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Seminar: Indigenous Media 2016

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Again, I have the pleasure to teach the Seminar “Indigenous Media” for the MA Program in Visual and Media Anthropology at the Free University Berlin. Find below a brief description of the course.

In the seminar “Indigenous Media” students get an introduction to indigenous media technologies. In ten seminar units selected questions, issues, and problems are discussed: How do indigenous people produce, distribute, and utilize audiovisual media? How has ethnographic and anthropological film making changed? What role do politics, power, globalization, and (post-)colonialism play in the production and use of indigenous media? How do indigenous people utilize media to construct and negotiate their individual and collective identities? How are indigenous cultures and languages represented through media? And how do indigenous people appropriate and (co-)develop digital technologies in times of increasing globalization?

We start with the contextualization of indigenous media within the framework of an anthropology of media. In the second unit students are introduced to selected debates about the meaning and relevance of (mass) media for indigenous people and their culture. We then discuss ethnographic film making and visual anthropology in the context of indigenous people’s changing role from “objects” for ethnographic films to partners in media projects. The fourth unit deals with the phenomena of (post-)colonialism and decolonization and their implications for indigenous media. This discussion leads us to the self-controlled production of indigenous media and its relevance for issues such as (self-)representation, appropriation, control, and empowerment. Globalization, modernity, and related questions of collective indigenous identity construction – “indigeneity” – are the topics of the next unit. The following three sessions are closely connected and discuss aspects of identity, community, networking, ownership, activism, empowerment, aesthetics, poetics, and popular culture in relation to indigenous media. In the final unit students learn about the importance of digital technologies and infrastructures for indigenous people, their activist projects, and networking initiatives.

Through several case studies students are introduced to the similarities and differences of indigenous media projects throughout the world. These case studies take us to different regions, countries, and continents: from Nunavut, Canada, and the US to the Caribbean, Guatemala, Mexico, and Brazil, to Nigeria, Myanmar, Australia and Finland. The seminar’s assignments include the reading of selected articles, the watching of films and videos, and the discussion of these in small essays. The online conference tool Adobe Connect is used to present and discuss aspects of texts, films, and essays.

Visual/Media/Digital Anthropology at 14th EASA Conference

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Here is a list of panels at the 14th European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) Biennial Conference entitled “Anthropological legacies and human futures” (Milan, 20-23 July 2016, #EASA2016) which deal with visual and digital media technologies and related issues. If you are interested to participate to one of those panels, please keep in mind that the deadline for paper abstract submissions is 15 February and that you have to be member of EASA.

Panels are listed in order of appearance on the conference website. If I missed relevant panels, please let me know.

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CfP: “Media anthropology’s legacies and concerns”

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The EASA Media Anthropology Network is organizing a panel entitled “Media anthropology’s legacies and concerns” at the 14th European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) conference in Milan (20-23 July, 2016). Please find the detailed call for papers below. To propose a paper, please navigate to http://nomadit.co.uk/easa/easa2016/panels.php5?PanelID=4286 and http://www.easaonline.org/conferences/easa2016/cfp.shtml
Deadline for paper proposal submissions is February 15th.

Media anthropology’s legacies and concerns
(Media Anthropology Network)

Convenors
Philipp Budka (University of Vienna)
John Postill (RMIT University Melbourne)
Elisenda Ardevol (UOC, Barcelona)

In line with the theme of the 14th EASA conference the EASA Media Anthropology Network panel seeks to put fundamental concerns of media anthropology back into the centre of attention. Central themes of media anthropology have already been identified and discussed in earlier works: e.g. the mediation of power and conflict, media related forms of production and consumption, the relationship between media and religion, and the mediation of knowledge and forms of expression (e.g. Askew & Wilk 2002, Ginsburg et al. 2002, Peterson 2003, Rothenbuhler & Coman 2005). These topics can be connected to questions about hierarchies, power relationships, norms and political agency in media contexts; the materiality of media (technologies), exchange and reciprocity, media work; media rituals and the ritualization of media practices and events; the construction of histories and traditions in relation to media practices and the meanings of media communication for oral culture(s).

