From TV to Tumblr, media plays a big part in our understanding of who we are. It’s a source of knowledge, a powerful influence, and a means of expression. And it never fully represents the diversity and complexity of the world. In this course, we’ll develop our critical reading, viewing, playing, listening, and making skills in order to better understand how media shapes cultural perceptions of intersecting identity categories: gender, race and ethnicity, disability, class, and more.
We’ll focus especially on the perspectives of activists, artists, fans, and everyday people who tend to be marginalized within mainstream media structures. We will study the ways in which feminists, LGBTQ people, people of color, and others with a wide range of identities and affiliations have created their own media to challenge or reinterpret dominant constructions of their identities and to develop critical narratives about culture, power, and oppression. As part of the class and in preparation for your capstone, you’ll build skills in creating and remixing media to reflect on your own relationship to culture and identity.
As we move through the semester, we will study several ways that amateur and professional creators have explored issues of media and identity. After we study examples of each technique, seeking to understand how and why its creators made meaning in the way that they did, you will experiment with using this technique for yourself. At the beginning of the semester, you’ll designate a theme for your work within the framework of the course, which should relate as much as possible to your capstone plans so that you can use your class projects to explore multiple approaches and test out ideas.
The course syllabus can be found here.