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Media and Material Culture


Admission requirements

Only students who are admitted to the master’s programme Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology can take part in this course.
This course forms the basis of the MA specialisation Media and Material Culture.

Description / Course objectives

The course Media and Material Culture explores questions regarding the circulation of media, objects and technologies, the economic and political infrastructures and conditions thereof, their inflection within everyday lifeworlds, and the ideological understandings of diverse forms and processes that turn them into one thing in one place and something different in another. We are interested in the ways in which images, sounds, objects, and more abstract forms of circulation inform and shape forms of embodiment, sensory perception and experience, more broadly conceived. How do media form part and parcel of social movements and cultural and political practice, including that of today’s heritage politics? What role do new, allegedly democratizing media technologies play in providing access to some while excluding others? What kind of ‘worlds’ are conjured via commodity displays in such settings as museums, malls, internet sites, or city streets? Of interest, too, are the publics called forth by diverse mediations as well as the constraints—ideological, cultural, political, economic, financial, governmental, technological—that contour the possibilities and effects of such forms in particular places and times.



  • 5 and 12 October, 11-14 h, room 5A29

  • 19 and 26 October, 10-13 h, room 1A33

  • 2 – 30 November, 10-13 h, room SA37

Fridays (3 × 3 hours):

  • 8 and 22 October, 13-16 h, room SA05

  • 26 November, 10-13 h, room SA05

Mode of instruction

Total 10 ECTS = 280 study hours (sbu):

  • Lectures (Tuesdays) 8 × 3 h / 24 hours (36 sbu)

  • Group discussions (Fridays) 3 × 3 hours (18 sbu) *

  • Study of literature

  • Museum visits (8 sbu) and museum assignment (28 sbu)

  • Presentation (42 sbu)

Assesment method

  • active student participation is expected,

  • weekly assignments (AQCIs) (7 total, of which one may be missed or a fail, no re-dos permitted),

  • two museum visits,

  • one museum assignment (2/3 pages),

  • one class presentation.


Blackboard will be used to post the assignments and other course related information.

Reading list

  • Fred Myers (2002) Painting Culture. The Making of an Aboriginal High Art. Durham, NC: Duke University Press

  • Karen Strassler (2010) Refracted Visions. Popular Photography and National Modernity in Java. Durham, NC: Duke University Press

  • Amanda J. Weidman (2006) Voicing the Modern: The Postcolonial Politics of Music in South India. Durham, NC: Duke University Press


Students must chose only one MA elective course based on the topic of their research.
Registration for the MA electives will be possble in September 2010 at the Secretariate of the Institute CA-DS (room 3A19, Pieter de la Court building) as well as on Blackboard.