By (re-)focusing on such topics in a contemporary context, this panel invites contributions also to discuss broader questions. What has been “the point of media anthropology” as an anthropological subdiscipline and as an interdisciplinary field of research (Postill & Peterson 2009)? What are media anthropology’s legacies so far and what are its historical roots? What role does ethnography play in the anthropology of media and how has this relationship changed from a methodological and epistemological perspective? Thus, this panel contributes to the constitution of media anthropology as one of anthropology’s most thriving subdisciplines. Secondly, it adds to the understanding of media anthropology’s legacies, epistemologies, theories, methodologies and possible futures.

Askew, K., Wilk, R. (eds.) 2002. The anthropology of media: A reader. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Ginsburg, F., Abu-Lughod, L., Larkin, B. (eds.) 2002. Media worlds: Anthropology on new terrain. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Peterson, M. A. 2003. Anthropology and mass communication. Media and myth in the new millennium. New York & Oxford: Berghahn.
Postill, J., Peterson, M. A. 2009. What is the point of media anthropology? Social Anthropology 17(3): 334-344.
Rothenbuhler, E., Coman, M. (eds.) 2005. Media Anthropology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Paper: Indigenous audio-visual media production and broadcasting – Canadian Examples

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Budka, P. 2015. Indigenous audio-visual media production and broadcasting – Canadian Examples. Paper at “Eleventh Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies”, Vienna, Austria: University of Vienna, September 7-11.

Introduction

This is a short position paper that sets out to briefly discuss how indigenous audio-visual media production and broadcasting initiatives haven been developed and maintained in Canada. I am concentrating on television which still is the world’s dominant audio-visual communication medium. What are the specifics of indigenous media (production) and related practices and processes? And what does the future hold for indigenous media projects? Due to limited time at hand, I am only able to open this field of research by presenting two case studies: the national Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) (e.g., Hafsteinsson 2013, Roth 2005) and Wawatay (e.g., Budka 2009, Minore & Hill 1990), a regional communication society in Northern Ontario.

Text (PDF)

Concept map: Post-colonial technoscience

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This map visualizes the concept of “post-colonial technoscience” discussed by Smith, L. C. 2010. Locating post-colonial technoscience: through the lens of indigenous video. History and Technology: An International Journal, 26(3): 251-280. It was done by using the free CMap Tools (click to enlarge).

postcolonial_technoscience

Review: Unmasking deep democracy: An anthropology of indigenous media in Canada

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Budka, P. 2015. Review of Unmasking deep democracy: An anthropology of indigenous media in Canada, by S. B. Hafsteinsson. Aarhus: Intervention Press, 2013. Social Anthropology, 23/2: 240-242.

In the book’s introduction Sigurjon Baldur Hafsteinsson declares that the anthropological study which resulted in Unmasking Deep Democracy will, on the one hand, challenge the anthropology of visual communication and, on the other hand, contribute to the sub-discipline’s arguments. The anthropology of visual communication, like the anthropology of media, focuses in particular on the relational aspects and characteristics of (visual) media, such as television. This volume is about indigenous television in the Canadian context. By analysing communicative and journalistic practices of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) it aims for gaining an insight into the sociocultural agency of indigeneity and its (media) politics.

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Seminar: Indigenous Media 2015

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Seminar “Indigenous Media” by Philipp Budka
MA Program in Visual & Media Anthropology,
Freie Universität Berlin

Course Description

In this course students get an introduction to indigenous media technologies. In ten seminar units selected questions, issues, and problems are discussed: How do indigenous people produce, distribute, and utilize audiovisual media? How has ethnographic and anthropological film making changed? What role do politics, power, globalization, and (post-)colonialism play in the production and use of indigenous media? How do indigenous people utilize media to construct and negotiate their individual and collective identities? How are indigenous cultures and languages represented through media? And how do indigenous people appropriate and (co-)develop digital technologies in times of increasing globalization?

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Paper: Indigenous futures and digital infrastructures

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Budka, P. 2014. Indigenous futures and digital infrastructures: How First Nation communities connect themselves in Northwestern Ontario. Paper at “13th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)”, Tallinn, Estonia: Tallinn University, 31 July – 3 August.

