mason, “watching the watchers” (last day of class — no need to give this a deep read, but it’s fairly light and is an example of turning the camera on security (cameras)).
you have a project: produce one image of the security/border system used on this campus. we don’t have security cameras (yet!), so how do we render this space “safe”? if you prefer to venture off into the more dangerous lands of “the village of middlebury,” that’s okay, too. how do they deal with those pesky “townies”? how is the border between the two spaces marked? send it to me before class and we can review them together. wheeee!!!
some helpful reminders of things that are expected in the class.
coming to it. (i know it’s not always possible — people get sick, people get tired, people get sick & tired, etc.) but the actual classroom stuff is important, so you should come. if you can’t, you could inform your teacher, who is already trying to make allowances for your busy, hectic lives by eliminating assignment number 3. i would prefer not to FORCE you to come to class. class does work better if we all are there. i guess i’m was a bit naive that this would work without some threats of punishment… oh well, lesson learned. trust no one.
turn in assignment #2. due at 4.26 on 4/26. via email. to me. some important tips to keep in mind:
you should have a THESIS STATEMENT at the culminating point of your intro. please do this (and also remember that if you already knew the answer to your thesis w/o the research, you can push it a little further so that you are actually learning something new)
you should use each piece of (visual) evidence that makes a point that contributes to your larger thesis.
don’t forget to self-reflect and evaluate!
don’t forget to manage the file size of your PDF document before sending it to your humble servant who does not what their inbox to get full b/c of all the gigantic files dropped friday night.
gillian rose, excerpts from doing family photography (this
is a little on the long side, so take that into consideration. if you
find yourself strapped for time, you can cut out the last chapter (i.e.,
the last 16 pages, although there is interesting stuff here about
“publics” that could be worth your time, if you are interested in such
jan gehl and brigitte svarre, how to study public life (this looks longer than it actually is — normally copies are 2 pages/page, but this is only 1 page/page, and about 1/2 are pictures, but it gives a good overview of methods for studying)
william whyte did a project in the late 70s in NYC about effective public spaces. he wrote a book and made a documentary. unfortunately, the doc has been taken offline, but here’s a clip that gets at one his main point: public spaces work best when they allow for social interaction and remaking of the space. thus, the importance of the moveable chair. (2 min video — here’s a more recent news item that discusses the idea).
street harassment: a video that made the rounds a few years ago; the story behind it; and the various critiques/addenda based on the way people of color are (not) represented and white men erased in the original video.
the point is to think about the camera as a weapon in creating and defending alternative versions of public/shared spaces, especially around issues of gender/sexuality (droughts notwithstanding). or if we want to be more abstract in our sociology, we could consider tactics/strategies for developing and enforcing new norms.
monday we will discuss the 2nd assignment in more details, but some quick things to keep in mind if you want an early start (and who doesn’t?)
format is similar to the last “photo essay” (but you can play with this if you like — if you prefer/feel more comfortable with “essay with photos” format, then go ahead. if you want an extended analysis of a single image, that’s cool, too.)
the former constraints (middlebury and identity) have been relaxed — anything goes! some of you will like this (finally, a chance to do what i *really* want!), some of you will not (whatever will i do!??!?). if you are in the latter camp, feel free to talk to me, as i am happy to provide guidance.
last time, outside (or inside, if you want to call class readings that) sources was encouraged but not required. this time, you need to bring in some sources. at least 3 (three), in fact. i’m happy to suggest some if you are at a loss. i am also happy to direct you to a giant building called the library. (i hear they even have a website!!!!)
when is it due? april 23, at 8.48 pm. no more middfiles nonsense. this time just simple, easy email. (but don’t forget to shrink your files, so they aren’t 30 MB. thanks!)
anythings else? yep! don’t forget to keep sending images based on the readings. only 10 more meetings to go!
[warning: this is the entire book, which makes it look really, really long. it is, in fact, not that long, in terms of reading, since there are a lot of pictures of advertisements. thus, your plan should be to read the opening chapters (pp 1-27 in the book, which are pp 13-39 in the pdf) and to get a sense of the seven themes he identifies (they are helpfully listed in the table of contents, with a page referring you to the initial definition, and then leading to some photos. “licensed withdrawal” is given the wrong page number — it actually starts on p. 57). so even if you are hard copy sort of person, reading this online is probably a better bet.]
the reason for offering the entire thing, even if you don’t necessarily look at all of the specific advertisements, or if you think it is too dated (is it?), is to give you a sense of a different model for organizing and presenting visual research. as well as this being a fairly early “classic” in the field…
if you’re sick of white supremacists (and who isn’t?), stop now. but here are a couple of supplementary texts exploring the role of memes and irony for the spread of racist ideas.
if interested, you can go looking for the types of racist flyers which have become common on college campuses in recent years. a quick search will pull up a lot — here’s a general story on this trend. think about what the visual language of whiteness is in these images.
please be sure to keep the size of your final essay from ballooning up to gigantibytastic sizes, which is easy to do when you start using photographs. there’s lots of ways to shrink file size of photos individually (such lowering the quality/resolution in your photo storage program), but you can also handle this at the document level. for example, the sample essay i shared in class was put together in powerpoint and was 65MB when all was said and done. but if you go the file tab, you’ll find the option to “reduce file size” and depending on your choice, you can drop the size tremendously — my document dropped to 2 MB and then saving it as a pdf cut it in half again.
please submit the assignment in the following way: in an effort to avoid having a lot of emails with still relatively large attachments drop in my email inbox all at once, i’m asking you that you upload your document to the course shared dropbox on middfiles. don’t know how to get to middfiles? here’s some help.
please give your documentS (essay and evaluation separate) a name that identifies the author(s) in some way (i.e., not just “dumb_class_assigment1.pdf, but rather linus_dumb_class_assignment1.pdf)
please submit as a pdf document
don’t forget to have a title, to have a thesis (and an argument!), a reference list, and SEPARATE evaluation.
these are all pretty short, so even though you have something due today, it won’t be too much of a burden for you to do the readings for class, right? think about the way “representation” “normal” and “culture” [not to mention “race”] are working through these texts. enjoy!
