Here are a few links to help you get you started on your project:
The Visual Exhibition Project is an opportunity for students to apply the concepts and ideas from this class to critically analyze visual representations of bodies that they have encountered in the world around them. Students will work with a small group of classmates to choose a topic to investigate together. Students will then observe, collect, analyze, and curate representations of bodies related to their chosen topic. this work will culminate in the creation of an online visual exhibition.
There are four parts to this assignment. First, students work in a small group to collectively choose a theme to investigate together (e.g. intersectionality; objectification; white supremacy; women’s empowerment; queer pride; and so on). Secondly, each individual in the group selects an image related to this theme and develops their own analysis of that image, in connection with course readings, lectures, and concepts. Third, the group shares their individual components with each other and—through contrasting and combining their respective individual analyses—develops a collective argument about bodily representation in the arena under investigation. They then present their group analysis to the class as an opportunity for instructor and peer feedback before the final stage of the project. Fourth and finally, the project culminates with each group collectively curating their images and analysis via the creation of an online visual exhibition. This exhibition can be as involved as the creation of a website or as simple as students designing an “exhibition” in PowerPoint or Canva and then saving it as a PDF.
Throughout this assignment, students are invited to consider the how, what, where, and why of bodily representation, including what kinds of bodies are and are not being represented within particular spaces. They are also encouraged to draw upon diverse multimedia sources in selecting their images. Potential media include, for instance: movies, memes, advertisements, children’s books, social media, advertisements, billboards, websites, textbooks, magazines, music videos, newspapers, artwork, graffiti, and other sites of bodily representation in the world around us. Some guiding questions for this assignment include:
- What kind of body/bodies is/are being portrayed? What kinds of bodies are omitted?
- In what specific ways are bodies being portrayed? What is at stake in these portrayals?
- What effects might these portrayals have? How do they shape individual experience, social relations, cultural norms, and other aspects of the world in which we live?
- How might socioeconomic inequalities have affected these bodily representations?
- In what ways do governments, corporations, and institutions regulate and control how bodies are portrayed?
- How might new technologies be transforming the possibilities for bodily representation?
- How do individuals and/or groups contest or intervene in the portrayal of bodies?
This project uses the body as a lens for exploring the intersections of local worlds and global processes, investigating how our daily lives are shaped by the forces of culture and power. It seeks to empower students to reflect upon both their own and others’ embodied experiences by bringing anthropological concepts to bear on the politics of bodily representation. It also emphasizes the skills of visual analysis as a way for students to recognize and intervene in such body politics themselves. See the above links for additional guidelines and resources, including assessment rubrics, grade descriptors, and exemplary visual exhibitions.