Image, Music, Text, and the Politics of Representation|
Spring 2012 not offered
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.
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.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AFAM-MN)(AFAM)(FGSS)
Smedley, Audrey, RACE IN NORTH AMERICA, ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF A WORLDVIEW
Hall, Stuart, ed. REPRESENTATION, CULTURAL REPRESENTATIONS AND SIGNIFYING PRACTICES - CULTURE, MEDIA AND IDENTITIES.
Barthes, Roland, IMAGE, MUSIC, TEXT.
Johnson, E. Patrick. APPROPRIATING BLACKNESS, PEFORMANCE AND THE POLITICS OF AUTHENTICITY
Davis, Angela Yvonne. BLUES LEGACIES AND BLACK FEMINISM: Gertrude, "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday.
hooks, bell. BLACK LOOKS RACE AND REPRESENTATION.
Hunt, Darnell M. SCREENING THE LOS ANGELES "riots": RACE, SEEING AND RESISTANCE.
Trinh, Minh-ha. WHEN THE MOON WAXES RED, REPRESENTATION, GENDER, AND CULTURAL POLITICS.
|Examination and Assignments: |
Quiz: The quiz is graded on demonstration of knowledge in terms of theories and topics from course materials including texts and films.
Final Paper: 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 appropirate 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.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
Grading: Participation (20%)
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. All presentations are graded on demonstration of knowledge, class interaction, creativity, overall presentation contribution of each group, and presentation contribution of individuals in each group.
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