Anthropology roundup: Report on EASA Media Anthropology Network activities at the 14th EASA Biennial Conference, Milan, 20-23 July 2016

A short report by Philipp Budka
1) EASA Media Anthropology Network Meeting (21 July 2016)

Philipp Budka introduced the network, its history and its activities to a group of about 15 people, some new and some regular participants to the network’s meetings at EASA conferences.

The network, which was established in 2004, has particularly become known for its e-seminars (57 e-seminars on different working papers, projects and texts; the most recent e-seminar was a joint project with AAA’s Digital Anthropology Group and the Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology & Computing, and its interdisciplinary mailing list with more than 1500 subscribers (

In addition, Budka also referred to the network’s offline activities, such as the workshop “Theorising Media and Conflict” (Vienna, October 2015). Many of these workshops resulted in publication projects (e.g. Bräuchler & Postill 2010).
There have been first talks with representatives of the EASA Anthropology and Mobility Network (ANTHROMOB) in Milan to organise a joint workshop in the future.

The website of the network (, which currently runs in reduced mode due to technical issues and the need for revision and re-organisation of structure and content, contains (1) e-seminar related documents under a Creative Commons Licence and free to use, (2) information about the mailing list and (3) a list of network participants.

Future steps for the Media Anthropology Network will first be discussed among members of the network’s coordination team to be then debated among all interested network members via the mailing list.

Bräuchler, B., Postill, J. (eds). 2010. Theorising media and practice. Oxford: Berghahn.

2) EASA Media Anthropology Network Panel (23 July 2016)

The EASA Media Anthropology Network’s panel “Media anthropology’s legacies and concerns” aimed for putting fundamental concerns of media anthropology back into the centre of attention. Eight papers were presented by nine authors. Each presentation was followed by a brief discussion.

The panel’s first paper by Alberto Micali & Nicolò Pasqualini introduced the concept of “anthropomediality“ by putting materiality and ecology into the centre of a media (anthropology) research focus.
John McManus then proposed that a “ludic turn” in media anthropology – that is re-focusing on play and playfulness in relation to media – could contribute decisively to the sub-field’s future development.
In the third paper, Philipp Budka reflected on selected issues of media anthropology’s concerns to identify and briefly discuss ethnography and context as two key features of the sub-field.
Since Erkan Saka was not able to attend the conference due to Turkey’s travel restrictions, he gave a short presentation via Skype discussing the intersection of anthropology’s disciplinary crisis and the emergence of internet studies.
The panel’s fifth paper by Balazs Boross discussed aspects of television culture by investigating the “myth of participation” in TV shows and the making of media rituals.
Heloisa Buarque de Almeida discussed in her paper the changing politics of meaning of gender violence in relation to Brazilian TV shows.
In the seventh paper, Richard MacDonald examined through an ethnographic case study of outdoor cinemas in Thailand people’s relations to screens as well as the sites and practices of this screenculture.
The panel’s last paper was given by Jonathan Larcher and discussed the politics of digital visual culture and aspects of the culturally diverse uses and forms of appropriation of visual material in Romania.


Vale Elizabeth Colson

When Elizabeth Colson passed last month at the age of 99, anthropology lost one of its preeminent figures. Colson was a unique figure in many ways: She straddled the English and American anthropological traditions, rose to prominent positions of authority at a time when anthropology was still largely a men’s club, and exhibited a devotion to her research that few can match: According the Facebook post I was able to find confirming her death (thanks Hylton), Colson died and was buried in Africa.

AAA Intern Update: National Museum of African Art

This post was submitted by one of AAA’s 2016 summer interns, Chrislyn Laurore, an anthropology student at Mount Holyoke College. 

