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Race, Ethnicity, and Popular Media

Semester and Year FA 2014
Course Number IDSEM-UG1724
Section 001
Instructor Frank Roberts
Days Thu
Time 6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement HUM


What does critical race theory look like or sound like when we encounter it on the radio, on a dance-floor, or on a movie screen? What does it mean to use media as a site of cultural critique? In this course we will pay close attention to the racial politics of what neo-Marxist philosopher Theodor Adorno once famously called “the culture industries”: namely film, television, radio and popular music. More specifically, we will examine how contemporary cultural workers of color (musicians, filmmakers, artists, etc.) have utilized mass-mediated forms to resist, respond to, and reveal the conundrum of “race” in the 21st century. Our readings will include perspectives from a range of ethnic studies scholars such as Stuart Hall, Tricia Rose, Cornel West, Mark Anthony Neal and Daphne Brooks. We will also survey the more embodied or “performative” theoretical insights offered by figures such as Spike Lee, Lil Kim, R. Kelly, Tyler Perry, Jennifer Lopez, Amy Winehouse, Savion Glover and Beyonce Knowles, among others. In short, in this course we will think about media as more than simply a site for “representing” race, but rather also as a site for forming and constructing race as we know it (i.e. racial formation).

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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