Digital Anthropology


Digital Anthropology

A group for people interested in digital anthropology. What should people interested in digital anthropology be paying attention to right now.

Members: 302
Latest Activity: Dec 16, 2014

Discussion Forum

Netnography in Indonesia, a blog

Started by Jessika Tremblay Jan 6, 2014.

Technologies of research 23 Replies

Started by Justin Shaffner. Last reply by Zoë West May 20, 2013.

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Comment by Neil Turner on July 6, 2014 at 12:17pm

An important yet overlooked event in Brazilian History:

It is generally well-known that the first martyrs to lay down their lives for the abolition of slavery were the brave freedom fighters of the Haitian Revolution led by Toussaint l’Overture in 1791.

It is also generally well-known that the white Presbyterian minister, Elijah Parish Lovejoy was the first martyr to sacrifice his life for the abolishment of slavery in the United States in 1837.

However, it is not generally known that in Brazil, four men, Luiz Gonzaga, João de Deus, Lucas Dantas, and Manuel Faustino were sent to the gallows for their participation in an insurrection to free the slaves and bring democracy to Brazil in 1798.

This event constitutes an important, yet overlooked link in the history of the fight for freedom and democracy, the abolishment of slavery, and Brazilian history.

For more information see digital videoblog:

Comments are welcome.

Comment by Jacobson Zeng on January 11, 2014 at 6:38am

I will participate this panel with an paper about Edward Snowden, is there anyone interested in joining us?

Comment by Jacobson Zeng on January 11, 2014 at 6:38am

Call for paper:

American Ethnological Society Annual Conference

Boston, April 10-12, 2014


PANEL TITLE: Dark Politics: Mediating Scandals, Security and Truth in the Digital World


In recent years, the “dark side” of digital technologies caught public’s eye on the global scale: personal information breach through websites, fraud crimes and identity thefts via Internet, and scandals concerning private and national security exposed in social media, just to name a few here. Although the consequences of these new practices remain obscure, we have seen growing fears and concerns aroused on individual, national and global dimensions.  

How will anthropology, in both theory and practice, contribute to the understanding of the emergence and variation of these new digital practices? The panel is particularly interested in the contentious politics revolving around the experiential and discursive forms of these practices. It also seeks to problematize the politics attached to privacy, security, (re-)production of scandal scenarios through digital mediations. Unraveling the twist of different politics, we intend to explore the rich forms of mediations that involve both human and non-human actants including but not limited to the digital performance of visuality, texuality, indexicality, and tangibility.  Finally, we are interested in the apparatus that produces and negotiates “truth” in its encounter with the dark politics of digital mediation. By doing so, the panel seeks to build a meaningful dialogue with the burgeoning anthropological discussions on affect, security, mediation, and digitalization.

The panel calls for papers addressing on the above problems. We define “digital technologies” broadly. The panel welcomes papers addressing the issues on different scales and in various forms.


Please submit your abstract (of no more than 250 words) to Chen Chen ( by Jan 19th, 2014, along with your name, contact information, and institutional affiliation.

Comment by Lane DeNicola on January 13, 2012 at 12:22am

The MSc in Digital Anthropology at UCL, now accepting applications for its fourth year, is a world leader in the training of researchers in the social and cultural dimensions of information technologies and digital media.

Facebook and YouTube. eBooks and massively-networked gaming. Mobile communications and the Internet of Things. Digital technology has become ubiquitous, woven not only into pedestrian artefacts and the built environment but into our social and spiritual lives.  Museum displays migrate to the Internet, family communication in the Diaspora is dominated by new media, artists work with digital films and images. Anthropology and ethnographic research is fundamental to understanding the local consequences of these innovations, and to creating theories that help us acknowledge, understand and engage with them. Today's students need to become proficient with digital technologies as research and communication tools. Through combining technical skills with appreciation of social effects, students will be trained for further research and involvement in these emergent worlds.

This MSc (nominally one year of full-time study) brings together three key components in the study of digital culture:

  1. Skills training in digital technologies, including our own Digital Lab, from multimedia fieldnotes and  video editing to digital asset management and virtual ethnography.
  2. Anthropological theories of virtualism, materiality/immateriality and digitisation.
  3. Understanding the consequences of digital culture through the ethnographic study of its social and regional impact and issues of the digital divide.

University College London is one of the highest rated universities in the world according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Alumni of the Digital Anthropology programme have secured positions in both the public and private sectors, at organisations in fields ranging from design to marketing, game development to open content advocacy. The programme has fostered research engagements and placements with Skype, Microsoft, and Google among others. A major grant just awarded to department staff by the European Research Council will focus on social networking across a disparate array of countries, and a foundational edited volume on Digital Anthropology (edited by and featuring a number of staff within our own department, along with many other leaders in the field) is scheduled to be released this summer from Berg Publishers.

