nl en

Media and Culture 1


Admission requirements

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

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.


Time-table page of the Faculty
All lectures will take place at the Pieter de la Court Building, Wassenaarseweg 52, Leiden.

Mode of instruction

Total 5 ECTS = 140 study hours (sbu):

  • Lectures 4 × 3 h = 12 hours (18 sbu)

  • Group discussion 3 hours (6 sbu)

  • Study of literature (80 sbu)

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

Assesment method

  • active student participation is expected

  • 3 weekly assignments (AQCIs), of which one may be missed or a fail, (no re-do’s permitted)

  • two museum visits

  • one museum assignment (2/3 pages)


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

Registration in uSis

All participants must register in uSis for the lecture series of this course. (Registration for the exam is not required since there is no classical examination.)

Reading list

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

  • Articles to be announced on Blackboard.

Contact information

Prof.dr. Patricia Spyer: