Since the invention of the printing press in the 15th century an array of media have become increasingly integral to the lives of people in diverse societies across the globe. The past century has seen an acceleration of this process. As communications technologies have expanded their reach; what kinds of transformations have occurred in the way in which people relate to one another? In what ways are media implicated in the constitution of sub-cultures, communities, and nations? Does the introduction of media necessarily lead to the transformation of existing cultural processes, or, can communities of people make media serve their particular imperatives and aspirations?
The course surveys key theoretical approaches to understanding the relationship between media and changing forms of society and personhood. Weekly themes to be explored include the cult of celebrity; media and nationalism; indigenous media; the social relations of cyberspace; and the place of communications technology in the rise of global terrorism. The course examines ethnographic accounts of the diverse ways in which persons utilise and make meaning via a range of media across different societies, including indigenous Australia, Papua New Guinea, Africa and Iran. At the core of the course is a focus on comprehending media, not simply as cultural products but social processes.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
On completion of this course (ANTH2128/6514 Media and Modernity) students will have acquired the skills to understand and critically reflect upon:
1. the place of media in contemporary Australian society
2. mediated social processes as distinctive dimensions of contemporary social life
3. the similarities and differences in the ways media technologies are utilised cross-culturally
4. diverse theoretical perspectives and conceptual approaches to understanding media
In-class presentation (10%), tutorial attendance and participation (10%), 2000 word essay (35%) and take home exam or research essay (45%).
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2 hours of lectures and one hour of tutorial per week
Requisite and Incompatibility
*Askew, K. and Wilk, R. (eds). The Anthropology of Media: A Reader, Oxford: Blackwell, 2002.
*Ginsburg, F., Abu-Lughod, L. & Larkin, B. (eds). Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain, California: University of California Press, 2002.
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