Institut für Ethnologie
Phone: +49 (0) 89 / 2180 - 9614
Fax: +49 (0) 89 / 2180 - 9602
Areas of research and interest
Digital politics, politics of artificial intelligence, global digital cultures, online extreme speech and hate speech, news and journalism, urban politics, and media policy.
Sahana Udupa is Professor of Media Anthropology at LMU Munich with research and teaching interests in digital politics, journalism and urban cultures. In 2016, Udupa received the European Research Council Starting Grant award for her project on digital media politics. This project, with a core team of postdoctoral researchers at LMU and a wider, international network of scholars, explores the influence of Internet enabled media on political cultures of participation, in particular the interlocking of digital capitalist logics with the participatory condition underpinning spatially diffuse political fields. More about the project: www.fordigitaldignity.com. In 2020, she received the European Research Council Proof of Concept award for developing collaborative Artificial Intelligence model to tackle online extreme speech. In the same year, she received the Henry Luce Foundation international grant for a multimedia project on digital dignity. She serves on the advisory board of MediaWell, an initiative by the Social Science Research Council Network for Peace, Security and the United Nations, to review research on digital political communication.
Previously, she was Research Fellow and currently a Senior Research Partner at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany. Prior to joining LMU, she was Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at the School of Public Policy, Central European University.
Across ongoing research projects, Udupa’s work has traced the transforming media and urban landscapes of late capitalism. Conceptually, her work raises the question of "mediation" as a media technological, performative, and experiential space to articulate political practice. Keen to create conversational spaces between research and communities, her projects have sought to translate research findings into possibilities in the “real world”, inviting policy makers, critical scholars and students to join hands in a collaborative effort to address the “dark side” of digital communication. She is eager to work with students committed to critical research on digitalization and digital media, especially to devise ways to creatively think through issues of marginalization and digital harms as well as the potentiality of digital participations.
Her first book, Making News in Global India: Media, Publics, Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2015) is a critical reading of news cultures and urban transformation. It shows how the expanding news media played a critical role in the contested aspiration of building a 'global city' in India, when commercial journalism became both an object and agent of global urbanization. More about the book in the New Books Network podcast available here.
The second book (in preparation) explores how political cultures of Internet enabled social media have spawned contested digital practices around archiving, vitriol and fun that have reconfigured the claims to national belonging.
The third book, “Digital Hate: The Global Conjuncture of Online Extreme Speech” (co-edited with Iginio Gagliardone and Peter Hervik) is forthcoming. In 2019, she published two special issues: “Extreme speech and global digital cultures” in International Journal of Communication (with Matti Pohjonen); and “Digital politics in Millennial India” in Television & New Media (with Shriram Venkatraman and Aasim Khan).
With Stephen McDowell, she has coedited a volume on South Asian media politics for Routledge (London). Her work has been published in leading journals including American Ethnologist, New Media and Society, International Journal of Communication, Media, Culture and Society, Communication, Culture and Critique, Economic and Political Weekly, and Critique of Anthropology. She also contributes to popular media and policy debates, and has co-organized media policy consultation workshops in New Delhi involving media practitioners, policy makers, Internet regulation experts and civil society groups.
Sahana Udupa is Research Affiliate at the Center for Global Communication Studies, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, and Center for South Asian Media and Cultural Studies at the Florida State University. She is on the Advisory Board for the Center for Media and Religion at the New York University. She is the co-editor for the book series, “Anthropology of Media”, published by Berghahn (New York). She serves on the editorial boards of American Ethnologist; Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism; Communication, Culture & Critique; Television & New Media; and Media Theory Journal. She is the co-convener for the Media Anthropology Network at the European Association of Social Anthropologists.
India, UK, South Asian diaspora in Europe, global digital media.
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