Introduction

“Now […] if the Aboriginal People could […], retain their tradition, take the technology and go that way in the future. That would be good.”
(Community Development Coordinator and Educational Director, Bearskin Lake First Nation, 2007)

For my first field trip to Northwestern Ontario in 2006, I decided to take the train from Toronto to Sioux Lookout instead of flying. This ride with “the Canadian”, which connects Toronto and Vancouver, took me about 26 hours and demonstrated very vividly the vastness of Ontario. At some point, I could not believe that I have been spending more than an entire day on a train without even leaving the province. But finally I arrived at Sioux Lookout, Northwestern Ontario’s transportation hub, where I would be working with the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Kuhkenah Network (KO-KNET), one of the world’s leading indigenous internet organization.

After my first day at the office, KO-KNET’s coordinator told me that he wants to show me something. So we jumped in his car and drove to the outskirts of the town where he stopped in front of a big satellite dish. Only through this dish, he explained, the remote First Nation communities in the North can be connected to the internet. I was pretty impressed, but had no concrete idea how this really works. So while the satellite dish was physically visible to me, the underlying infrastructure was not. During my stay, I learned more about the technical aspects of internet networks and connectivity, about hubs, switches and cables, and about towers and loops. And I learned that internet via satellite might look impressive, but is actually the last resort and the most expensive way to establish internet connectivity. I also began to realize how important organizational partnerships and collaborative projects are and what important role social relationships across institutional boundaries play. In short: I learned about the infrastructure which is actually necessary to finance, provide and maintain internet access and use. Infrastructure, KO-KNET’s coordinator told me “really defines what you can do and what you can’t do” (KO-KNET coordinator 2007). And this has fundamental consequences for the futures of the region’s indigenous people.

Within this paper I am going to discuss digital infrastructures and technologies in the geographical and sociocultural contexts of indigenous Northwestern Ontario. By introducing the case of KO-KNET I analyse (1) how internet infrastructures act as facilitators of social relationships and (2) how First Nations people actively make their (digital) futures by taking control over the creation, distribution and uses of information and communication technologies (ICT), such as broadband internet. This study is part of a digital media anthropology project that was conducted for five years, including ethnographic fieldwork in Northwestern Ontario and in online environments.

In media and visual anthropology, anthropologists are, among other things of course, interested in how indigenous, disfranchised and marginalized people have started to talk back to structures of power that neglect their political, cultural and economic needs and interests by producing and distributing their own media technologies (e.g., Ginsburg 1991, 2002b, Michaels 1994, Prins 2002, Turner 1992, 2002). To “underscore the sense of both political agency and cultural intervention that people bring to these efforts”, Faye Ginsburg (2002a: 8, 1997) refers to these media practices as “cultural activism”. “Indigenized” media technologies are providing indigenous people with possibilities to make their voices heard, to network and connect, to distribute information, to revitalize culture and language, and to become politically engaged and active (Ginsburg 2002a, 2002b). Particularly digital media technologies offer a lot of these possibilities to marginalized people (e.g., Landzelius 2006a).

Text (PDF)

Article: Social media in remote First Nation communities

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Molyneaux, H., O’Donnell, S., Kakekaspan, C., Walmark, B., Budka, P., Gibson, K. 2014. Social media in remote First Nation communities. Canadian Journal of Communication, 39(2): 275-288.

Abstract

Community resilience in First Nations includes ties to people both inside and outside the community, intergenerational communication, the sharing of stories, and family and community connectedness. This study, based on a survey of Internet users in the Sioux Lookout region of Northwestern Ontario, explores the link between social networking sites and community resilience. The region is home to some of the most isolated First Nation (indigenous)communities in Canada. Cultural and familial links between these communities are strong, yet until recent use of the Internet, maintaining regular communications to strengthen cultural ties was challenging. This study examines the links between travel and communication online, the ways in which social media are used to preserve culture and maintain communication, and the implications of social networking for community resilience.

