announced in the course manual (see CANVAS).

Target Audience

3rd year bachelor students in Cultural Anthropology and Development
Sociology.

General Information

Course Code S_DA
Credits 6 EC
Period P4
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator prof. dr. M.P.J. van de Port
Examiner prof. dr. M.P.J. van de Port
Teaching Staff prof. dr. M.P.J. van de Port

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Study-group, Lecture
Target audiences

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