Scientists solve one of anthropology’s most famous hoaxes
ZME Science
In 1912, Museum palaeontologist Arthur Smith Woodward and the amateur antiquarian Charles Dawson made a stunning announcement: they claimed they discovered a missing link in human evolution, a humanlike skull with an apelike mandible. The thing …
Study reveals culprit behind Piltdown Man, one of science’s most famous hoaxesScience Magazine

New Piltdown hoax analysis points to work of ‘lone forger’Phys.Org

Digital Anthropology and Sociocultural Trends

By definition, anthropology is the study of human behavior. Over the past eight years we’ve had an influx of technological advances that have blown up the trajectory of Moore’s Law. We are amidst a storm of change—sometimes it’s hard to even notice .


Scan Arm supports forensic anthropology applications.
ThomasNet News (press release) (blog)
Users can piece together forensic evidence into digital record for purpose of victim identification, and ultimately in solving and prosecuting crimes. For forensic anthropology applications, users can perform facial reconstruction and analysis using .


Rio’s Olympic Festival in the Streets

In the 1980s, anthropologist John J. MacAloon argued that the real power of the Olympic Games lies in the unscripted, celebratory street festivals that erupt in public spaces. Inside the Olympic venues, intense security and surveillance control the crowds. The sports themselves are highly regulated by rules of play and rigid ceremonies that mark their start and conclusion. But outside, the celebration is of a wilder, freer kind.

Teaching Decolonizing Methodologies

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the Decolonizing Anthropology series.

By Paige West

For about a decade I have been teaching a graduate seminar in anthropology at Columbia University called “Decolonizing Methodology” which takes Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s groundbreaking book Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples as its starting point and also draws on other key texts focused on research methodologies specifically (Denzin et. al. 2008; Kovach 2010). In the course we tend to start with Smith’s work and then use her careful analysis to guide us in taking apart the various traditional methodologies that anthropologists tend to rely on in their research and the various theoretical frames that are of-the-moment within the field. This means that the course moves back and forth between “decolonizing methodology” and “decolonizing theory”.

Authors writing about the Anthropocene and the Chernobyl disaster alike tend to slip into millennial scales and metaphysics. Historian Kate Brown suggests getting down to the particulars: the dates, facts and fate of people most directly confronted with the new radioactive reality. [Estonian version added]

Fractal Kinship: Europe 2016

Political conflict can create deep turmoil within families. Marina lost her only son to fighting in eastern Ukraine. He died while fighting in a Ukrainian airborne division that was attempting to regain territory lost to separatists. The magnitude of this loss becomes more palpable if we consider Marina’s family as a whole: her mother had welcomed the separatists and supported them in their fight. Her sister was politically active and took a leadership position in one of the breakaway republics. So as Marina sees it, her mother and sister helped facilitate the death of her only son.

How anthropology can benefit customer service in the pension industry – World Finance
World Finance
John Glottrup of Danica Pension walks World Finance through its ingenious method of using anthropology and ethnography to provide tailor-made financial products. By focusing on the events that can transform consumers’ lives, he explains, pension

Immigration and Capital

Immigration, rightly or wrongly, has been marched to the frontline of current political struggles in Europe and North America. Whether exaggerated or accurate, the role of immigration is situated as a central factor in the Brexit referendum in the UK, and the rise of the “America First” Trump movement in the US. It seems impossible that one can have a calm discussion about immigration today, without all sorts of agendas, assumptions, insinuations and recriminations coming into play. Staking a claim in immigration debates are a wide range of actors and interests, with everything from national identity and national security to multiculturalism, human rights, and cosmopolitan globalism. However, what is relatively neglected in the public debates is discussion of the political economy of immigration, and especially a critique of the role of immigration in sustaining capitalism.

Here comes the ninth (9th) set of notes under the theme of media and change in preparation for the volume Postill, J., E. Ardevol and S. Tenhunen (eds.) forthcoming, Digital Media and Cultural Change. The notes are taken from a wealth of media anthropological research into this question that has remained to this date largely hidden from mainstream media, communication and internet studies. This research deserves, in my view, to be read more widely across this interdisciplinary area of scholarship.

