Universität Wien
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240524 SE Visual and digital approaches in the field of (forced) migration (P4) (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. 11:30 - 13:00 Seminarraum D, NIG 4. Stock
  • Tuesday 20.10. 11:30 - 13:00 Seminarraum D, NIG 4. Stock
  • Tuesday 03.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
  • Tuesday 10.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
  • Tuesday 17.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
  • Tuesday 24.11. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
  • Tuesday 01.12. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
  • Tuesday 15.12. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
  • Tuesday 12.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
  • Tuesday 19.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital
  • Tuesday 26.01. 11:30 - 13:00 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

The seminar focuses on new forms of digital and visual communication and representation in the context of migration and refugee experience.

In a first step, we explore how new media have affected the ways migrants can stay connected with their families and others in their home countries (see e.g. Baldassar et al. 2016; Collin 2012; Miller and Sinanan 2014). Relationships are maintained and intimacies are created through frequent digital and visual interactions, be it via WhatsApp, Skype, streaming or through social media (see Madianou 2017; Nedelcu and Wyss 2016). Thereby new communication media and particularly the visual communications they offer, support people to construct shared social fields across geographical distances when physical co-presence is not feasible.

In a second step, we explore how the Internet and new media have affected social images and imaginations of migrants/refugees, often distorting and stereotyping ones. We will analyze such images and their distribution but also explore how visual anthropological approaches and participatory art interventions may challenge such representations by seeking for collaborative forms of representations (Lenette 2019; Köhn 2016). These and related topics will be discussed in the seminar by critical reading and discussing key texts in visual and digital anthropology, by analyzing images and by engaging in a discussion of the politics of in/visibility (Arendt 1973) and practices of inclusion/exclusion more generally (including a critical analysis of practices of surveillance, power and control).

Students of this seminar will gain a solid understanding of core theories in visual and digital anthropology, two research fields connected in manifold ways. During group and individual work, we will discuss theories in the specific context of (forced) migration.

Assessment and permitted materials

25% of the final grade: active participation/discussion in class/reading notes
30% of the final grade: presentation and discussion of a chosen topic
45% of the final grade: seminar paper

Please be aware that all of the above-listed assignments are required in order to receive a positive evaluation.

Grading scale:
91 - 100 points = 1 (sehr gut)
81 - 90 points = 2 (gut)
71 - 80 points = 3 (befriedigend)
61 - 70 points = 4 (genügend)
0 - 60 points = 5 (nicht genügend)

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

20% of the final grade: active participation/discussion in class/reading notes
20% of the final grade: presentation and discussion of allocated texts
60% of the final grade: seminar paper

Please be aware that all of the above-listed assignments are required in order to receive a positive evaluation.

Examination topics

Reading list

The complete reading list (compulsory and further reading) will be provided in the first session and on Moodle.

Selected Reading
Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1973 [1951].
Baldassar, Loretta, Mihaela Nedelcu, Laura Merla and Raelene Wilding. “ICT-based Co-presence in Transnational Families and Communities: Challenging the Premise of Face-to-face Proximity in Sustaining Relationships”. Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs 16, no. 2 (2016): 133–144.
Banks, Marcus. Visual Methods in Social Research. London: Sage, 2001.
Collin, Simon. “ICTs and Migration: The Mapping of an Emerging Area of Research”. The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society no. 2 (2012): 65–78.
Darcey, Alexandra. “Digital storytelling as transformative practice: Critical analysis and creative expression in the representation of migration in Ireland.” The Journal of Media Practices, 9:2 (2008): 101-112.
Köhn, Steffen. Visual Anthropology in the Age of Migration. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.
Leurs, Koen. “Communication rights from the margins: politicising young refugees’ smartphone pocket archives.” The International Communication Gazette. Vol. 79, No 6-7, (2017): 674–698.
Leurs, Koen and Kevin Smets. “Five Questions for Digital Migration Studies: Learning From Digital Connectivity and Forced Migration In(to) Europe”. Social Media + Society (2018): 1–16.
Lupton, Deborah. Digital Sociology. London and New York: Routledge, 2015.
Madianou, Mirca and Daniel Miller. “Polymedia: Towards a new theory of digital media in interpersonal communication”. International Journal of Cultural Studies. 16, No 2, (2013): 169–187.
Madianou, Mirca and Malika Wyss. “‘Doing Family’ at a Distance: Transnational Family Practices in Polymedia Environments”. In The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography, edited by Larissa Hjorth et al., 102–111. New York: Routledge, 2017.
Marres, Noortje. Digital Sociology: The Reinvention of Social Research. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2017.
Miller, Daniel and Jolynna Sinanan. Webcam. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014.
Nedelcu, Mihaela and Malika Wyss. “‘Doing Family’ through ICT-mediated Ordinary Co-presence: Transnational Communication Practices of Romanian Migrants in Switzerland”. Global Networks 2 (2016): 202–218.
Underberg, Natalie and Elayne Zorn. Digital ethnography: Anthropology, narrative and new media. Austin, Tex: University of Texas Press, 2013.
Pink, Sarah. The Future of Visual Anthropology: Engaging the senses. London, New York: Routledge, 2006.
Risam, Roopika. “Now you see them: Self-representation and the refugee selfie.” In Popular Communication. The International Journal of Media and Culture. 16:1 (2018): 58-71.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Fr 12.05.2023 00:21