The programme is suitable both for those with a prior degree in anthropology but also for those with degrees in neighbouring disciplines who wish to be trained in anthropological and related approaches to digital culture. There is scope for those with specialist interests to work closely with information system designers, curators, communication specialists as well as our own digital studio. In addition to its importance for careers such as media, design and museums, digital technology is also integral to development, theoretical and applied anthropology.

For further information about this programme contact Dr. Lane DeNicola (  General and country-specific information for international applicants can be found at the International Office website:

Applications are now handled exclusively online:

While the general application deadline is not until 3 August 2012, applicants who may have funding or visa contingencies are advised to apply by 1 March (or earlier, depending on the funding programmes being applied to).

University College London has over 3,500 research staff and 17,000 students, ranking among the top three multi-faculty research and teaching universities in the UK. Located in the heart of Bloomsbury among the unique research resources of central London, which include excellent museum facilities as well as a dense network of specialist research and higher education institutions, the College provides an outstanding research base. The Department of Anthropology combines social and biological anthropology and material culture. Members of the Department carry out research in 49 countries, edit four international journals and run five research seminar series and specialist postgraduate research groups. There are over 140 postgraduate students funded by AHRC, ESRC, NERC, MRC, London University, British Academy, Institute of Zoology, Natural History Museum, Overseas Research Studentships, staff research programme awards, and various national governmental and international awards. UCL is thus one of the largest centres in the world for the training of PhD students in Anthropology.

The Dept. of Anthropology at UCL is the world's leading centre for the study of Material and Visual Culture (we have eight specialist staff in material and visual culture).  We currently supervise approximately fifty PhD students specifically in this field, including many with topics in Digital Anthropology.  Amongst other activities members of this group edit the Journal of Material Culture, the journal Home Cultures, and several book series and (in collaboration with NYU) the weblog at

The Department encourages pure and theoretical research as well as providing strong links with applied and development projects.  As well as holding top research standing, the Department has been rated excellent in successive teaching quality audits. There are 8 taught Masters courses and several undergraduate degrees (BSc Anthropology, BSc in Human Sciences, and Intercalated BScs in Medical Anthropology).

Comment by Julia Yezbick on January 8, 2012 at 3:44am
a journal for experiments in critical media practice

Sensate is a peer-reviewed, graduate-student-run journal for experiments in critical media practice. It aims to create, present, and critique innovative projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences  and to build on the groundswell of pioneering activities in the digital humanities, scholarly publishing, and innovative media practice to provide a forum for scholarly and artistic experiments not conducive to the printed page.

Sensate is currently accepting: 
1. Submissions for publication (Due: February 8, 2012)
2. Applications (Due: February 1, 2012)


1. Call for Submissions:

Exploring new ways to archive, curate, and organize academic multimedia scholarship, Sensate invites submissions of scholarship and art whose work is not conducive to the printed page. We experience the world through many forms and modes of mediation. Sensate seeks to acknowledge these various forms and assert a place for scholarship that engages the viewer/reader/listener on multisensorial and multimodal levels. We encourage submissions that creatively bridge research and media-based work, and aim at going beyond an illustrative relation between text and image towards both solid and innovative modes of scholarship and artistic practice. 

The integration of form and content is crucial to our mission and thus rather than a list of guiding questions we would like to offer a list of possible approaches that demonstrate efforts to unite form and content and to provoke inquiry through creative combinations of exposition and expression.

We are currently seeking work in any of the following categories/disciplines: artistic research, research as sensorial practice, visual anthropology, sensory ethnography, digital humanities, sound studies, multimedia mash-ups, media archeology, digital collections of audio and/or visual materials, digital cartography, performance and its documentation, and critically-inflected art in all media. Thematically, we are especially interested in the humanities and social sciences, but welcome projects in the sciences that entail similar approaches. 

The above guides are not meant to be proscriptive, and we welcome submissions that extend beyond these possibilities. Queries about possible article content as well as submissions from graduate students are also encouraged.

Submissions are due by February 8, 2012 at which time the editors will make initial decisions. Please use the Chicago Manual of Style for all citations. 

Submit via our online submissions form
Contact us with any questions.

2. Call for Applications: 
Sensate is currently accepting applications to be a part of our team in three core areas: Web Design and Development, Editor/Producer, and Media and Outreach. Deadline for applications is February 1st. We are open to applications from individuals based outside of the Boston/Cambridge area. Complete job descriptions can be found on our website.

Submit via our online application form
Contact us with any questions.
Comment by Laura Mann on December 20, 2011 at 1:47am

Call for participation

CAS@50 : Cutting Edges and Retrospectives, 
Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh
6th June 2012 09:00 – 8th June 2012

This panel aims to address some of the ahistoricity of the Information and Communication Technologies for Development field (ICT4D). It does so by focusing on experienced, enacted, and imagined changes in African economic relationships and positionalities due to technologies of connectivity in a contemporary and historical perspective.

