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Januar 2019

Animation, Politics & Digital Media

An international workshop at the Brandenburg Centre for Media Studies (ZeM) focuses on the topic of animation and politics. Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt will give the lecture "The Communicative Architecture of Social Media. Basic Principles and Their Consequences for the Circulation of Political Information“ at this workshop.

About the Event

The history of animation – and especially of animated films – shows numerous connections between animation and the political. Animations have served as means of political propaganda (e.g., DER FUEHRER'S FACE, 1943), expressed political protest (e.g., in the context of the ‘Arab Spring’), and dealt with political questions in many genres such as fiction (e.g., WHEN THE WIND BLOWS, 1986), documentary (e.g., WALTZ WITH BASHIR, 2008), and satire (e.g., THE SIMPSONS, 1989-).
However, with the advent of the so-called ‘Web 2.0’ the general role of media in political contexts has changed. New conditions of media production, distribution, and reception have especially contributed to the emergence of new genres specific to the Internet (see e.g., Eder 2018; Hosea 2008). Low-cost user-generated footage, circumvention of gatekeepers, reach of global and niche audiences as well as their imminent invitation to not just watch, but act – on the internet and in reality – have made online videos a powerful tool in political and/or activist campaigns. Micro-formats such as GIFs are being shared on social networks and utilized in political campaigns, often recontextualizing snippets from media history as political commentaries to present events. Media outlets too have realized the power of online videos and distribute their stories as multimedia features, animated short films, and explainers.

The workshop explores how different kinds of political animation may be conceptualized in light of these drastic changes of media use and technology as well as political communication strategies. Experts from different research areas share their perspectives in short presentations each followed by a plenary discussion.
Admission is free for all events, however, continuous attendance on both days is strongly encouraged to enable focused discussions (exceptions are of course possible).


Please register by writing a short email to Maike Sarah Reinerth.

Schedule - Thursday, 17 January

3:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.: Maike Sarah Reinerth (Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF): Welcome Address & Introduction
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.: Jan-Hinrik Schmidt (Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut, Hamburg): "The Communicative Architecture of Social Media. Basic Principles and Their Consequences for the Circulation of Political Information"
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.: Anne Bartsch & Larissa Leonhard (University of Leipzig): "Entertainment & Politics Revisited. How Eudaimonic Entertainment Experiences Influence the Processing and Impact of Political Information"
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.: Public Lecture by Paul Ward (Arts University Bournemouth): "Animated Media Forms as Political Communication"

Schedule - Friday, 18 January

9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.: Erwin Feyersinger (Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen): "The Persuasive Function of Animated Graphics in Argumentative YouTube Videos"
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.: Naima Alam (Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen): "Changing Social Status Through Characters in NGO Animations"
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: Yorck Beese (Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz): "Animations in Jihadi Video Propaganda"
12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.: Maike Sarah Reinerth (Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF): Closing Discussion

Infos zur Veranstaltung


ZeM – Brandenburgisches Zentrum für Medienwissenschaften
Hermann-Elflein-Straße 18
14467 Potsdam

Contact person

PD Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt
Senior Researcher Digital Interactive Media & Political Communication

PD Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17-83
Fax +49 (0)40 45 02 17-77

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