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Digital Anthropology

When Chuo Cha Sanaa got Internet access in 2004, it was an important milestone, corresponding to local aspirations for membership in the global art world. Initially, the college had 10 computers in what came to be known as the Internet room or Internet café. The room is located in the information and communication technology (ICT) building, which also has two offices for ICT management and video production. ICT is a compulsory subject for all students in the new curriculum and for many students this represents their first introduction to the Internet. Over time, the ICT facilities have deteriorated and during fieldwork in 2009 only 3-5 computers were working. Students were very appreciate of Internet access, but frustrated by the scarcity of computers. Even so, the Internet room has evolved into a main social hub on campus, especially for students who use it as often as they can to access information and to communicate and interact with people around the world. This research project is an example of the emerging sub-discipline within anthropology known as digital anthropology. Digital anthropology focuses on the development and use of digital media and communication technologies in different social and cultural contexts. Reflecting global patterns of digital stratification, Internet access in Tanzania is a matter of partial inclusion in the global network society and hybrid media engagement.

Video 1: TaSUBa Internet room

Photo 1: Indication of the number of students in the Internet room

Photo 2: Students using Internet room after classes

Photo 3: Hybrid media engagement: shared computers combined with paper and pen

Photo 4: Signing up for Facebook

Photo 5: Nina Stanley Facebooking with her online friends

Photo 6: ICT tutor Rehema Ngize assisting students

Photo 7: ICT classes with more students than computers

Photo 8: Schedule of ICT classes with students divided into groups

Photo 9: Bilingual instructions in English and Kiswahili

Photo 10: Digital learning through practice and play

Photo 11: Graphic design class targeting the creative industries

Photo 12: USB memory sticks to save data in the absence of computers

Photo 13: All students have mobile phones, some smart, many simple

Photo 14: ICT practical exam in Internet room

Photo 15: Theoretical exam in flexible hall for all students

Photo 16: ICT management office

Photo 17: Hussein Masimbi in his office in the ICT building

Photo 18: TaSUBa traditional dance and music archives.

Photo 19: Tapes and notes with field data collected in villages

Photo 20: Refurbished Internet room in 2010 with 10 computers

Photo 20: Digital stratification

Video 2: Digital learning

This material is an accompaniment to Digital Drama: Teaching and Learning Art and Media in Tanzania.