ICT4D is a term used to denote a collection of activities that have framed electronic technologies as being useful for socio-economic development. Such technologies (and technologically mediated practices) may incorporate computers, mobile phones and the Internet, and may be used for a variety of developmental ends including health, education and economic activities. Much of the ICT4D literature tends to depict these technologies as ‘revolutionary’ and frames the changes that they engender as unique to our current age. This outlook neglects the longer history of the notion that economies in Africa can be ‘revolutionised’ through technologies – ideas which have been seminal both to the ‘civilising missions’ of the European colonial empires and in the development programmes of colonial and post-colonial states.

This dialogue between historical and contemporary perspectives has a number of approaches and theories to draw upon, including among others Kapil Raj’s ideas about ‘Relocating Modern Science’, Helen Tilley’s notion of ‘Africa as a Living Laboratory’, David Edgerton’s use orientated approach to technological development and Timothy Mitchell’s contributions to post-colonial theory. What these approaches have in common is that they forcefully challenge any simplistic notion of technological diffusion and economic development. As Timothy Mitchell writes, "the practices that form the economy operate, in part, to establish equivalences, contain circulations, identify social actors or agents, make quantities and performances measurable, and designate relations of control and command". This panel will use these theories as building blocks on which to understand how technological change reshapes our understandings about how the economy operates, the way in which the economy is measured and the way in which economic space is territorialised, both socially and spatially. It will therefore look critically at how contemporary ICT diffusion compare with earlier technological and economic ‘revolutions’.

Themes may include:

  • past and current aspects of control over and use of new technologies
  • the relations between newly introduced technologies and existing technologies and material culture
  • shifting perceptions of the benefits and beneficiaries of new technologies  
  • patterns of communication and imagined social, economic and political identities within, between and beyond African border
  • changing ideas and conceptualisations of technology as a driver of economic change and development
  • comparative studies of different forms of technologies in relation to economic development and economic theory
  • the role of technologies in the territorialization and de-territorialization of economic space
  • shifting roles of state and non-state agents in contemporary ICT4D and its historical predecessors
  • the diffusion of technology as a justification of wider political or social projects
In order to best provoke discussion, we would like participants to prepare short papers (4-5000 words) that will be circulated ahead of time and to prepare short presentations (5-10 minutes) so as to maximize discussion and debate during the roundtable. We ultimately hope for participants to expand their papers into contributions for an edited volume.

Panel Organizers:
Casper Andersen, Department of Culture and Society/Aarhus University, Laura Mann and Mark Graham, Oxford Internet Institute/University of Oxford

If you are interested in taking part, please send abstracts to Laura Mann ( by February 31st, 2012.
Comment by Julia Yezbick on April 26, 2011 at 3:40pm
New journal from Harvard's Sensory Ethnography Lab and the metaLAB@Harvard:

Sensate is an online, media-based journal for the creation, presentation, and critique of innovative projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences. Our aim is to build on the current groundswell of pioneering activities in the digital humanities, scholarly publishing, and innovative media practice to integrate new modes of scholarship into the cognitive life of the academy and beyond.

Sensate aims to foster new forms of scholarship that expand the traditional paradigm of academic discourse and open new possibilities for scholarship and artistic creation. Fundamental to this expansion is reimagining what constitutes a ‘piece’ of scholarship or art. Work featured in Sensate might take the form of audiovisual ethnographic research, multimedia mash-ups, experiments in media archaeology, participatory media projects, or digitized collections of archival media, artifacts, maps, or objects. By highlighting the processes of media and knowledge production, we hope to foster emergent and generative scholarship.

We hope that you will find many ways to engage with not only the content, but the ever-expanding network of Sensate collaborators. We welcome any feedback, provocations, and invitations for collaboration. Please contact us at:

Sensate is free and open-access. Please visit the site at:
Comment by Nathan Dobson on March 4, 2011 at 1:39pm

M. Kastrinou-Theodoropoulou at Durham is looking at hacking in terms of the gift.

Her paper is online here:

Comment by Ellen McDonald on February 25, 2011 at 8:56pm

WOW! Thank you everyone for providing me with so much information, these all seem like great starting points! Hopefully by the end of the semester I will have my term paper uploaded somewhere on the Internet so everyone can look at it! Thanks again,



Comment by Alberto Sánchez Allred on February 24, 2011 at 1:03am
Hi Ellen,

Francine already mentioned Gabriella Coleman's work. I would only point you to her piece in The Atlantic entitled "The Anthropology of Hacking". In it she steps through her 13 week course on the topic. It seems to me a fantastic place to start.

All the best, and do share where your research leads you.


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