Anthropologies of Media and Mobility:
Theorizing movement and circulations across entangled fields
An International Workshop organized by the Anthropology and Mobility Network and the Media Anthropology Network (EASA) in collaboration with Locating Media (Siegen) and a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School (Cologne)
University of Cologne, Germany
14-16 September 2017
This international workshop seeks to theorize the relationship between media and mobility. While mobility has been defined as movement ascribed with meaning, one might in similar fashion define media as meaning ascribed with movement. Interrogating the linkages between media and mobility can enable more thorough understandings of how various power structures produce, transform and reproduce social, material and discursive orders. People, devices, and data are increasingly on the move – movements that may transgress borders and boundaries, but which are also integral to the constitution and regulation of the barriers themselves. The movement of people triggers new imaginaries of territories and social spaces, which circulate through media, questioning and forging new ties between people, signs and things. More broadly, the mobilisation of tangible and intangible things demands a reconceptualization of what a 'thing’ is, what constitutes the human, and what defines human collectivity. In such circumstances, reimagining circulations through the lens of media and mobility becomes an important step towards understanding current socio-cultural and political changes. While this lens has been applied broadly within anthropological research, its theoretical consequences merit further investigation and discussion.
With a focus on a comparative approach, this workshop invites papers that rethink the theoretical underpinnings of media and mobility studies in anthropology. In particular, we hope to encourage papers based on multidisciplinary and mixed-methods research between social anthropology and other disciplines, including sociology, geography, communication studies, and the digital humanities. We aim to select presentation proposals, across a wide variety of formats, from early and mid-career scholars. Possible topics represented could include (but are hardly limited to):
- Theoretical discussions that connect (or disconnect) media and mobility;
- Empirical case studies that contribute to the conceptualisation of media and mobility;
- Ethnographic research that brings into relief the politics of media and mobility;
- Comparative studies that challenge Anglophone and Eurocentric theorizations of media and mobility;
- Practice-based demonstrations of experimental approaches to thinking through media and mobility;
- Contributions on media and mobility that engage with broader theoretical debates in social and political theory.
In addition to paper presentations with discussion, we would like to encourage audio/visual, sensory and experimental formats that speak to the conference theme. Please specify the technical and spatial needs for your presentation in your proposal.
The workshop will take place over two days at the University of Cologne, which is extremely accessible by both air and train transport. Some bursaries will be made available thanks to contributions from both the University of Siegen’s Locating Media graduate school and EASA.
Abstracts for papers (max. 300 words), listing your institutional affiliation and position, should be sent by email a Word .doc attachment by Monday 3 April, 2017 to mediamobilityworkshop[at]gmail.com. If you would like to be considered for a travel bursary, please add a few sentences below your abstract regarding why you require funding consideration.
Mobile Work-Life Arrangements: Exploring Conceptual and Methodological Challenges
ANTHROMOB co-organised a 10-day doctoral student summer school in concert with the research group Cultures of Mobility in Europe (COME), led by Dr. Anna Lipphardt. Earmarked for October, 2015 (during the Indian summer) in Freiburg, Germany and titled Mobile Work-Life Arrangements: Exploring Conceptual and Methodological Challenges, this engaging, multidisciplinary event will broughttogether junior scholars carrying out research on mobile or multi-local work-life arrangements. The ten days encouraged participants to ponder contexts in which mobile practices are an integral part of the quotidian negotiation between different forms of work/subsistence and other spheres of life, such as family life and social networks, housing, political involvement, religion, or leisure. It gave the opportunity for postgraduate students to learn from junior and senior scholars who work across both the social sciences and the humanities. View the programme here: www.come.uni-freiburg.de/summer-school
Grounding (im)mobility: Embodiment, ephemera, ecologies
Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal , Thursday 10 – Friday 11 September, 2015
The Workshop Co-organisers: Jamie Coates, Waseda University (Japan), Simone Frangella, ICS, University of Lisbon (Portugal), José Mapril, CRIA (Portugal), Roger Norum, University of Leeds (UK), Valerio Simoni, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva (Switzerland), Francesco Vacchiano, ICS, University of Lisbon (Portugal), Lauren Wagner, Maastricht University (The Netherlands)
The ANTHROMOB convenors Jamie Coates, Roger Norum, Valerio Simoni, and Lauren Wagner and the Instituto de Ciências Sociais (ICS), with Lisbon-based scholars Simone Frangella, José Mapril, and Francesco Vacchiano, collaborated last month to organize the ANTHROMOB 2015 workshop, Grounding (im)mobility. With nearly 50 abstracts submitted, the workshop finally included 17 strong papers in 6 themed sessions covering subjects of embodiment, belonging, morality, media, borders and infrastructure among others, as well as 2 parallel sessions on Mobile Participatory Methods and on Visual Collaboration. The presenters included a mix of EASA members and non-members, ranging from full professor to MA candidates, to practitioners outside academia. Filmmaker and curator Daniela Swarovsky screened her most recently completed second film in the Messages from Paradise trilogy (www.zimweb.nl/mfp2/?l=en), on perceptions about life and migration outcomes between Morocco and the Netherlands. Finally, Samuli Schielke served as 'grand discussant' in the final roundtable session, in which all workshop participants were invited to consider future directions for theoretical and methodological work on mobilities.
