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12910 : Virtual Ethnography: Encounters in Mediation

Description: From everyday social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and WeChat, to more complex real-time immersive social and gaming sites, virtual realms are propagating at a fantastic rate while transforming what it means to live and interact in the physical world. As such virtual world, communities, and spaces increasingly command our attention, time, and money, scholars from various fields have begun to tackle questions concerning the ethics, logics, patterns, and social specificity of the virtual through experimental forms of virtual ethnography. This advanced undergraduate course introduces students to some these recent ethnographies and corresponding theoretical interventions into the nature of collective techno-life within virtual realms. Students will build on this material in order to develop an ethnographic inquiry into a virtual world of their choosing. In so doing, they will work individually and as a class through the processes of pre-field planning, fieldwork, and post-field analysis and writing.

Instructor(s): Thomas Lamarre, Michael Fisch

Offered: Winter 2023

Category: Theory

Cluster(s): Digital Moving Image