ANT 208 - Why We Post: The Anthropology Of Social Media

This is an introduction to cultural anthropology using the specific question of why we post on social media to illustrate the research approaches and analytical practices of this discipline. It is designed from the ground up as an online course. To say that social media is a global technology is an understatement. However, to say that everyone in all the places on the globe use social the same way is a research question. The answer is different depending on what community we are visiting and who in the community we are talking to. The reasons why we might post here in Chicago are not universal. In this course, we will visit five different communities: an impoverished former mining town in Northern Chile, an IT complex in Southern India, a rural village in Central China, an industrial complex in Southern China, and a politically sensitive town in South East Turkey. We will meet the people who live there through text and video. We will survey the social media landscape. We will look at the images and selfies they post and the games they play. They will explain their social lives to us in their own (translated) words. We will hear about their economic, social, and political concerns. Finally, we will draw some tentative conclusions about the realities and the illusions of social media. Class Notes: This course is taught On-Line.
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