La résilience communautaire chez les Premières Nations se base sur les rapports à autrui tant au sein de la communauté qu’au-delà de celle-ci, la communication intergénérationnelle, le partage d’histoires et la solidarité familiale et communautaire. Cet article se fonde sur un sondage d’utilisateurs d’Internet dans la région Sioux Lookout du Nord-ouest de l’Ontario pour explorer les rapports entre les sites de réseautage social et la résilience communautaire. La région Sioux Lookout compte certaines des communautés autochtones les plus isolées au Canada. Les affinités culturelles et familiales entre ces communautés sont fortes, et pourtant, avant l’utilisation récente d’Internet, le maintien de communications régulières pour resserrer les liens culturels n’était pas facile. Cette étude examine les rapports entre voyages et communication en ligne, les manières dont on utilise les médias sociaux pour préserver la culture et assurer les communications, et l’impact du réseautage social sur la résilience communautaire.

Report on the MyKnet.org and Facebook Online Survey, April – December 2011

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Budka, Philipp. 2012. Report on the MyKnet.org and Facebook Online Survey, April-December 2011.
http://meeting.knet.ca/mp19/course/view.php?id=7

Abstract

This report presents and discusses findings of an online survey which aims to contribute to the understanding of First Nation online practices. By looking at two popular web services, MyKnet.org, a regional First Nation homepage environment, and Facebook, the global leader in online social networking, it becomes clear that for the First Nation people of northwestern Ontario the internet is the most important communication medium. These two online services have become ubiquitous media technologies that are used to connect and represent people in this remote region. They are well integrated into people’s daily lives and practices; not only as communication tools, but also as subjects of discussion. As participants to this online survey (N=117) indicate, the popularity of MyKnet.org and Facebook is mainly due to the fact that those online services are easy and free to use for keeping in touch with family and friends. Besides maintaining and fostering social connections, people also utilize MyKnet.org and Facebook to share stories about cultural activities as well as music and videos, which is considered an important cultural practice. Survey results suggest further that while Facebook has replaced MyKnet.org in terms of online communicating and connecting, the Aboriginal online service is still being used for creating and designing web presences as well as for local information gathering and sharing.

The full report (PDF)

Links
MyKnet.org research website
MyKnet.org
KO-KNET

Article: How “real life” issues affect the social life of online networked communities

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Budka, Philipp. 2008. How “real life” issues affect the social life of online networked communities. In C. Trupp & P. Budka (Eds.), Austrian Studies in Social Anthropology – Sondernummer KSA-Tage 2007 (Workshop Medien und Film), June 2008, 50-61.
Online: http://www.univie.ac.at/alumni.ethnologie/journal/abstract/budka.html

Abstract

Speaking of “the internet”, one often forgets that this is not a monolithic media technology, but a whole range of applications embedded in the life of people practicing these technologies. This paper explores on the one hand the social life of a publicly accessible mailing list that connects various indigenous and non-indigenous persons to form a global electronic network. On the other hand, it analyses a Usenet newsgroup, which is dedicated to the socio-cultural life in Austria. With the help of two cyberanthropological case studies the interconnections between “real life” or offline issues and “virtual” or online lives on mailing lists and newsgroups is demonstrated. The paper intends to show that “virtual life” never can be separated from “real life” and its issues.

Text (PDF)

Essay: TV Global

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TV Global: Fernsehen als Medientechnologie im globalen Süden und aus medienanthropologischer Perspektive
Von Philipp Budka

Dieser Text erschien in gekürzter Form im Schwerpunktheft “Fernsehen Global” des Südwind Magazins 7/2011 unter dem Titel “Glokal gesehen“.

Trotz der rasant zunehmenden Bedeutung des Internets und seiner Applikation und Services, bleibt das Fernsehen das weltweit dominierende Massenmedium in Bezug auf Nachrichten und Unterhaltung (vgl. Straubhaar 2007). Wie bei anderen Kommunikationstechnologien und Medien auch, unterscheiden sich bei der Medientechnologie Fernsehen im nationalstaatlichen und regionalen Vergleich Technologieverbreitung und Infrastrukturvoraussetzungen, politische und ökonomische Produktionsbedingungen, Formen und Praktiken der Rezeption sowie Programmformate und Inhalte. Dieser Beitrag wirft aus kultur- und sozialanthropologischer Perspektive einen Blick auf das Phänomen Fernsehen im globalen Süden. Anhand von kurzen Fallbeispielen soll einerseits die Vielfalt und Divergenz an Fernsehpraktiken im globalen und historischen Kontext beleuchtet werden. Andererseits zeigen diese ausgesuchten Beispiele auch die Gemeinsamkeiten, die sich aufgrund global technologischer Entwicklungen und transnationaler Trends feststellen lassen.

