Universität Wien FIND

240029 VS The anthropology of space: ethnographic and participatory approaches (3.3.3) (2020W)

Continuous assessment of course work

Participation at first session is obligatory!

The lecturer can invite students to a grade-relevant discussion about partial achievements. Partial achievements that are obtained by fraud or plagiarized result in the non-evaluation of the course (entry 'X' in certificate). The plagiarism software 'Turnitin' will be used for courses with continuous assessment.


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 20 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Update 11.12.2020: Due to the current Covid-19 Situation the course will change to digital till the end of the semester.

Update 3.11.2020: Due to the current Covid-19 Situation the course will change to digital till the end of the year.

Tuesday 06.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 13.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 20.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 27.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 03.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 10.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 17.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 24.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 01.12. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 15.12. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 12.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 19.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 26.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

Aims, contents and method of the course
This course offers an introduction to the anthropology of place, space and landscape. Students read into anthropological monographs, ethnographic methods, and anthropological theory of spatial forms, identities, and experiences. In classroom discussions and papers, they consider how these anthropological approaches of space can inform broader public and political discussions about urgent spatial questions of forest destruction, sustainable mobility, urban (re)development, and digital city-making. Alongside this theoretical track, the course includes a research component. Students will learn about creative and participatory research approaches through which communities can be involved in urban development, with a focus on new ideas about digital and mobile city-making. Students will consider the aims, challenges and dilemmas of these ideas and put theory into practice in a research project on mobile city-making in Vienna. This enables them to gain experience with, and reflect on, a role as anthropologists in interdisciplinary and public debates about space and spatial development.

After completing this course,
-Students have gained theoretical knowledge about the anthropology of place, space, landscapes, and environment;
-Students have gained insights into recent ideas and practices of participation in urban development, especially mobile and digital city-making;
-Students have gained experience with creative and participatory methods and can reflect on the merits and challenges of such methods in urban development projects.

The following topics will be discussed:
- overview of theories of place, space, and environment in anthropology
- translocal space, multi-sitedness, scale
- digital place-making: smart cities versus hackable cities
- sensory, embodied, and affective space
- creative and participatory research in urban development

Assessment and permitted materials

There will be two individual mid-term papers for this class, each on the basis of a thorough reading of an entire ethnographic monograph (each worth 35%, total 70% of the final grade). In the final research assignment, students apply what they have learnt in a small research project, resulting in a collaborative final assignment in groups of 2 or 3 students (30% of the final grade).

In order to receive a passing grade, weekly participation is compulsory (to evaluated as either "sufficient" or "not sufficient" at the end of the course). "Sufficient" participation includes a maximum of 2 missed classes, and evidence of active engagement with the study materials through participation in discussions and/or the completion of occasional assignments during or in advance of the classes.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

A = 1 (Very Good): 87 - 100%
B = 2 (Good): 75 - 86,99%
C = 3 (Satisfactory): 63 - 74,99%
D = 4 (Enough): 50 - 62,99%
F = 5 (Not Enough): 00 - 49,99%

Examination topics

Readings and multimedia examples of research projects, to be studied weekly in advance of the class. Links will be made available on Moodle.

Reading list

Selection of literature
The short list below is included to give an indication. Students will read a selection of ethnographic monographs and will additionally study multimedia resources with examples of creative and participatory research projects into spatial issues. A full list of readings and audio-visual resources will be announced during the first class.
- Low, Setha. 2017. Spatializing Culture: The Ethnography of Space and Place. London: Routledge.
- Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing. 2015. The Mushroom at the End of the World:On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton: Princeton University Press (available as audiobook on Audible, narrated by Susan Ericksen).
- Basso, Keith. 1996. Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language among the Western Apache. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press (accessible as audiobook on Audible, narrated by Steven Jay Cohen).

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Fr 11.12.2020 11:48