Anthropology 330
DREXEL UNIVERSITY
Spring 2016-17
Dr. Wesley Shumar, Professor
Office hours: By appointment
Office: PSA Rm. 117
Phone: 895-2060
wes@drexel.edu
www.shumarw.com

MEDIA ANTHROPOLOGY


COURSE DESCRIPTION:
From the printing press to the electronic age, mass media has changed the ways people work, think about themselves and interact with each other. Increasingly mass media and new electronic media are infiltrating every aspect of social life in many cultures and societies. These flows of images, sound and information are complex involving patterns of domination as well as being unevenly distributed across cultures.This course will look at the influence of mass media and new media on our contemporary society. The anthropological study of media began with the tradition of  producing ethnographic films that explored other peoples and cultures.  More recently anthropologist have been studying forms of virtual  community on the Internet as well as the impact of more traditional  mass media on people and culture.

This course will survey the anthropological study of media. We will  begin by looking at advertizing and the way the other is represented  through ads beginning with print ads and photography. We will then turn  to the cultural analysis of mass media such as broadcast radio and  television. Finally we will look at the impact of computers, the  Internet, and new media on societies throughout the world. We will  focus on the kinds of structural changes in society that media has  helped to bring about and we will think about the way the social self,  the identity of people in society, has been influenced by media. We  will also look at the relationship of mass/new media, the  transnationalization of economic institutions and culture and their  relationship to questions of meaning.
   
   

COURSE OBJECTIVES:   Students will become familiar with the concepts and methods that  anthropologists use to study media particularly the adaptation of  ethnographic techniques for the study of mass media as well as  cyberspace and new media. Students will develop their own critical  skills as they analyze media and apply concepts to practice in their  own work.
   
   
    Texts available in the University Store:
  
    Faye D. Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Brian Larkin (Eds.)
    2002 Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain. University of California Press.   

    Eric W. Rothenbuhler and Mihai Coman  (Eds.)
    2005 Media Anthropology. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

   

Additional Readings may be assigned throughout the course. 


SCHEDULE
 

   


    Week 1 Anthropology and Media
    Faye D. Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Brian Larkin (Eds.) 2002 Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain.Chapter 1&2.
    Eric W. Rothenbuhler and Mihai Coman  (Eds.) 2005 Media Anthropology. Chapters 1-2.
   
     Week2  History of Media Anthropology
      Eric W. Rothenbuhler and Mihai Coman  (Eds.) 2005 Media Anthropology. Chapters 3-5.

     Week 3 Representation and Cultural Imagination
     Faye D. Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Brian Larkin (Eds.) 2002 Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain.Chapters 3&4.
  

Critical  Thinking Paper 1

Final Paper Proposal Due 

      Week 4 Concepts and Methods
       Eric W. Rothenbuhler and Mihai Coman  (Eds.) 2005 Media Anthropology. Chapters 6-15

     Week 5 National Imagination and the Politics of Identity
     Faye D. Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Brian Larkin (Eds.) 2002 Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain.Chapters 5-8.
    

    Week 6 Events, Myth and Ritual
    Eric W. Rothenbuhler and Mihai Coman  (Eds.) 2005 Media Anthropology. Chapters 16-21.
   

     Week  7 Dreams and the Self
     Faye D. Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Brian Larkin (Eds.) 2002 Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain.Chapters 9-11.       

    Week 8  New Media and The Spectacle of the Other
     Eric W. Rothenbuhler and Mihai Coman  (Eds.) 2005 Media Anthropology. Chapters 22-25.

    

Critical  Thinking Paper 2

    Week 9 Political Economy of Media
     Faye D. Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Brian Larkin (Eds.) 2002 Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain.Chapters 12-15
     Eric W. Rothenbuhler and Mihai Coman  (Eds.) 2005 Media Anthropology. Chapters 26-30.

    Week 10 The Social Life of Technology
     Faye D. Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Brian Larkin (Eds.) 2002 Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain.Chapters 16-20.
     
       

Final Paper - Due Final Exam Week

__________________________________________________________________
   
   

   

Details
   
   

   

1. You are expected to do all of the reading for this course.
2. It is expected that you will view all lectures and participate in discussions each week.
3. All papers (Exams, projects, etc.) are due on the dates listed in  the syllabus.
    

 Assuming that the above expectations are met, each assignment  will be weighted as follows:     

   
1.  Media Discussion list (20% of the final grade).  Students will participate in a weekly discussion in the Backboard Learn platform.  You will originate a post at least twice a week and respond to at least 4 other posts a week.  More interaction is encouraged.  There are two kinds of discussions we will engage in.  The instructor will generate discussion questions from the readings for the class to discuss each week.  The forum is also for students to post their thoughts on the media they have been interacting with that week.  The discussion is open and students can talk about all forms media and their thoughts about it.  Students are encouraged to use their anthropological lens when thinking about media and how that media reflects cutural themes, issues of identity, social conflicts, etc.  Students are encouraged to regularly post beyond the above mentioned minimums and grades will reflect students effort in the discussion.     

