Systems of Representation

1. According to a “social constructionist” perspective, we only make meaning of the material world through specific cultural contexts. This takes place in part through the language systems (be they writing, speech, or images) that we use. Hence, the material world only has meaning, and only can be “seen” by us, through these systems of representation. This means that the world is not simply reflected back to us through systems of representation, but that we actually construct the meaning of the material world through these systems (p.12-13).

Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright. “Practices of Looking:Images, Power, and Politics” in

Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. New York: Oxford University Press,

2009. Print.

2. Class Discussion

DIVERSITY: cultures, opinions identities, genders, educational levels,

ideologies/religions, values/social practices, socio-economic levels, family

structure, able-bodiedness, mental health, language usage

EQUITY: same opportunities, educational accommodations, gender

expectations, ageism

INCLUSION: acceptance, recognition of diversity, tolerance, validation,

empathy

Readings:

1. (We will solve any submission problems you’re having at the beginning of class.)

1. “Techniques of the Body” Marcel Mauss (1934) – p. 1-5 (Numbered 70-74)

Mauss_Marcel_1935_1973_Techniques_of_the_Body.pdfVideo:

Stonewall Uprising : Chapter One

Shown in class

Paris is Burning- the remastered version is available on Netflix

Click to load this video in a new window.

Madonna – Vogue

Click to load this video in a new window.

Written Assignment:

Answer the following questions:

1. Please write a brief description of your first impression of Mauss’s concept of body

techniques. Do you consider it to be flawed in any way?

2. Consider the Stonewall content we viewed about life for the LGBTQ community

during the 1950s in the United States, what were the key mechanisms of control

and authority represented in the documentary? In what way did they echo ideas

about connections between techniques of the body and the social identity?

3. There are continuities between lifestyle issues for the LGBTQ community in New

York that were represented in both the Stonewall Uprising and Paris Is Burning

documentaries. Continuing with a consideration of the concept of body

techniques, how did each work situate the challenges and/or benefits of the

representation of identity in public spaces?

4. How would you describe the politics of inclusion in terms of the ability to move

through spaces in particular ways or to be excluded from spaces in particular

ways?

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