Summer Semester 2021

MA Science and Technology Studies

Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology
Goethe University Frankfurt


Tim Schütz, (
PhD Researcher, Anthropology
University of California, Irvine


Thursdays, 10–12pm (Berlin, GMT+1) on Zoom.


Write me an email that you would like to sign up for the course. Include your full name and student ID number.


The Anthropocene is planetary but also local, manifesting in different ways in different settings. The Anthropocene is also complex and data intensive: it can't be observed and dealt with without many kinds of data collection, sharing, analysis and visualization.

In this course, we will study the data and knowledge infrastructures needed to respond to the Anthropocene, including environmental right-to-know databases, community archives, museums and other cultural institutions.

We will focus on different anthropocenic issues, such as chemical manufacturing, radiation governance, routine air pollution, COVID-19 and more.


The course will rotate around three analytic frameworks, drawing out the dynamics of 1) quotidian anthropocenes 2) civic data capacity and 3) open archives in different settings.

You will also use a set of case study questions – focused on environmental injustice – to rapidly characterize and identify possible actions for addressing problems in each site.


You will also gain hands-on experience working with civic data infrastructure, the Disaster STS Research Network (DSTS), an instance of the Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography (PECE).

This infrastructure was built to support collaboration among researchers and with the communities they study. Working with this infrastructure will give you experience with archive ethnography, experimenting with new forms of data sharing, collaborative analysis and creative expression.  


– Writing weekly annotations for the assigned course material (using the shared research questions on the Disaster STS Platform, due Tuesdays, 23:59pm Frankfurt time)

– Preparing one meeting (leading the discussion on the material and course members’ annotations, 10 minutes)

– Case Study research (in class, in groups of about five people)

– Final Presentation (10 minutes, in groups)


*joint session with MA seminar Toxicity: Ethnographies of Late Industrialism by Dr. Asta Vonderau, Martin-Luther-University of Halle.


April 15 – Disastrous Times


April 22 – Louisiana's Cancer Alley*

April 29 – Plastics, from Texas to Taiwan

May 6 – Reading Open Archives


May 13 – Safe Side of the Fenceasynchronous

May 20 – Monitoring Fukushima, with Ina Kim, UC Irvine and Louise Elstow, Lancaster University

May 27 – Case Study Studio Session


June 3 – Life, Breath, Infrastructure, asynchronous

June 10 – Bodies in the System*, with Nadine Tanio, UC Los Angeles and Fred Ariel Hernandez, Waseda University, Tokyo

June 17 – Hacking Air Pollution, with Sanjana Paul, MIT Senseable City Lab


June 24 – Critical Data Design, with Youngrim Kim, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

July 1 – Asparagus Assemblages, with Isabella Biermann


July 8 – Toxic Worlds*  – deadline for case study draft! 

July 15 – Group Presentations & PECE Party

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