Summer PhD Course

Media Ethnography:  Theory and Practice

Co-directors: Dr. Debra Spitulnik Vidali (Emory University) and Dr. Thomas Tufte (Roskilde University)

Date:  7-9 June 2011

The course will take place at Roskilde University, Denmark.

Application deadline: 30 April

Points given: 3 ECTS (with presentation). 2 ECTS without presentation.

Speakers:

  • Dr. Jo Helle Valle, Senior Researcher, Nat’l Institute for Consumer Research, Oslo, Norway
  • Dr. John Postill, C3 Research Institute, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
  • Dr. Debra Spitulnik Vidali, Associate Professor, Emory University, USA
  • Dr. Thomas Tufte, Professor, Roskilde University, Denmark

Description:

This short course is designed to introduce Ph.D. students to the theory and practice of media ethnography.  We explore how media ethnography applies to both media production and media reception, and how it is fundamentally both a theory and a method for investigating everyday practices and lived experiences as they are shaped by culturally-specific ways of being-in-the world.  Media to be considered include:  television, film, radio, newspapers, and new media. The course will begin with a brief overview of the history of ethnographic approaches within media studies and cultural studies, which dates back to the mid 1980s.  We then engage more recent scholarship within media anthropology, focusing specifically on three dimensions of ethnography:  (a) as fieldwork method; (b) as anthropological lens, and (c) as a method of writing and re-presentation.

While all 4 speakers will speak, so will the participating Ph.D. students. All students are encouraged to present a media ethnographical dimension of their Ph.D project reflecting on one or more of the three above mentioned approaches to media ethnography. The students will furthermore have the opportunity to conduct small exercises in which they practice doing participant-observation fieldwork, field note-taking, and working with the writing of ethnographic textures.

Participant Requirements:

A course package of required readings will be compiled and circulated to participants 3-4 weeks prior to the course.  The participants are required to read the full package of scholarly texts and to take an active part in discussing them, under the direction of the course leader.  Participants who wish to present some of their work on the seminar must hand in a 7-10 page essay and stating its relation to the course area. The deadline for this is May 20th.

Price:

The tuition fee is 3000 DKK (this fee is waivered if you are a member of the Danish Doctoral School on Media, Journalism and Communication (FMKJ).

In addition you must budget for travel, food and accommodation. Roskilde University will assist you in recommending accommodation. On this issue or if you have other practical inquiries, please contact Chris Holmsted (holmsted@ruc.dk).

To Apply: Send an application statement (1000 words max) by April 30th to Chris Holmsted. In your application statement, describe:

  • Your current status in your Ph.D. program (e.g. before fieldwork, after fieldwork)
  • What you hope to gain from a course on the theory and practice of media ethnography
  • Any previous work in ethnography or media studies
  • Your Ph.D. project, and its relation to media ethnography