Minor Black Media Studies at Tech – Technique
Black Twitter, the art of hip-hop, the OJ Simpson trial, and documentary filmmaking techniques are just a few of the topics students can learn about while earning a Black Media Studies (BMS) minor at Tech. The minor, which was recently approved by the Senate of the Academic Faculty, is housed in the School of Literature, Media and Communication (LMC).
The founding faculty members behind the minor are Dr. Joycelyn Wilson, Dr. Susana Morris, Dr. André Brock and Professor John Thornton. The group has been working together for a few years to help bring the miner to life. Dr Wilson explained that the miner was initially supported by the support of Dean Jacqueline Royster, the former dean of Ivan Allen College, and Dr Richard Utz, the former head of the LMC department, who helped bring the Dr. Wilson, Dr. Morris. and Dr. Brock to join Prof. Thornton in increasing the presence of BMS scholars at Tech.
“That effort is happening at the institute college and school level,” Wilson said. “At the institute level in the sense that Georgia Tech, as part of the strategic plan, has strengthened its model of diversity, equity and inclusion in tangible ways. Not just in brochures or just in February or something like that, but in this industry, which is a lot of work. Part of that work is presence and presence in spaces that provide opportunities not only to talk about diversity, inclusion and equity, but to do so through research and we are scholars who do it in different ways.
Once the group of founding professors came together, the next step was to define what Black Media Studies was while carefully crafting the mission statement of the minor proposal.
“The beauty of this minor is that it gave us the opportunity to really define what Black Media Studies means, what it is, how you practice it and how you understand it,” Wilson said. “We first wanted to answer the question that was put to us. What is Black Media Studies? This is what colleagues have asked us. We’ve been asked this outside of school, and we wanted people to know okay, this is what it is. That’s why we’re here… so we were able to draw our description into this proposal, answer all the questions that were put to us, and then we kind of threw it between the four of us. We were all coining words and making sure the content was accurate, making sure we created a proposal that was damn bulletproof because we were writing this in the middle of this anti-racist movement and in the amid critical race theory debacle. You know, we’re always pushing through everything that’s going on around black studies and race and racial inequality.
With the approval of the Academic Faculty Senate, the support of Dean Husbands Fealing and other LMC faculty members, and the behind-the-scenes work done by the Office of the Registrar and other administrative offices, the BMS minor is now a reality. Dr. Morris explained that students taking courses towards the BMS minor can expect to learn to see the world through a critical new lens that can be applied to their future careers.
“We really emphasized critical thinking. We give a lot of different perspectives and it’s really about being armed with knowledge and being able to think critically about media history and race and class and gender and how to produce media,” Morris said. “We don’t just teach traditional literary analysis. We ask them to do all kinds of writing, production, and different kinds of end products. There are many things students can expect, but hopefully the learning will translate to the lecture hall, the operating room, the classroom, the courtroom…all of them. rooms.
The creation of the BMS minor at Tech joins a handful of other similar university programs in the United States, helping to launch and promote the field. Dr. Morris explained that she hopes the minor will help attract more students from the city of Atlanta, as well as students who seek a more humanities-based education.
“I think Black Media Studies, along with many other great programs and majors at Georgia Tech, could be a way to attract students from the area who might be like, ‘well, I was going to go to Morehouse. , but maybe I’ll consider Georgia Tech. We might have students who might think about UGA rather than technology, you know, because now we have things that are cross-disciplinary and humanities-oriented, and you can actually do a minor even though you are an engineering major.
Dr. Wilson believes the minor will be especially beneficial for engineering students who may never interact with these topics in their major coursework.
“I’ve found that when students take the courses and come out of engineering, it really changes their perspective. Even at this precise moment, it gives them the opportunity to think about the world in a broader way,” Wilson said. “They don’t leave our classes as they arrived, so imagine if it’s a full miner. That’s why I was saying it’s way more important than the CRT argument that was created and politicized for a program that has absolutely nothing to do with what we’re doing. I want this to be very clear. What we’re doing is really moving in a direction where we can all see ourselves in these very humanistic ways beyond race, beyond culture, beyond the social constructs that were created to divide us. And through the Black Media Studies lens, we’re able to have those conversations.
The founding faculty members of the BMS Minor hope to have created a solid and lasting foundation for the future of intersectional education at Tech for all students.
Although the courses presented in the minor have been available to LMC students for a few years, the minor opens up the opportunity to learn from Tech’s top scholars in Black Media Studies to all majors.
“That’s really what’s so fascinating about the minor is that it’s not just LMC students, it’s something that’s available now, across the institute, and we wanted to make sure that if by any chance we all end up going somewhere else or retiring or whatever, that we put something in place that has the legs for other professors and scholars to step up to superior,” Wilson said.
Students interested in a minor in BMS will be able to provisionally declare their minor as of May 2022.