Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology
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MEDIA ANTHROPOLOGY AND DIGITAL STUDIES

At the institute, Prof Dr Udupa has initiated the research and teaching program in Media Anthropology and Digital Studies. This program is steered by the “For Digital Dignity” research initiative. The key focus is on dissecting complex relationship between online media cultures and political participation, and advancing critical inquiry on the political impact of digital media and digitalization. It’s interventions in digital research have centered upon long-term ethnographic investigations, emphasis on historical awareness, collaborative mixed methods (data science and qualitative research), policy engagements and multimodal outreach. The program hosts a range of projects, from ethnographic explorations of online cultures in India and the South Asian diaspora in Europe to global comparative studies of extreme speech, artificial intelligence, and hate speech moderation.

The courses offered under this program include Digital Media Activism, Decoloniality/Postcoloniality, Hate Speech and Extreme Speech, Introduction to Digital Anthropology, and Nationalism, Populism and Media. The program welcomes doctoral applications on these topics.

At the core of our endeavor is the value of digital dignity – to study and advocate for spaces where political expression can expand in an enabling culture of interactions, without fear of intimidation or regressive shaming. Center for Digital Dignity is a virtual network of scholars and activists, with a shared vision to emphasize dignity to foster enabling spaces of political expression. It is an effort to rescue digital cultures of contact from descending into exclusionary discourses based on gender, racist categories, caste, religion and nationality.

The research stream of the program has received funding from the European Research Council (Grant Agreement Number 714285 and 957442), the Henry Luce Foundation, Bayerische Forschungsallianz, Social Science Research Council Network for Peace, Security and the United Nations, and Cambridge-LMU Strategic Partnership. More updates on the program are available here.