MED 521 Cyber Anthropology for Media Studies

MED 521 – Syllabus for Fall 2011

Cyber Anthropology for Media Studies

Mondays 19-22:00- santral E4-116


Cyberanthropology is a subbranch of sociocultural anthropology. It deals with cybernetic systems, virtual communities, cultures of technology, the computer underground, techno-mysticism and similar concepts that involve culturally informed interrelationships between human beings and  digital technologies. This course provides an overview of these major concepts and discusses methodologies for digital ethnographies such as researching online relationships, designing internet behaviour research, online interviewing and research relationship, ethnographic presence in cyber settings, and web sphere analysis within anthropological boundaries.

Objectives and Learning Goals:

By succesfully completing the course students will be able to:

●      get a general understanding of growing liteature on cyber anthropology.

●      be familiar with research methods commonly used in the cyber culture studies.

●      identify appropriate method(s) for researching specific problems on cyber issues.

●      identify and analyze particular local cases of internet usage.

●      interpret and critically evaluate the future of cyber culture studies.

Required (and Supplementary) Texts and Readings:

There might be additional scholarly readings and students will continously be assigned web readings throughout the semester. Most of the readings are digitally available and some will be left at the copy center.

Introduction to New Anthropology

* Faubion, James D. et al. Fieldwork Is Not What It Used to Be: Learning Anthropology’s Method in a Time of Transition. Cornell Univ Pressi 2009

* Fischer, Michael. “Culture and cultural analysis as experimental systems” Cultural Anthropology. Vol. 22. Number 1. Pps. 1-64 2007.

Digital Culture

* Gere, Charlie. Digital Culture. Reaktion Books, 2002

* Goldsmith, Jack and Tim Wu. Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

*  Hansen, Mark B. New Philosophy for New Media. The MIT Press. 2006.

* Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture: Where Old Media and New Media Collide. New York: NYU Press, 2006.

* Kelty, Christopher M. Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free. Duke University Press Books. 2008

* Ryan, Johnny.  A History of the Internet and the Digital Future.  Reaktion Books, 2010.

Media Ethnography

* Beaulieu, Anne. “Media Ethnography: Objectivity and the Making of Ethnographies of the Internet.” Social Epistemology 18.2-3 (2004): Fall.

*  Couldry, Nick and Anna McCarthy. MediaSpace: Place, Scale and Culture in a Media Age. London and New York: Routledge, 2004. This has some chapters providing example cyber-studies, anthro approaches..

* Ginsberg, Faye D. and Lila Abu-Lughod. Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2002.

* Miller, Daniel and Don Slater. The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach. London: Berg Publishers, 2001.

*  Murphy, Patrick and Marwan Kraidy, eds. Global Media Studies: Ethnographic Perspectives. London and New York: Routledge, 2003.


* Baym, Nancy and Annette Markham. eds. Internet Inquiry: Conversations about Method. Thousand Oaks, London, New Dehli: Sage Publications, 2009.

* Hine, Christine. Virtual Methods. Berg Publishers. 2005

* Kein, Grant. Global Technography: Ethnography in the Age of Mobility. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2009.

* Lindlof, Thomas and Milton Schatzer. “Media Ethnography in Virtual Space: Strategies Limits, and Possibilities.” Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media. 42.2 (Spring 2008): 170-189.

Case Studies

* Binark, Mutlu. Günseli Bayraktutan Sütcü, Fatma Buçakçı. “How Turkish Young People Utilize Internet Cafes: The Results Of Ethnographic Research In Ankara.” Observatorio Journal 8 (2009): 286-310.

*  Christensen, Christian, Miyase Christensen and Daya Thussu. Understanding Media and Culture in Turkey: Structures, Spaces, Voices. New York, London: Routledge, 2010.

* Everett, Anna. Digital Diaspora: A Race for Cyberspace. New York: SUNY Press, 2009.

* Ito, Mizuko et al. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. The MIT Press, 2009.

* Ogan, Christine L. and Kursat Cagiltay. “Confession, revelation and storytelling: patterns of use on a popular Turkish website.”
New Media & Society 8 (Oct 2006): 801 – 823.

* Venegas, Cristina. Digital Dilemmas: The State, the Individual, and Digital Media in Cuba. New Brunswick and London: Rutgers University Press, 2010.

* Dreyfuss, Suelette. Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness, and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier. Mandarin Australia.

* Boellstorff, Tom. Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human.  Princeton University Press.

Grading and Assessment:

Students must submit one term paper. It should be around 3000 words. All assignments will be written according to MLA style, Times New Roman, 12 font, double spaced, with a cover page indicating the course’s  name, title of the research method chosen,  the student’s name, student id number, and instructor’s name. This written assignment will constitute 50% of the final grade.  A proposal of the paper should be submitted before Spring break starts.

In the assessment of the assignment, the instructor will look for Creative ideas (20%) , Argumentation (30%), Originality of research (20%), Writing mechanics (15%) and Self exploration (15%).

Class participation will constitute the other 50% of the final grade. In assessing the participation the instructor will look for Creative ideas (40%), Argumentation (30%), Self exploration (15%), Active listening the class conversation (15%).

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