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Welcome to the chair of Visual and Media Anthropology

Infrastructurally, the Chair of Visual and Media Anthropology is based at the Karl Jaspers Centre for Transcultural Studies and bridges across to the Institute of Ethnology and the Department of Anthropology at the South Asia Institute. It is part of a cluster of four professorships in cultural and social anthropology, on the one hand, and of a collaborative of five professors holding different chairs, on the other hand; all of which are situated at the Karl Jaspers Centre, feeding into and running the international Master of Transcultural Studies

In terms of research and teaching focus, the department of Visual and Media Anthropology has a variety of foci, ranging from popular visual culture to film industries, curatorial strategies and contemporary art practices and markets, from urbanization processes to transnational migration (see the film portrait). Images and media have been mediators and sources of transcultural encounters and entanglements for a long time and across national borders, and play an increasingly important role in today's globalised worlds. Because various agents, institutions and objects, all contributing to the globalised imaginaries, have drawn upon different media for their legitimacy and other forms of power, we aspire to offer new insights and provide a solid body of theoretical and methodological tools to our students, to grapple with the challenges of transculturation in and through visual and media cultures. The chair hosts a broad spectrum of research based projects and teaching with respect to visual and audio-visual materials, e.g. advertising and gender; ethnographic and documentary film; urban youth culture, lifestyle and emotions or the global flow of 'local' art markets. 

Flows and asymmetries of images and media

In global and transcultural settings, images and media are prone to permanent changes. Therefore, the research focuses on images and media as ideal means to explore shifting asymmetries of cultural flows between Asia and Europe. These asymmetrical flows of visualities are produced, disseminated and consumed/received by social agents, and therefore require a closer, ethnographic look at the multiple layers of socio-cultural, historical, political, religious and ideological contexts and processes as well as localities from which they emerge and which they shape in turn.

Our core themes

To a large extent, the chair of Visual and Media Anthropology is based on a critical evaluation of media-related issues: whether this is connected to the ways governments, institutions, particular groups or individuals employ specific media in order to gain access to public opinion-making and legitimizing their interests, or to the ways in which certain images journey through various media technologies (traditional to electronic), across social, political and geographical boundaries, thereby changing their meaning and efficacy. The analysis of image itineraries and media flows also allows investigation into the ways in which communities have formed over time and according to culturally specific contexts, helping people negotiate and challenge perspectives regarding Self and Other, governance and civil society, health, heritage or space/place. Our key areas of research are youth culture, urban imaginaries, gender, diaspora and performance studies, as well as shifting art markets and exhibition practices. 

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Please note

Prof. Brosius' office hours during the summer term 2014 are on Wednesdays, 10.15 - 11.45. Please register with Mrs. Berger-Goeken.

In summer 2014, Christiane Brosius teaches a course on Art as Ethnography.

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Spotlight: Urban Research

Read more about our interdisciplinary initiative 'Spotlight: Urban Research' with events at Heidelberg, this summer: here

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