2. Critical Thinking Papers (25% each, 50% combined percentage of the final grade).
Two critical thinking exams will be assigned in lieu of a midterm exam. The first assignment will be posted at the end of week three. The second assignment will be posted at the end of week seven.  The critical thinking assignments are designed specifically for students to reflect up the ideas developed in the texts and in class discussions. Further students will be asked to synthesis ideas across the texts, class discussions and any media the student uses.

3. Final Paper (30% of the final grade).
Each student will engage in an ethnographic media project. Students must submit a half page written proposal for the fieldwork and a 7-10 page paper based on their research. Student will engage in ethnographic fieldwork with some form of media. This analysis will involve the use of anthropological concepts and methodologies in the analysis of film, broadcast media, new informational media, etc. The papers will be due during finals week. More detail on the projects will be given throughout the class.



EVALUATION

 

 

COURSE ATTENDANCE

Regular attendance is an important part of learning.  Therefore, attendance is required in accordance with the policies of Drexel University. In an online course, attendance consists of timely participation in each unit while the unit is in progress in accordance with the online availability of the unit, the dates and deadlines provided in the content in each unit, and the topical outline of the syllabus.  If a student is unable to participate in the course because of a legitimate problem (such as severe illness, accident, family emergency, death in the family), it is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor as soon as possible and make arrangements for making up the class session. Attendance is the student’s responsibility. Please note that poor attendance may adversely affect the student’s grade. 

 

PARTICIPATION

Most participation in this online course will be conducted asynchronously. This means that students will participate in each unit based on the days and times each week that are convenient for the students. Students should note that there may be certain activities, exercises, or course events that require synchronous participation.  Students will be given advance notification of the dates and times of these activities. Please note that all students are expected to participate in all course discussions, activities, lectures, assignments, and exercises and that this participation should be timely in accordance with the syllabus and unit content.

 

ACADEMIC HONESTY

Drexel University is committed to a learning environment that embraces academic honesty. In order to protect members of our community from results of dishonest conduct, the University has adopted policies to deal with cases of academic dishonesty. Please read, understand, and follow the academic policies on Academic Dishonesty located at http://www.drexel.edu/provost/policies/academic_dishonesty.asp.

 

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

In compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Drexel University’s policies and procedures, the University is committed to the non-discrimination of students with disabilities.

Students with disabilities requesting accommodations and services at Drexel University need to present a current Accommodation Verification Letter (AVL) to faculty before accommodations can be made.  AVL’s are issued by the Office of Disability Services (ODS). For additional information, visit the ODR website at http://www.drexel.edu/oed/disabilityResources, or contact the Office for more information: 215-895-1401 (V), or disability@drexel.edu.

 

STUDENT ENROLLMENT RESPONSIBILITIES

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that he/she is properly enrolled for the course. Students whose names do not appear in Banner at the time final grades are entered at the end of the term will not be entitled to a grade by the instructor.

If the student stops attending the class, she/he will not be automatically dropped from the course and she/he will receive a grade according to her/his overall performance which will include grades for completed and incomplete work. Incomplete work will be graded as no-credit. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that she/he is properly enrolled or withdrawn from the course.

 

COURSE DROP/WITHDRAWAL POLICY

Once a student is registered, it is his/her responsibility to attend the course, drop the course, or withdraw from the course.  Dropping and withdrawing are distinct actions that impact your course enrollment status. For information on adding or dropping a course, please see http://drexel.edu/drexelcentral/courses/adjustments/Adding%20and%20Dropping%20Courses/.  For information on withdrawing from a course, please see http://drexel.edu/drexelcentral/courses/adjustments/course-withdraw/.

 

Students should note the deadlines for add/drop/withdrawal noted in the University’s Academic Calendar on the Drexel University website http://drexel.edu/drexelcentral/courses/calendars/


COURSE MATERIAL COPYING/RECORDING AND USAGE

Copying, recording, and use of course content and/or materials outside of the course is prohibited without the consent of the instructor.

 

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES/ SPECIAL REQUESTS

Please note that the instructor reserves the right to evaluate special requests or circumstances, determine if an alternate educational assignment is warranted, and of what the content/process of that alternate assignment would consist. No special consideration for alternate educational assignments will be given after the term has ended.

 

Technology Support

24/7 technology support is available to students by phone or online:

      itg@drexel.edu

   215-895-1224

Should you have questions about the functioning of any portion of the course, please do not hesitate to email the instructor for guidance and assistance.

 

 

Please Note:  The instructor may make modifications to the syllabus and/or outline during the course.  Students will be notified of any changes.

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