Drawing on the Lucila Vargas essay, "Media Practices and Gendered Identities among Transnational Latina Teens," in which she asks girls/young women to develop collages and explain them, please compose either a "cut and paste" or digital collage of identity, ethnicity, gender, and popular culture in relation to yourself and the university.
This was the first assignment given to the class. It was posted even before we met. I know that our students are very visually oriented and digitally proficient so I thought this assignment would tap into both of these tendencies. Moreover, the chance to engage in popular culture and their own definitions of self was open ended enough that I hoped the assignment would elicit great creativity and enthusiasm. Finally, it was a way to begin talking about auto ethnography as the assignment was basically an exercise in observation of the self. I thought this assignment would start the class with the students as creators and researchers, enabling their thinking of themselves as contributors to the production of knowledge.
How it worked:
I was unprepared for the fabulosity of their work. Their collages were wonderful! Some of them were of publishable quality in fact I am exploring the possibility of composing a digital essay for a journal. I followed up this assignment with a written narrative again connecting Vargas' essay to their collage. Most of them wrote very long essays about self, history, and popular culture. Most of them were personal and revealing.