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On the Relationship of “Media and Mobility”

Anthropological workshop invites international researchers to Cologne

by Alessa Hübner

International workshop: “Anthropologies of Media and Mobility: Theorizing Movement and Circulations across Entangled Fields”
Date: September 14 to 16, 2017
Venue: University of Cologne, Repräsentationssaal (Klosterstr. 79b, 50931 Köln)

From September 14 to 16, 2017, the international workshop “Anthropologies of Media and Mobility: Theorizing movement and circulations across entangled fields”, co-organized by the a.r.t.e.s. Research Lab, will take place at the University of Cologne. It seeks to theorize the relationship between media and mobility from an anthropological point of view and will further include findings of multidisciplinary and mixed-methodological approaches between social anthropology and other disciplines like gender studies and postcolonial theories.

Media and mobility are closely linked with each other: While mobility has been defined as movement ascribed with meaning, one might in similar fashion define media as meaning ascribed with movement. The workshop aims at reimagining circulations through the lens of media and mobility to understand current socio-cultural and political changes. Movements may on the one hand transgress borders but on the other contribute to their existence. The internationally increasing movements will be debated both as human mobility for example in the form of migration, refuge, tourism and as mobility of goods, information, food, lifestyles, narratives, practices, meanings. Through movements represented in media, new imaginaries of territories and social spaces are circulated – sometimes questioning and sometimes forging ties between people, signs and things. The workshop is characterized by the international composition of participants from Japan, Poland, Austria, Turkey, Hungary, India, Canada, Spain, France, China, Nigeria, Belgium, Norway, Brazil, Portugal, the USA, UK, Netherlands and of course from Germany. The composition of their research topics is equally diverse, ranging from Gay Filipinos on Mobile Phone Apps to the effect of GPS sports watches or media reports on Roma migrations.

The anthropological workshop is initiated by two networks of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), which is a professional association open to all social anthropologists either qualified in, or else working in, Europe. These two networks are the ANTHROMOB (Anthropology and Mobility Network), which facilitates scientific debates among anthropologists working on mobility, and the Media Anthropology Network, that aims to foster international discussion and collaboration around the anthropology of media. These EASA networks organize and fund the workshop in collaboration with the a.r.t.e.s. Research Lab, the DFG Research Training Group “Locating Media” of the University of Siegen and the Collaborative Research Center 1187 “Medien der Kooperation”. As a member of the last three institutions, Martin Zillinger, assistant professor and in charge of the a.r.t.e.s. Junior Research Group “Transformations of Life”, could achieve that the workshop will take place in Cologne. In his own research, Martin Zillinger focuses on both media anthropology and migration, which fits the two topics of the workshop perfectly.

The workshop is in particular an international one – not only because the participants travel from all over the world to Cologne, but because they present their findings of their ethnographic fieldworks from the most different corners of the earth. We are looking forward to spending three inspiring days listening to a number of interesting lectures by skilled early and mid-career scholars and further discussing and comparing innovative case studies as well as theoretical considerations. We are particularly encouraged that the opening keynote will be held by David Morley (Goldsmiths, London) on “Communications and Mobilities – Virtual and Material Geographies”, also that we will hear Heather Horst from the University of Sydney on “Mobilising Media, Mobilising Music: Perspectives from the Pacific” as the closing keynote.

We welcome everyone to listen to the keynotes and take part in the workshop! You are kindly asked to register in advance.