Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Volume 4, Issue 1
fall 2013
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Craig Canfield
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

Digital Anthropologies
WGSS 486 /ANTH 486/ WGSS 686/ ANTH 686

by Xindi Qin, MA '14 East Asian Studies

Offered for the first time this year by Professor Karen Nakamura, Digital Anthropologies (WGSS 486 /ANTH 686/ANTH 486/WGSS 686) familiarizes students with fundamental concepts and methods about doing research on the “Digital World”: internet, games, online media, etc. Beginning with an overview of the development of digital products that have led to a transformation in the way people live, produce, consume and are connected to each other– we focus on digital and virtual communities approaching the subject from diverse disciplinary perspectives including anthropology and ethnography. This course helps students explore the field by presenting varied layers of virtual communities, and also by introducing the methods and tools with which to examine and conduct research. 

Although this course is taught at a rather high level, Professor Nakamura leads the in-class discussions in a manner that makes all students—with or without former exposure to anthropology or ethnography—feel comfortable discussing the issues and relating them to their personal experiences. Professor Nakamura then deepens and broadens the topic with her insightful comments and by providing the necessary background information, previous studies on similar issues, underlying logic, alternative explanations and theories.
The course provides tools for research in digital and virtual communities and a forum for students with different cultural and disciplinary backgrounds—all under the guidance of a witty critic with encyclopedic knowledge.

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