The subject of work is often overlooked in the teaching of media literacy. However, representations of work are abundant and significant for how we understand the middle classes, the working class, and the working poor. Work also shapes how we rationalize and explain political and economic ideas and lived experiences.
Television shows such as The Office, Parks and Recreation, The Fall, The Killing, reality TV such as Undercover Boss and Border Wars, and films such as Elysium, Alien, The Wrestler, and The Hunger Games deal with the opportunities for work, the jobs people do, how they do them, and how that work is monitored and mediated. They also construct social meaning about the people who do particular jobs. Documentary films on the evolution of women’s labor, migrant labor, and even public relations all point to work as an important area to be interrogated and brought into the teaching of media literacy. Importantly, work always intersects with gender, class, race, and sexuality, and has larger political and economic implications.
Teaching Media Quarterly seeks materials to be used in the classroom that critically investigate the intersection of work and media. Work is defined broadly here. It includes the actual variety of jobs people do and their workplaces. It relates to questions of labor unions, and also to questions of waged and unwaged labor. Work intersects with class, race, gender, sexuality, and place. Work is engendered in the production of media, and we engage in emotional labor when we interact with media. Particularly, we are interested in lessons that address the following:
- How do questions of race, class, gender, sexuality, place, and national identity emerge in media narratives about work?
- What is the relationship between work and economic and social inequality?
- How do representations of work in media operate as a struggle over competing cultural values, as well as political, economic, and media imperatives?
- What are the sites of immaterial labor and hidden labor? How do they impact our understanding of the economy?
- What is the relationship between labor unions, workers’ struggles for better working conditions, and media conglomerates?
- How does work become a mediated site at which “good citizenship” is constructed and cultivated?
- What kinds of political economy and environmentalist questions are important to ask when approaching work and media?
Teaching Media Quarterly Submission Guidelines & Review Policy
Teaching Media Quarterly seeks innovative assignments and lessons that can be used to critically engage with the topic of work for use in undergraduate classrooms. All submissions must include: 1) a title, 2) an overview and comprehensive rationale (using accessible language explain the purpose of the assignment(s) and define key terms) (250-500 words), 3) a general timeline, 4) a detailed lesson plan and assignment instructions, 5) teaching materials (handouts, rubrics, discussion prompts, viewing guides, etc.), 6) a full bibliography of readings, links, and/or media examples, and 7) a short biography (100-150 words).
Please email all submissions in ONE Microsoft Word document to
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: November 14, 2014
Submissions will be reviewed by each member of the editorial board. Editors will make acceptance decisions based on their vision for the issue and an assessment of contributions. It is the goal of Teaching Media Quarterly to notify submitters of the editors’ decisions within two weeks of submission receipt.
Teaching Media Quarterly is dedicated to circulating practical and timely approaches to media concepts and topics from a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives. Our goal is to promote collaborative exchange of undergraduate teaching resources between media educators at higher education institutions. As we hope for continuing discussions and exchange as well as contributions to Teaching Media Quarterly we encourage you to visit our website at http://www.teachingmedia.org/