Message posted on 25/05/2024

Invite for "Empty Home" with Sanderien Verstappen and Willy Sier, Mo. 27 May, 5–6:30 pm (online)


here an invite on part of the working group for audiovisual anthropology of the German Anthropological Association,

"Empty Home" with Sanderien Verstappen and Willy Sier, Mo. 27 May, 56:30 pm (online).

Everybody is welcome joining & discussing with us

best, Thomas

Dear all,

please find in this email the Zoom invite for our upcoming Werkstattgesprch "Empty Home" with Sanderien Verstappen and Willy Sier on Monday 27 May, 56:30 pm.

You find the abstract and further information on the film in the email below.

Beitreten Zoom Meeting

Meeting-ID: 988 9112 2779 Kenncode: 140673

I look forward to an exciting session and wish you all the best.


Dear all, we hope this finds you well.

After our last in-person meeting at the DGSKA conference in Munich, we are very glad to proceed with our online Werkstattgesprch-format this summer term 2024.

Meant as an informal and hands-on forum to discuss and exchange about research material, be it text, film, photography, exhibition, multimodal material in the field of Visual Anthropology, we are today very delighted to invite you for a WERKSTATTGESPRCH WITH SANDERIEN VERSTAPPEN [1] (VIENNA) AND WILLY SIER [2] (UTRECHT) THEIR FILM PROJECT EMPTY HOME [3] ON MONDAY, 27TH OF MAY FROM 5-6:30 PM.


With 22 per cent of its housing stock vacant, China has the highest vacancy rate in the world. Yet Chinese cities are marked by constant expansion and the construction of high-rise buildings. Why are all these empty homes being built? And what moves people to buy homes in which they cannot live? Our project Empty Home explores these questions through a filmmaking project embedded in long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Wuhan. The film Empty Home focuses on the social and symbolic aspects of home- and city-making, revealing the importance of homeownership for mobile Chinese families in a rapidly transforming society. The accompanying article discusses the real-estate market as an important site for constructing citizen-state relations and argues that the symbolic and social significance of empty homes is crucial for understanding the deep meanings of the Chinese states drive for urban expansion and Chinese citizens desire to become homeowners. In addition to contributing to knowledge about Chinese homemaking, the project shows how using filmmaking in ethnographic fieldwork can strengthen the research process.

Sier, Willy, and Sanderien Verstappen. Empty Homes: Filming Homeownership in Rapidly Urbanising China. Visual Studies 39, no. 12 (2 January 2024): 2432. [4].

During the Werkstattgesprch we will watch the film (17.19 min) and discuss your questions/comments as well as some that Sanderien and Willy have raised in their abstract.

The Zoom link will be provided shortly before the meeting.

We are looking very much forward to seeing you then.

Best wishes,

Cathrine and Thomas

Dr. Cathrine Bublatzky

Senior Lecturer and Researcher Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology Burgsteige 11 Tuebingen University 72070 Tuebingen, Germany


phone: +49(0)7071 29-73999

project: Iranian Diasporic Photography [5]

latest publication: Mobile Belonging in Digital Exile (2022, OA) [6]


[1] sanderien/

[2] [3]




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