Blog Post

Social Uses of Media

hi folks,

as my first post, i would like to tell about the TA-ship position that i'm doing this semester. i'm TA-ing in Social Uses of Media class taught by Prof. Eleana Kim from the Anthropology Department at University of Rochester. this is actually my second time TA-ing for this class and so far it's the best TA-ship i've got. the class introduces students to the study of media from an anthropological perspective. we are examining constructions of media as objects of social scientific analysis, as both textual artifacts and social practice. some qustions that guide the course are: What are "the media"? What is "new" about "new media"? How have recent transformations in global capital and communications technology altered how we consume, analyze and produce multiple forms of media? What can the study of media consumption and production, technologies, and infrastructures tell us about social life and the imagination?

in general, we seek to understand the role media play in producing national and transnational public spheres, focusing on a range of formations, from multinational corporate structures to national and diasporic productions. in this semester, we will be reading Ian Condry's book Hip Hop Japan (http://www.amazon.com/Hip-Hop-Japan-Paths-Cultural-Globalization/dp/0822338920), Thomas Malaby's Making Virtual World: Linden Lab and Second Life (http://www.amazon.com/Making-Virtual-Worlds-Linden-Second/dp/0801447461/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1285530641&sr=1-1), and Chris Kelty's Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (http://www.amazon.com/Two-Bits-Cultural-Significance-Software/dp/0822342642/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1285530752&sr=1-1), along with bunch of articles about radio, copyright issues, and games. since i have TA-ed for this class before, Prof. Kim asked for my involvement in formulating the syllabus, which i regard as an honor. i am also entrusted to teach one full session of the class and prepare my own topics and materials for that session, which is exciting. i will teach on the section about tactical media. my materials for this session are on tactical media projects on Mexican/US border issues and the role of the Internet at the beginning of the Reformation period in Indonesia. i'm all excited about it.

another interesting component in this class is the Media of Everyday Life Project (MELP) where the students are asked to take their own media consumption and production practices as an object of analysis. the goal for this assignment is to stuidy how American youth use media in their everyday lives. Some guiding questions are: In what ways are everyday practices organized around media consumption? In what ways do students "mis-use" or appropriate media in unexpected ways? What are the democratic possibilities of media technology? What issues of power, identity and representation are worked out through students' interaction with media?

for the MELP project this semester, there are eight groups of students doing research on texting, music listening practice, film viewing, social games, Facebook, and YouTube. since their still in the early stage of their research, i cannot tell much about these projects. but, i will try to give you updates on their progress and their result at the end of the semester.

i'd love to hear other HASTAC people who have similar teaching or TA-ship experience, or who are interested in the class theme so that we could share stories and ideas.

 

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