Related Courses

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The VizE Lab is playing a vibrant role in advancing Liberal Arts education in Princeton's research university setting. Contemporary academic research, like any number of skilled professions, demands increasingly specialized knowledge, abilities to manipulate and interpret large, complex datasets, inter-disciplinary creativity, and collaborative skills. Courses in Anthropology and other disciplines that use the VizE Lab offer students opportunities to practice this kind of work while learning about ethnographic and cultural analysis. For example, cohorts of students may collaborate on collecting digital data, producing visualizations, doing field-based ethnography, and storytelling with digital media. The Lab also advises students in their independent work for research groups and thesis projects. By embedding such activities within their anthropological work, students learn to engage with the disciplinary knowledges and practices of a Liberal Arts curriculum, while developing the dexterity for a variety professional futures in the 21st century. 

ANT 347
Culture, Media, and Data (formerly Anthropology of Media)
Students in this course learn to see media and data as agents of social inequality and cultural ideologies, and learn how people subvert them. We excavate the assumptions that frame representations of reality and difference, track the global circulation of mass media across cultures, see indigenous filmmakers as cultural activists, and explore the datafication of organic life and analogue culture. We excavate the assumptions that frame representations of reality and difference in documentary film, track the global circulation of mass media, see indigenous filmmakers as cultural activists, and explore the datafication of organic life and analogue culture. From there, we learn to critique them as human constructions and to produce new counter narratives and images. Offered: fall 2020, spring 2022, fall 2023. Instructor: Jeffrey Himpele

ANT 456
Ethnographic Data Visualization (formerly Data Visualization/Cultural Facts)
As the world becomes datafied (measured, classified, digitized, sold, amassed as data), what kinds of facts do data visualizations signify? And how could they be used in anthropological analysis and expression? We seek to apply data vis. to anthropology's mission to make intelligible the complexities of social relationships, forces, and scales in ethnographic settings. We also track facts that resist being datafied or even visualized. In journalism, data viz has become a medium in its own right as it tackles critical issues such as global warming and inequality. Let's pick up the tools of data viz and find out how we can do anthropology with them. Offered: fall 2022, spring 2024.
 Instructor: Jeffrey Himpele

ANT 455
Visible Evidence: Documentary Filmmaking
This course expands the scope of ethnographic methods by using documentary film to create compelling representations of lived experiences and accounts of how people make sense of social complexities. Students learn the basic methods of filmmaking and editing in order to sculpt video and audio into anthropological stories. Offered: fall 2018,  spring 2019, spring 2020, fall 2021. Instructor: Jeffrey Himpele 

ANT 454
Transcultural Cinema
This seminar takes up anthropology’s ambivalent relationship with visuality, specifically the issues raised filmic representation of knowledge. What does culture look like through an anthropological lens? And what is the capacity of film for conveying culture across boundaries? To pursue these two big questions, we screen ethnographic and documentary films that enact a wide range of cinematic possibilities, from a range of realist styles to experimental and impressionistic works. We consider them in light of critical readings that reveal and unpack the premises, physicality and social relationships films can embody. Seminar participants use the tools for editing documentary films to take them apart and understand them from the inside — and to confront first-hand the dilemmas and possibilities of cross-cultural filmmaking.  

Using software tools for video editing, students are deconstructing films we screen and using the original film material to produce either a video essay to present their analyses of the films, or they will re-edit new versions of the original films as a demonstration of concepts and practices discussed in the seminar. Offered: spring 2018, spring 2021. Instructor: Jeffrey Himpele

ANT 309A/STC 310A,
ANT 309B/STC 310B
Forensic Anthropology and Urban Bodies
By uniquely blending the sub-disciplines of social and biological anthropology, this course offers students a hands-on opportunity to identify the complexly intertwined physiological and social factors that shape human variation and well-being in an urban setting. Students will learn the fundamental techniques of analysis that biological anthropologists apply to forensic cases by working with the vast real-world data set of the physiological growth and development of thousands. At the same time, students will research and visualize data sets that index a wide variety of social and environmental factors that shaped life experiences in the region over decades. They work in the VizE Lab with the tools of data visualization to chart their own models of the complex interplay of social, environmental, and nutritional factors in human development and difference. Offered: fall 2017, fall 2019. Instructors: Jeffrey Himpele, Janet Monge

This course has been supported by funding from the 250th Anniversary Fund for Innovation in Undergraduate Education (Office of the Dean of the College), the Council on Science and Technology, and the Digital Humanities Center. 

ANT 403 / AAS 403 / GHP 403
Race and Medicine
Why do certain populations have longer life expectancies? Is it behavior, genes, structural inequalities? And why should the government care? This course unpacks taken-for-granted concepts like race, evidence-based medicine, and even the public health focus on equalizing life expectancies. From questions of racism in the clinic to citizenship and the Affordable Care Act, Race and Medicine takes students on a journey of rethinking what constitutes social justice in health care.

Students will conduct first-hand ethnographic and historical research on a large growth and development dataset of bone growth and socioeconomic records collected for decades in the Philadelphia area. Their research will contribute to a project to visualize the relationships among environmental data, urban development and the social assumptions embedded in the data itself. Offered: spring 2017, spring 2021. Instructor: Carolyn M. Rouse



VizE Lab for Ethnographic Data Visualization
320 Aaron Burr Hall

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