DMS 505 Ethnographic Media

Elder, Sarah :: T/Th 3 – 4:50pm :: CFA235
Production Reg# 24130
Theory Reg# 24131

This graduate seminar examines the work of ethnographers and artists who work at the intersection of media art and the social sciences. Ethnographic media documents the visible and invisible practices of human cultures, societies and the individuals within them. It informs much of contemporary media.

Students from the departments of Media, Anthropology, American Studies, Visual Studies, Sociology, Geography, Gender Studies and English are encouraged to take the course as we investigate the borders of these disciplines and bring contemporary media practices into closer proximity to ethnological inquiry. The course explores contemporary creative documentary practices in relation to visual research and innovative ethnographies. We look at ethno fictions, experimental ethnographies, ethno animation, non-linear digital works, indigenous media as well as classic works in texts and ethnographic film.

The course looks at the artistic, historical and theoretical development of ethnographic documentary, visual anthropology and the ethical and political challenges that come with the visual representation of human communities. Students will gain both theoretical knowledge and practical skills in methods of ethnographic media, including fieldwork praxis, concept visualization, negotiating access, collaborative/participatory methods, image/audio recording, ethics, interviewing and editing for cultural meaning.

This course is designed to inspire and support the academic and artistic goals of each student. No previous technical experience is required. This course is appropriate for both advanced and entering graduate students. Work for the course may be integrated into thesis work. Students should register for either the theory (THE) or production (PRO) section of this course. Accordingly, for your final project, students may write either a research paper or produce a final media project in video/audio/photography/internet site/e-text or installation formats. Students may work in teams.