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Image, Music, Text, and the Politics of Representation
AFAM 267
Spring 2010
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: FGSS 268

This course explores race, gender, and sexuality in terms of relations of power and the politics of representation in the media and popular culture. 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. We explore the ways in which the eugenics movement advanced 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." Connotation and denotation of images in the American media and popular culture are taken up to better understand the politics of race, gender, and sexuality. We use the critical tools of Roland Barthes, Stuart Hall, Angela Davis, 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 representations of women in the media and popular culture with an emphasis on the role of music videos and 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 "undersirables." The sources for this course are wide-ranging: mainly academic texts, but also documentary films, music videos, news media reports, and personal accounts of corporate television news anchors/reporters.

Essential Capabilities: Speaking, Writing
Some of the class time is devoted to teaching writing concerns such as developing a thesis, structuring an argument, or using quotations effectively, which is particularly helpful for first and second year students. I require drafts of papers, which not only offers an opportunity to intervene in student writing, but also enables them to see critical thinking and writing as a process of engagement and re-engagement.
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.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS AFAM
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (FGSS)
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUN-18-2024
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