For Fall 2007: Latinos, Media, and Popular Culture
Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States, representing 13.9% of the national population (US Census 2005), but continue to be significantly underrepresented and misrepresented in the US media. This course will review the ways Latinos have historically been portrayed in US films, advertising, newspapers, TV and other media, and examine the politics of stereotyping; concepts of race, gender, and sexuality; and the influence of media imagery on self-identity. We'll then learn how Latino populations have contested racist stereotypes and promoted messages of cultural pride and political agency through the development of alternative media and popular cultural forms. Public murals, teatro popular, Latino-produced film and literature, and other media arts will be studied, with particular focus on the work of Chicano and Puerto Rican movements for cultural and political empowerment. We'll look at how today's higher number of Latinos employed in journalism and other media industries has affected representations of Latinos, and scrutinize the commodification of Latino identity in the recent "Latin explosion" in US popular culture. Social, political, economic and cultural struggles over power and meaning within media texts will be central themes of the course, which is open only to juniors and seniors.