Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Seeking Social Justice through Media Studies


Liberal Studies Department


Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Date Range



Arts and Humanities


For the past 2 semesters I have been teaching a cross-listed course between the sociology department and the liberal studies department for the upper division general education program at Grand Valley State University. Prior to this I have also taught many courses focused on media literacy, popular culture and media studies research methods. However, during the course students engage in a collaborative and integrative project focused on addressing a self-identified critical problem within the frame of American Society and Media. Students often critique social constructions of gender, race, class, sexuality circulating in Mass Culture. During the course students critically examine and explore the role that mediated images play in the social construction of reality as they relate to socio-cultural stratification including theoretical approaches to mass media such as: Adorno & Horkheimer's theory of the culture industry, Stuart Hall's preferred, negotiated and oppositional readings, electronic storyteller, Laura Mulvey's to-be-looked-ated-ness, Herman Gray's race and representation, and other critical approaches to mass mediated images/representations. Students also are introduced to methods for studying mediated mass culture such as: content analysis, narrative analysis, auteur studies, genre studies, audience reception studies, focus groups, and online fan-based research. I am proposing an abstract for the panel : Beyond Media Literacy that will serve as a case study of my in-class student work as they engaged substantive problems involving American Society and Media including, but not limited to : representations of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, representations of poverty, crime, masculinity, femininity and the politics of disposability surrounding Hurricane Katrina, the consolidation of American media corporations, the role of news media in the construction of American ideology, Sex acts in American Cinema, the woman on the magazine cover, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat as potentially democratized forms of media. Against this backdrop, I will also address the ways in which students actively engage in their own learning through media literacy and media activism. Finally, I will analyze student research presentations from the course that reflect the call to action of this panel including student work that deconstructs hierarchies of socio-cultural privilege, social stratification, and structural inequalities in media with the goal of social justice at the heart of student learning.

Conference Name

Lilly Conferences on College and University Teaching and Learning

Conference Location

Traverse City, MI

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