Blog Post

Marking a moment with Instagram

Original image by my student featuring a dark-skinned hand pulling an orange from a tree, with leaves configured out of text/words like "Chicana, future, Unidos, Derechos, Huelga"

Just wanted to share a terrific project by my students at San Jose State University - an Instagram page of mixed media devoted to marking what they dubbed "Post-election Feels". 

The class is Women of Color in the Women's Studies program, a diverse group of frosh/soph students at a large public urban university.  Our population is very diverse, with a higher number of immigrant and first generation students.  The class has been following the election all semester, watching debate excerpts and news coverage.  For many of the frosh, it was their first time voting.  So we were almost all pretty crushed when we met for class on Nov. 10.  We continued to talk about the impending inauguration of DT and what it meant for ourselves, and our communities.  As students wrote out their thoughts and feelings, I felt compelled to mark the historical moment with their words.  I asked them to formulate some sort of final project to "create a historical document that will record the thoughts and feelings of yourselves and your communities for posterity in whatever way you deem feasible." This is what they came up with.  

Any fears I had that Instagram was too "lightweight" for the project were erased when I saw the first posts. Original artwork, original rap video, satire pieces, original short videos, poetry, photos all recorded students' unique perspectives from a variety of gender, race, class, and citizenship communities.  Students were certainly inspired by their disappointment with, and critiques of the president-elect, but they also did not want to center the project on him or give him more attention.  So the call was to simply reflect on their feelings at this historical moment; many chose to integrate course themes and previous discussions, some overtly, others less so.  

I am absolutely thrilled with the outcome. 

image of Instagram


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