Susana Loza is an associate professor of media culture at Hampshire College. She received B.A. degrees in Political Science and Psychology from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Ethnic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. She teaches cultural studies, critical race theory, film and media studies, popular music, feminist theory, and ethnic studies. Her research interests include the social construction of race and sex in speculative media; power, privilege and cultural appropriation; gender and ethnic performativity in digital spaces; the politics of sampling and remixing; colonial cosplay in steampunk; the activist potential of social media; and the post-racial turn in popular culture.
Professor Loza’s publications include “Imperial Fictions: Doctor Who, Post-Racial Slavery, and Other Liberal Humanist Fantasies,” “Steampunk Style and the After-Life of Empire,” “Hashtag Feminism, #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, and the Other #FemFuture,” “Playing Alien in Post-Racial Times,” “Samples of the Past: Performative Nostalgia, Illicit Sounds, and Cultural Transformation in Latin House Music,” “Sampling (Hetero)sexuality: Diva-ness and Discipline in Electronic Dance Music,” “Vampires, Queers, and Other Monsters: Against the Homonormativity of True Blood,” and “Orientalism and Film Noir: Subjective Sins and Othered Desires.” Her current project, Speculative Imperialisms: Monstrosity and Masquerade in Post-Racial Times (Lexington Books, Forthcoming 2016), explores the resurgence of racial masquerade in science fiction, horror, and fantasy and contemplates the fundamental, albeit changing, role that ethnic simulation plays in American and British cultures in a putatively post-racial and post-colonial era.
This seminar will explore the interface of technology with gender and race, how the concepts of gender, race, and sexuality are embodied in technologies, and conversely, how technologies shape our notions of gender, race, and sexuality. It will examine how contemporary products - such as film, TV, video games, science fiction, social networking technologies, and biotech - reflect and mediate long-standing but ever-shifting anxieties about race, gender, and sexuality. The course will consider the following questions: How do cybertechnologies enter into our personal, social, and work lives? Do these technologies offer new perspectives on cultural difference? How does cyberculture reinscribe or rewrite gender, racial, and sexual dichotomies? Does it open up room for alternative identities, cultures, and communities? Does it offer the possibility of transcending the sociocultural limits of the body? Finally, what are the political implications of these digital technologies? This course is reading-, writing-, and theory-intensive.
This course examines the fraught intersection of politics and popular culture. In this class, we ask: What is popular culture? How does it differ from other cultural expressions? How does popular culture connect to other aspects of social, economic and political experience? What differences, if any, are there between "high" and "low" culture? Is consuming pop culture products a form of political action? How do explicit political themes both enrich and detract from consumption? What economic imperatives drive popular culture production? What are the relationships between commerce, politics, and art? How does popular culture act as a vehicle for the appropriation or exploitation of other cultures? Particular attention will be paid to: the racialized construction of masculinity and femininity in popular culture; the appropriation of racial and gender identities; the role of global capitalism and the market in the production of popular culture. This course is reading-, writing-, and theory-intensive.
How does popular culture reproduce gendered identities and racialized difference(s)? By critically investigating racial stereotypes and hetero-sexist conventions within the varied field of popular culture (images, texts, and sounds), we can begin to understand and analyze how race and sexuality structure our desires and code our cultures. This course will employ Cultural Studies and Women's Studies to examine how the themes of exotification, hybridity, authenticity, cultural appropriation, essentialism, and liberal humanism circulate within the popular imaginary. In the process, we will consider the following questions: Can the consumption of popular culture be more ethical and active? What are the politics of production and consumption in an age of communication overload? What is resistance? Where is it located? How much agency does a consumer actually have? How responsible is the producer for his/her productions? Can gendered and raced commodities be used to explore difference? Or will their consumption lead to the reinforcement of sexist, racist, and homophobic stereotypes?
In the wake of Obama's historic presidency, the American media triumphantly declared that we are living in post-racial times. But is race dead? Are we color-blind? If so, how do we explain the persistence of racism and racial inequality in the US? Utilizing an interdisciplinary amalgam of Ethnic Studies, Critical Race Theory, Media Studies, US Third World Feminism, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Political Philosophy, and Post-Colonial Theory, this course will investigate how "race" continues to shape American society in the post-civil rights era. Topics to be covered include: the social construction of race, racial formation, panethnicity, class-based and gendered racialization, multiculturalism, neoliberalism, double-consciousness, colonialism, essentialism, institutional racism, commodification of race/ethnicity, identity politics, colorblind ideology, cultural appropriation, resistance, and citizenship. Particular attention will be paid to affirmative action, immigration, hate speech, hate crimes, reparations, racial profiling, and the resurgence of white supremacy. This course is reading-, writing-, and theory-intensive. Prerequisite: Division II and III students only.
Associate Professor of Media Culture
Mail Code CS
Adele Simmons Hall 200
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002