American Media and the Politics of Representation|
Fall 2011 not offered
This course explores race, gender, and sexuality in terms of relations of power and representations of "blackness" in the media. We begin by developing a theoretical framework for understanding the evolution of race and gender by examining theories of late-19th-century scientists and the eugenics movement that conspired to legitimize a particular racialized worldview--reaching its height in 1923. English scientist Francis Galton, Charles Darwin's cousin, coined the word "eugenics" to advance the science of heredity and the notion of a "perfect" human race by filtering out "undesirables" while multiplying its "desirables" in what Darwin called "survival of the fittest." This course also examines the politics of race, gender, and sexuality by taking a critical look at the social policies that came out of the Moynihan Report (1965) in the construction of the black family--particularly black women--and the Kerner Commission, a 1968 report motivated by urban riots in the United States that sought to analyze the specific triggers for the riots and pointed to the need for diversity in newsrooms across the country. We also use the critical tools of Stuart Hall, Herman Gray, Marlon Ross, Devon Carbado, Kara Keeling, Charles Nero, E. Patrick Johnson, bell hooks, Darnell Hunt, and Trinh Minh-ha to inform our understandings of media production and practice.
The last half of the semester will focus on media representations of women with an emphasis on the role of the news media in circulating these representations and shaping a worldview of the African diaspora. We interrogate current notions of "blackness" through transnational feminist and queer theories, looking into some of the signifying practices of race, gender, sexuality, and the politics of difference in the media with particular attention to the notion of "desirables" and "undesirables." The sources for this course are wide-ranging: mainly academic texts, but also documentary films, news media reports, and personal accounts of corporate television news anchors/reporters.
Writing: Some of the class time is devoted to teaching writing concerns such as developing a thesis, structuring an argument, or using quotations effectively. I require drafts of papers which not only offers an opportunity to intervene in student writing, but also enables students to see critical thinking and writing as a process of engagement and re-engagement.
Speaking: Students have opportunities to sharpen their analytical and speaking skills everyday as they process the theories on offer in the course during weekly discussions of theory and practice. Their analytical, speaking, and presentation skills will be developed and exercised more intensely as they prepare presentations for the class based on the materials on offer in the course.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (FGSS)
Smedley, Audrey, RACE IN NORTH AMERICA, ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF A WORLDVIEW, Second Edition, Colorado: Westview Press, A Member of the Perseus Books Group, 1999.
Hall, Stuart, ed. REPRESENTATION, CULTURAL REPRESENTATIONS AND SIGNIFYING PRACTICES - CULTURE, MEDIA, AND IDENTITIES. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1997.
Gray, Herman S. AFRICAN AMERICANS AND THE POLITICS OF REPRESENTATION CULTURAL MOVES. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 2005.
Johnson, E. Patrick and Henderson, Mae G., eds. BLACK QUEER STUDIES, A CRITICAL ANTHOLOGY. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2005.
Hooks, Bell. BLACK LOOKS RACE AND REPRESENTATION. Boston, Massachusetts: South End Press, 1992.
Hunt, Darnell M. SCREENING THE LOS ANGELES "RIOTS": RACE, SEEING, AND RESISTANCE. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Trinh, Minh-ha. WHEN THE MOON WAXES RED, REPRESENTATION, GENDER, AND CULTURAL POLITICS. New York and London: Routledge, 1991.
Required Films in Class:
Hall, Stuart. REPRESENTATION AND THE MEDIA. Milton Keynes, UK: The Open University, produced and directed by Sut Jhally. Sanjay Talreja, ed. Sut Jhally, and Mary Patierno, opening excerpt from HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE, written and directed by Robert Townsend, excerpts from Marlon Riggs' COLOR ADJUSTMENT. Films courtesy of California Newsreel. Copyright - The Media Education Foundation 1997.
Riggs, Marlon, TONGUES UNTIED, San Francisco, CA: Frameline, c2007.
Schultz, Michael. LIVIN' LARGE. Mosley-Payne, William, Writer, Michael Shultz, Director, Hans Brockmann and Justin Ackerman, Executive Producers, David V. Picker, Producer, Herbie Hancock, Music Composer and Arranger. Santa Monica, California: Orion Pictures - MGM Home Entertainment, 2003.
|Examination and Assignments: |
Final Paper (50%)
Credit for participation is based on class attendance and contributions to class discussions, as well as in-class presentations on selected readings. We will assign in-class presentations during the first class.
The purpose of the paper is to help students delve more deeply into a topic or aspect of a topic that they find particularly interesting in the context of the class. Students will consult with the professor to make sure a topic is appropriate for the final paper. The paper must incorporate readings, films, and theories on offer in the course, as well as outside materials addressing key issues related to media, the evolution of race, representations of blackness, and the politics of difference. The paper should be properly referenced. Students are encouraged to make use of the professor's office hours to get guidance on the 15-20 page, 12-font, 1-inch margins, double-spaced term paper.
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