Your Olympic Team May Be an Illusion

While many people get caught up in the nationalistic pageantry of the opening ceremony, the reality of the international sports world today is one of increasingly fluid citizenship among athletes. Markus Schreiber/Associated Press

Writing About Violence (Part II)

After nearly three years of eating almost nothing but the watery beans and undercooked rice I was served while conducting research in Brazilian prisons, I couldn’t wait to hit the restaurants of New York City when I returned from the field. I was surprised to find that even the spiciest chana masala tasted bland. I was numb. Kind neighbors had to remind me to put on a coat when I left my apartment to walk to the library, even though the sidewalks were covered with ankle-deep snow. My nose didn’t even twitch when I was forced to wait for a train on a piss drenched subway platform.

Self-Driving cars require anthropology & choices says former NASA researcher
AUTO Connected Car News
nissan_pro_pilot_Maarten_Sierhuis_01 The former NASA researcher, Maarten Sierhuis now works on autonomous cars at Nissan Research Center (NRC) in California’s Silicon Valley. Nissan is working on building cars and trucks in the coming years that will …

Anthropology: Abandon All Truth Ye Who Enter
Campus Watch
In the decades after WWII, anthropologists carried out ethnographic field research in the Middle East inspired by a scientific spirit to discover the cultures of the region and their dynamics. Among those who produced sound, grounded research were ..

The Birth of Indonesia’s Cyber Village

In Yogyakarta, one of Indonesia’s culturally rich cities, lies Kampoeng Cyber, or “Cyber Village”—a community that caught the attention of Mark Zuckerberg (right), the co-founder of Facebook, for how it reinvented itself by harnessing the power of the internet. Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook
Since the 1920s, scientists have debated whether the first Americans arrived from Asia—or somewhere else—some 11,000 years ago, or millennia before. Artifacts such as this Clovis spear point have provided some clues, but new multidisciplinary research is filling in the picture. Eric Albrecht, The Columbus Dispatch/Associated Press

Book Review: Cold War Anthropology: The CIA, The Pentagon and the Growth of Dual Use Anthropology by David H …
USAPP American Politics and Policy (blog)
In Cold War Anthropology: The CIA, The Pentagon and the Growth of Dual Use Anthropology, David H. Price offers a historical account of how the CIA, The Pentagon and the broader US military industrial complex have had a profound influence on the

Anthropology professor put on emergency suspension
KOAT Albuquerque
The University of New Mexico received new information that led to an emergency suspension of assistant professor in the department of anthropology, Cristobal Valencia. He is accused of sexual harassment and is suspended from all academics duties and …
UNM professor suspended again after complaints | Albuquerque …Albuquerque Journal
U New Mexico Issues New Suspension to Professor Accused of HarassmentInside Higher Ed
UNM suspends prof previously accused of sexual harassmentKFDA
KRQE News 13
all 10 news articles »


This post comes from one of AAA’s 2016 summer interns, Kory Cooper, an anthropology student at Missouri State University. 

I can’t imagine a better place to work than the NHHC’s Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB). Stationed out of the Washington Navy Yard, the amazing people at the UAB work to protect and preserve sunken military craft – from airplanes to warships. The people at the UAB taught me more about underwater archaeology than I could have hoped for. By the end of my first week we were in the field running a hydro-probe into the sediment in search of a lost Revolutionary War flotilla.

Anthropology outside Anthropology, Part 1

“I’m an anthropologist by training and I work as a medical interpreter.” When I tell this to people from anthropology backgrounds, I often receive sympathetic groans from them, as if I fell out of anthropology heaven, wasting my graduate training. It certainly felt that way when I left academic anthropology. However, my medical interpreter job proved me wrong.

This entry is part 13 of 13 in the Decolonizing Anthropology series.

By Nokuthula Hlabangane

“Modernity will never again, up to the present, ask existentially or philosophically for the right to dominate the periphery. Rather, the right to domination will be imposed as the nature of things and will underpin all modern philosophy.” (emphasis in original; Dussel, 2014: 32-33)

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