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Lecture: Media Ethnographies – Ethnography in/and the Anthropology of Media

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In the winter term 2010/2011 Philipp is giving a lecture on media ethnographies in the context of an anthropology of media technologies at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna. By using different case studies, the lecture aims to highlight the importance of ethnography in understanding media phenomena.

For more information in German go to: http://www.philbu.net/courses.html

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People 2010

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On 9th of August the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is celebrated at UN Headquarters in New York and around the world. The theme of this year’s Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is indigenous film makers. Thus four selected short films are screened:

Ivan and Ivan Directed by Philipp Abryutin (Chucki)

Curte-Nillas Directed by Per-Josef Idivuoma (Sámi)

Taino Indians Counted Out of Existence Directed by Alex Zacarias (Taíno)

Sikumi (On the ice) Directed by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean (Inupiaq)

More info about film makers add new dimension on Day of World’s Indigenous People

What is the history of this special day for the world’s more than 300 million indigenous people? From the website of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues:

“In 1994, the General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People shall be observed on 9 August every year during the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (Resolution 49/214 of 23 December). The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

The UN General Assembly had proclaimed 1993 the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People, and the same year, the Assembly proclaimed the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People, starting on 10 December 1994 (Resolution 48/163). The goal of the First Decade was to strengthen international cooperation for solving problems faced by indigenous people in such areas as human rights, the environment, development, education and health.

In 2004, the UN General Assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples through Resolution 59/174. The goal of the Second Decade is to further the “strengthening of international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous people in such areas as culture, education, health, human rights, the environment, and social and economic development, by means of action-oriented programs and specific projects, increase technical assistance, and relevant standard-setting activities”.”

more at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/news_internationalday2010.html

Presentation: Indigene Medienproduktion im Nordwestlichen Ontario, Kanada

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Philipp Budka
(Universität Wien)

6. Tage der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie, Workshop “Medien und Medienkritik aus kultur- und sozialanthropologischer Perspektive”
Insitut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie, Universität Wien
22.04.2010

Abstract

Indigene Gruppen, Organisationen und Netzwerke sind weltweit verstärkt daran interessiert ihre soziokulturellen, politischen und ökonomischen Lebensumstände mittels unterschiedlichster Medientechnologien zu kommunizieren. Reichweite und Fokus indigener Medienproduktionen sind dabei ebenso unterschiedlich wie politische, technische und infrastrukturelle Rahmenbedingungen. Dieser Beitrag gibt einen Einblick in die indigene Medienproduktion im Nordwestlichen Ontario, Kanada, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der historischen, geographischen sowie soziokulturellen Kontexte. Anhand von Fallbeispielen wird einerseits die politische und kulturelle Bedeutung klassischer Massenmedien, wie Zeitung, Radio und Fernsehen, sowie spezieller Kommunikationsmedien, wie Community Radio, für die indigenen Menschen in dieser abgeschiedenen Region aufgezeigt. Andererseits wird der Frage nachgegangen wie indigene BenutzerInnen neuer Medien, wie World Wide Web und Internet, Inhalte selbst produzieren, verändern, reproduzieren und kommunizieren. Weitere Fragen die in diesem Vortrag andiskutiert werden sind: Wie gestaltet sich das Verhältnis von Medientechnologien zu Sprach- und Wissenserwerb bzw. -weitergabe? Welchen Einfluss haben neue Medien auf traditionelle soziale Strukturen? Was bedeutet User-generated Content von persönlichen Homepages für etablierte Massenmedien? Welche Bedeutung haben diese Fallbeispiele indigener Medienproduktion für Österreich?


Indigene Medienproduktion im Nordwestlichen Ontario, Kanada on Prezi