Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What is #SelfieClass

#SelfieClass is a section of  Writing 150: Writing and Critical Reasoning under the thematic of Identity and Diversity
offered at the University of Southern California, 

See some of our course readings or our assignments.

From the USC News:

Studying selfies: USC’s #SelfieClass examines what online photos say about us

Selfies have become the cultural artifacts of our time, the digital mosaic that reveals how society views gender, race, class and sexuality in the 21st century.

In USC’s #SelfieClass — a nickname for one particular section of “Writing 150: Writing and Critical Reasoning: Identity and Diversity” — first-year students critically examine society’s influence on self-identity and how selfies reflect and affect the global culture in which we live, all while learning how to write college-level essays.

The class is led by Mark Marino, an associate professor (teaching) at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Marino’s work has often focused on digital spaces, including netprov, a form of narrative storytelling on social media.

“When we look at selfies, we’re also looking at the beginning of the 21st century,” Marino said. “The cultural moment of the selfies will pass and become something that’s iconic of our age, the same way that photographic self-portraits or painting self-portraits or religious journals were the selfies of their moment.”

In class discussions and individual interviews, students said their spontaneous snapshots often revealed subconscious feelings about their own gender, sexuality and ethnicity. They’ve used selfies to distance themselves from one group in hopes of being accepted by another.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Maria's 4th Blog Post: Selfies at Serious Places

The only plausible thing to do after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal is to…take a selfie?

The devastating earthquake has now claimed more than 5,000 lives, yet there’s people (like the man above) that took the time to stop and take a selfie in front of the ruble that is left of Nepal’s Dharahara Tower. He’s among the many that documented the tragedy through a selfie. It reminds me of my 2nd blog post of the people who took a selfie in front of a New York apartment explosion. Apparently, people love to flip out a camera at sites of disasters.

Although these kinds of selfies seem arrogant, W. Keith Campbell, an expert on narcissism, offers up a different take on the motivation behind these photos. “Some are narcissistic, ‘Hey, check me out. I’m so cool,’ and some are ‘Look how bad this is,” he says. He mentions that some people might be communicating to their loved ones, in the form of selfies, to say “Hey, I’m still alive.” Two media experts have said that the people in Nepal taking selfies are rooted in self-involvement and should not be judged right off the bat. However, the question of “is it respectful to the dead?” arises.

What do you think of selfies taken at disaster sites? Is it helpful or is it all for attention?