The event reached about 45 participants in total, including presenters, volunteers, and attendees. In addition to the 25 presenters, representing 18 different institutions in Europe and the US, the workshop was attended by several researchers from institutions in Lisbon and elsewhere in Portugal. The infrastructural participation of the ICS was key for the success of the workshop, while the workshop contributed to boosting the presence of Anthropology in this dedicated research institute for social sciences.
The final programme, with the full list of presenters and abstracts, can be found here: 1drv.ms/1VBiX66.
As a bonus, the recording of Samuli Schielke's discussant summary is available here: 1drv.ms/1j2EMip
Network meeting at EASA2014
During the 2014 EASA conference in Tallinn, we also held a network meeting where we nominated and elected a new convenors group. Jamie Coates stepped down as convenor, as he is moving to Japan for a research fellowship, while Roger Norum stayed on as convenor, alongside Valerio Simoni and Lauren Wagner. View the structure here.
Fielding Challenges, Challenging the Field: The methodologies of mobility
27-28 Sept, 2013, University of Oxford
This past September, the EASA Anthropology and Mobility Network (ANTHROMOB) held the international, cross-disciplinary workshop, Fielding Challenges, Challenging the Field: The methodologies of mobility. In response to the methodological challenges that had been expressed by many of colleagues, the network’s co-convenors Jamie Coates and Roger Norum developed a workshop focusing on how mobility informs and challenges contemporary ethnographic research and writing. The event was hosted by the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford, with EASA funding set aside to cover accommodation and travel costs for EASA members. Cultural Mobilities Research (CuMoRe) in Leuven also provided support with Alice Elliot and Noel Salazar joining the workshop coordination team. Even Berghahn Books showed up, providing some funding and support for (and many books at) the event.
In total, the event saw the participation of 85 delegates from all around the world including leading universities in Europe, the USA, Australia and China, with 32 paper presentations and keynote speeches by Noel Salazar and Hans Lucht. The research interests of attendees also spanned mobility within and between all the continents of the globe (yes, even Antarctica), showing a wide range of interdisciplinary approaches to the question of mobility. Considering the range of nationalities, research topics and disciplines present at the workshop, it was perhaps, as one participant commented, the “most mobile conference on mobility” held in the region to date.
In addition to fostering widespread interest in EASA’s biennial conference in Tallinn, with several possible network-linked panels proposed, the workshop also generated discussion surrounding several joint publications. The network and workshop co-convenors are currently putting in a proposal for a compiled volume/journal special issue of papers from the event.
The ANTHROMOB convenors are extremely grateful for the very generous funding which EASA awarded to the workshop, which allowed for the participation of many students and other early-career scholars who would otherwise not have been able to attend. We hope that the network will continue to inspire cross-disciplinary collaboration and innovative engagement among scholars working on mobility. Suggestions are currently being accepted for possible topics for the next ANTHROMOB workshop/conference, to be held in 2015.