Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology: Media, Visual and Material Culture
This MA specialization brings together subfields such as the Anthropology of Media, Visual Anthropology and Material Culture studies. It explores questions regarding the circulation of media, objects and technologies, the economic and political infrastructures and conditions thereof, their inflection within everyday life worlds, 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 ‘information’ circulate and shape perception and experience.
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 malls, museums and on internet sites? 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.
Starting September 2011, it is also possible to complete ‘Media, Visual and Material Culture’ by means of a specialisation in museum studies in collaboration with the Museum of Ethnology and the Museum of Antiquities in Leiden. (This pilot track can only be followed if one starts with the programme in September).