Syllabus for Design Anthropology of Borders

Designantropologi av gränser

Syllabus

  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 5KA424
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Cultural Anthropology A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2017-09-27
  • Established by: The Department Board
  • Revised: 2018-01-31
  • Revised by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: week 27, 2018
  • Entry requirements: A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. The main field of study must be within the humanities, social sciences, art or design.
  • Responsible department: Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to provide an understanding of the anthropology of objects, sites and spaces as borders and bordering processes through implying different ethnographic as well as design concepts and methods.

On successful completion of the course the student is expected to:
 

  • Account for and develop an understanding of anthropology of materiality, design anthropology and anthropology of borders based on recent literature;
  • Account for and critically discuss different approaches to borders in recent literature on border studies and more specifically materiality of borders;
  • Have an understanding of design methods used in ethnographic practices, ethnographic methods used in design processes as well as other relevant mixed-methods;
  • Propose and practice a design project individually or in group that highlights, discusses, challenges or examines borders in one or more of the three levels of geopolitical, urban or technological settings;
  • Critically evaluate one’s own project and account for the limitation and possibilities of design anthropology as an emerging field of study.

Content

While borders of different kinds seem to be everywhere, yet some borders are more visible than others due to their design; some perform heavier than others due to their distinctive material qualities; some are more lethal than others because of the way they perform; some borders operate not only to repress but to produce different sorts of subject, wealth and capital and they do so due to their specific design and materiality.

In recent years, an emerging movement in social sciences and humanities, including anthropology, is taking place which calls for a greater attention towards objects, materials, infrastructures and their performative, spatial and temporal qualities that recognises and consequently generates a different form of politics. Similarly, scholars of migration and border studies have payed attention to the performativity and materiality of borders for instance through discussing technologically and materially designed apparatuses regulating mobility and migration.
 
Following such emergence, this experimental course by weaving two modes of inquiry aims to provide a space for thinking and discussing as well as intervening in how the materiality and performativity of borders operate and what they produce through their designs in different sites and moments. Building on recent scholarship in anthropology of borders and design anthropology, this course aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice through multi-modal learning. 

In this course, on the one hand, students will read the texts in which scholars and practitioners examine the materiality and performativity of borders in contemporary time. On the other hand, the course by engaging design methods of inquiry such as mapping, visualisation, prototyping, probing, etc. will include practice and project based explorations of borders in different contexts introduced to the class through lectures and seminars. Possible contexts for project could include but not limited to borders in urban spaces operating through logistics and infrastructures, gentrification processes, integration discourses and practices; geopolitical and historical borders operating through off shore visa policies, European border regime, colonial borders and demarcations, development and humanitarian work as well as borders in and by technological configurations such as algorithms, biometrics, surveillance, big data, drones, social media, etc.

Instruction

Teaching activities include series of lectures, seminars, tutoring and workshops. Class attendance is obligatory. The language of instruction is English. For each seminar students are required to do an exercise. 

Assessment

Besides active participation in the course and short exercises, the students are expected to conduct and present a specific project that addresses encounters, negotiations and challenges around a border site of their choice. For the project, they can work individually or in a group of two if they wish. Second, they are expected to deliver an essay of max. 3000 words reflecting critically on the process of their work by analysing and referring to the course literature and their ethnographic practice. 
Students will be assessed for their active participation in class, their oral presentations of the project and for the quality of their final paper. 

Syllabus Revisions

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 27, 2018

Design Anthropology and Materiality

Design Anthropology

Articles will be added to the literature list

  • Gunn, Wendy; Otto, Ton; Smith, Rachel Charlotte Design anthropology : theory and practice

    London: Bloomsbury, 2013

    Selected chapters -150 p.

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

Anthropology of Material Culture

Articles will be added to the literature list

  • Appadurai, Arjun The future as cultural fact : essays on the global condition

    London: Verso Books, 2013

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

Borders

Ethnography of Borders

Articles will be added to the literature list

  • Khosravi, Shahram 'Illegal' traveller : an auto-ethnography of borders

    Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

  • Dalakoglou, Dimitris The road : an ethnography of (im)mobility, space, and cross-border infrastructures in the Balkans

    Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

Materiality of Borders

Articles will be added to the literature list

  • Netz, Reviel Barbed wire : an ecology of modernity

    Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2004

    Find in the library

    Mandatory

Technological Borders

Articles will be added to the literature list

Urban Borders

Articles will be added to the literature list

Geopolitical Borders

Articles will be added to the literature list

  • Reeves, Madeleine Border Work: Spatial Lives of the State in Rural Central Asia

    Cornell University Press, 2014

    Find in the library

    Mandatory