In his #SelfieClass: Writing 150: Writing and Critical Reasoning: Identity and Diversity, Mark Marino is looking to engage his first-year writing students into thinking more intensely about themselves and the world around them.
“Selfies provide a fun and deceptively trivial opportunity to consider how we represent ourselves, how we are read, and how those images circulate to form online communities,” he said.
One of the students’ first writing assignments poses the question: How do your selfies produce or obscure a sense of your identity? He then asks the students to choose five selfies of themselves and examine race-ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexuality and gender.
“Go anywhere in LA, and you’ll see rows of people tilting their heads and smiling into their phones,” Marino said. “They are communicating with their friends. But it’s not that simple.”
The selfie, he said, carries much more significance.
To Marino, selfie takers are “constructing an image of their identity — their gender, their ethnicity, their sexuality, their socioeconomic status.”
“Except that’s only half of the process because these photos then will be read, liked and favorited, and interpreted by others — based on their own expectations and experience,” he said. “Here we have the co-creation of identity wrapped up in a discrete act of networked communication.”
His students must maintain selfie journals and write blog posts, among other assignments. The class also teamed up with Miriam Posner, who teaches “Selfies, Snapchat, and Cyberbullies” at UCLA.
Blah, blah, blah…