BREAKING NEWS! THE DEADLINE FOR THE FIRST ASSIGNMENT HAS BEEN MOVED TO 11:59pm WEDNESDAY MARCH 20. THE BEGINNING OF MY WEEK IS SHAPING UP TO BE SUPER BUSY SO I WILL NOT HAVE ANY TIME TO LOOK AT YOUR WORK. THUS IT SEEMS SILLY TO FORCE YOU TO TURN SOMETHING IN THAT WILL SIT IDLY BY FOR DAYS. THIS IS A 48 HOUR AND 2 MINUTE EXTENSION. IF YOU WILL BE DONE BY THE ORIGINAL DUE DATE, THAT’S FINE! TURN IT IN AND LIFE GOES ON AS USUAL. THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING.
“veganism has a serious race problem” [[read this if you want, but you can get the gist from the header image and the title. it considers the effects of appropriating the visuals/discourses of lynching]]
even more extraneous stuff that you will never, ever read, but which is related and interesting, so it’s going to be included, whether it ever gets read or not. [please note that even the list above includes extra stuff crammed into the sub-bullet points, so i am really not trying to overwork you, especially since you have work due this week.]
stevens, creating a class: college admissions and educating elites chapter 5: race [currently having trouble uploading it, but will fix soon] (update: AAAAAHHHH! the file won’t work, and i doubt i will have time to figure out what the problem is, nor will you have time to read it. but it is available as an e-book in the library, and if you want to know how these things work, it’s a good overview (the study was done at hamilton, but current director of admissions at middlebury says this book’s version is the closest to our own that you might find in all the studies out there.))
the above chapter is a quick read but it is 44 pages, so if you don’t want to read so much (you’re busy!) (and now that it’s DOA), this from a different project tells a related story about how talk of diversity undercuts actual efforts to deal with racism. succinctly.
THIS WEEK IS ABOUT REPRESENTING RACE/RACISM/DIVERSITY/ETC. SO YOUR 2ND BATCH OF READINGS ARE AS FOLLOWS: (they are short!)
following up on day one discussion of blackface and yearbooks (and in honor of the yearbook fotos being taken right across the hall from class (ps. i bet that is an interesting place/space of identity construction!)), here are a few links:
USA today reviews 900 yearbooks for racist images. spoiler alert: they found some!
of course, yearbooks also document other issues, such as campus protest and anti-racist progress. “beyond blackface”
this is not just an issue from yesteryear. blackface at UTennessee. [in an effort to bring this full circle, notice the framing in terms of college/student diversity]
protest going on this week at sarah lawrence about racism on campus and failure of “diversity” efforts. follow on tweeter!
AND, of course, in this day and age (and all days and all ages), it is not just about photo selection as discussed in class, but also how the photos are manipulated. here’s a classic example of OJ Simpson, while here’s an example that popped up on twitter Monday about Fox News altering an image
entman & rojecki, the black image in the white mind [[note: this is the entire freaking book! don’t read all of it. just read chapter 5, “violence, stereotypes, and african americans in the news” pp. 78-93]]
warfield, “mirrorcameraroom: the gendered multi-instabilities of the selfie” (this one is kind of theoretically dense (or, “exciting”) but has some interesting ideas (“glitch feminism”) as well as a different methodology, so worth your time, but if you are short of time, then definitely read the first two and leave this for another day.) [[if you want to watch/listen to her give a 40minute presentation on why selfies are great, you can watch here. if not, you can ignore]]
anything below is not to be read under any circumstances (unless you’re interested in that sort of thing…)
this is a good piece on queer/trans visibility and selfies/social media, but it may be too much reading for today (so i used the nytimes piece instead). still if you want to look at social research on the topic, this is a recent example.
kunstman “whose selfie citizenship?” (this is the intro to the book that the ferreday pieces comes from. it’s short, but provides a broad overview of a lot of different examples of political uses of selfies, if you might find that kind of thing worth looking into….)
if you are at a loss as to what to send your humble teacher, another image option could be to grab something from one of the above examples and engage with it (how it works, doesn’t work, what’s there, what’s missing, why it’s compelling data, why it might not be….) — that is, if there’s something from the readings/examples that you want to talk more about in class, this is your chance to possibly make that happen…
let’s start with some basic introductions to the field — what visual sociology is, and how to start doing it.
1) john grady, “becoming a visual sociologist” this is a handy, dandy 12-point list of how to become a visual sociologist. while the entire piece is well worth reading, the first 6 steps are most important (as the last 6 refer more to those who are already professional sociologists). even though 6 is half of 12, those first 6 do take up the bulk of the essay. “becoming a visual sociologist”
2) richard chalfin, “looking two ways” this is a good introduction taking a somewhat different perspective than the above, playing off the dual meaning of “how people look”: “study of visual culture”