Universität Wien FIND

240529 UE Visual ethnographies of science Investigating knowledge production through media practice (P5) (2021W)

Continuous assessment of course work

This is a 10 ECTS course, consisting of:
*SE 233043 (5 ECTS, STS department)
*UE 240529 (5 ECTS, Anthropology department).

The two courses can only be taken together, not seperately. Therefore, please register for the class 233043, and you will then automatically be registered for 240529!

Participation at first session is obligatory!

The obligatory corresponding seminar (233043, S. Davis) is creditable for P4, APA (MA KSA) and Visual Culture, Popular Culture (MA Creole)

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. 24 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Update 22.11.2021: The course will stay on-site during lockdown.
If possible, the course is to be conducted in presence. Due to the respective applicable distance regulations and other measures, adjustments may be made.

Tuesday 05.10. 09:30 - 10:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Tuesday 12.10. 09:30 - 12:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Tuesday 19.10. 09:30 - 12:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Tuesday 02.11. 09:30 - 12:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Tuesday 09.11. 09:30 - 12:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Tuesday 16.11. 09:30 - 12:30 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 23.11. 09:30 - 12:30 Hörsaal A, NIG 4.Stock
Tuesday 30.11. 09:30 - 12:30 Hörsaal A, NIG 4.Stock
Tuesday 07.12. 09:30 - 12:30 Hörsaal A, NIG 4.Stock
Tuesday 14.12. 09:30 - 12:30 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 11.01. 09:30 - 12:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Tuesday 18.01. 09:30 - 12:30 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 25.01. 09:30 - 12:30 Hörsaal A, NIG 4.Stock


Aims, contents and method of the course

The course focuses on the use of visual ethnographic practices in the context of science. Students will be introduced to media practices that have been used in anthropological and ethnographic research, focusing on film, sound recording, and montage. Simultaneously, they will learn to think about the diverse spaces and practices through which scientific knowledge is produced, negotiated, and contested, from the laboratory to the city, and the ways in which scientific knowledge has been represented. Classes will involve workshops in which students participate in hands-on media work, and seminars in which students discuss ethnographic films and key texts concerning the representations of science, and present and analyse their own work in progress. Students conduct a fieldwork assignment where they implement what they have learnt and interrogate examples of scientific practice. This assignment will result in short films, which will be designed, filmed, and edited in groups of three students.General information:Classes are set up to create a workspace in a creative and collaborative atmosphere. In the first block, students learn how science and technology studies (STS) scholars think about knowledge practices and study examples of anthropological "process films" that have been made to support the study of practices. In the workshops of the second block, students obtain hands-on experience with skills required to create process films themselves (camera, sound recording, montage, and co-creation). Finally, students conduct a fieldwork assignment to implement what they have learnt. In groups of three, they create a process film about a knowledge practice that is relevant to STS. In student-oriented feedback seminars, students present their initial footage in the classroom and engage in peer-to-peer discussion about their experiences and challenges, while the lecturers links student experiences back to core discussions in the field of STS and visual anthropology.Vienna Visual Anthropology Lab:During the workshops, students work with equipment that is available in the equipment library of the Vienna Visual Anthropology Lab: camera sets, shoulder rigs, and specialised sound recording devices. For the fieldwork assignment, students are encouraged to use the Lab’s equipment to gain experience with different techniques and materials besides the ones they are already familiar with. Materials can be borrowed free of charge, using an online reservation system. For technical support with the film projects, the course tutor Viktoria Paar is available during the opening hours in the Lab (room A0421 of the Anthropology Department): *Tuesdays 10-14 hrs*Wednesdays 12-15 hrs*Thursdays 11-14COVID-19:The course is to be taught face-to-face (if possible). For the filmmaking assignment, students are expected to be in Vienna so that they can visit the selected research location several times with their research group. Occasional online participation in classes is possible for participants* who cannot be present in connection with COVID-19 (e.g. in case of symptoms or after a positive test). Adjustments may be made due to applicable regulations and policies.

Assessment and permitted materials

To pass the seminar, students are expected to complete the following tasks:
• Actively participate in class activities, workshops, and discussions of films and literature (10%);
• As part of a group, carry out a fieldwork assignment involving camera-based research investigating scientific practice at a site of their choosing. This results in a mid-term assignment (30%) and a final film presentation (30%);
• Write an individual reflection paper concerning their fieldwork experiences, implementing key ideas from the course literature, films, and classes (30%).

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

To successfully complete this 10 ECTS course (5 ECTS for STS, 5 ECTS for Anthropology), a weighted average of at least 4,5 is required. Failure to meet the attendance regulations, to deliver course assignments on time or to adhere to standards of academic work may also be considered in the course assessment.

Presence and participation is compulsory. Absences of up to eight hours in total may be compensated by either a deduction of grading points or/and extra work agreed with the lecturers. Whether compensation is possible is decided by the lecturer.

All requirements mentioned in the grading scheme and the attendance regulations must be met. If a required task is not fulfilled, e.g. a required assignment is not handed in or if the student does not meet the attendance requirements, this will be considered as a discontinuation of the course.

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

By the end of the course, students will:
• understand how different media practices (film/photography, sound recording, and montage) have been used in ethnographic research;
• understand key ideas concerning public and scholarly representations of scientific knowledge production;
• have gained experience with conducting research into scientific knowledge production through a small-scale media project, and feel equipped to implement such media practices in future research.

Reading list

A full list of readings and films will be distributed during the first session. Examples include:
-Andy Lawrence (2020). "Filmmaking for Fieldwork: A Practical Handbook." Manchester: Manchester University Press.
-Gubrium, Aline, Krista Harper, and Marty Otanez (2015). "Participatory Visual and Digital Research in Action." London: Routledge.
-John Marshall (1972). "The Wasp Nest". Documentary Educational Resources, and other process films from the field of Visual Anthropology.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Tu 18.01.2022 16:28