Within the overall structure of your time in DCC, 208 is where you identify and explore some of the skills, processes, and areas of inquiry you will develop further in the capstone project you will propose toward the end of the semester. In this section, we will use creative engagement with multiple forms of media as our starting point for working through issues of culture, politics, and identity. Through our encounters with media, we will analyze intersecting systems of structural oppression and explore emergent possibilities for justice and transformation.

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. No single media perspective can fully represent 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 marginalized within mainstream media and social 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 use media case studies to build our understanding of structures and histories that shape our experiences of culture and identity. We will also study and learn creative practices that marginalized communities have used both to respond to dominant media and to create their own media. And we will apply our growing skills and knowledge to the urgent social, political, and ethical issues that we face, collectively and individually, as students and as people at the current moment. Our discussions and our creative experiments alike will give you opportunities to discover and develop the interests that will shape your capstone project.

By the end of the course, you will develop:

  • fluency with critical race and gender analysis and intersectionality theory
  • a basic understanding of core concepts in media studies
  • familiarity with ways in which members of marginalized communities have developed practices and methods for expressing themselves through and in response to media
  • awareness of the power dynamics and ethical expectations involved in studying subcultural creativity
  • practical experience of creative processes in text, video, and interactive formats

Required texts:

Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown, Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2015.

Nia King, Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives. CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2014.