In Winter quarter 2015, three instructors are going to be teaching a class titled “#Idiocracy: Sex Race and Politics in the Media Age.”
Tim Jones and Katherine Oleson had taught classes in the past during the years of important national elections and the third teacher, Denise Johnson, was talking with them in a meeting when they found that their disciplines overlapped and decided they should teach together.
That combined with events occurring in winter quarter such as Martin Luther King Day and the anniversary of Japanese internment, as well as the Grammy and Oscar awards made it an optimal time to hold a class based on social issues.
According to Johnson, the class is “an examination of media representations, popular culture, and their impacts on political movements and politics generally.” Oleson explained that the class title is a reference to the movie “Idiocracy,” where people stop engaging each other as citizens and all of a sudden terrible things start happening.
Similarly, she explained that the class will focus on how distracting media can be and how it can restrict us from being active citizens.
According to Oleson, an active citizen is someone who takes part in governance by voting and participating in political and social decisions, which are fundamental functions of democracies.
Jones said that “democracy is not a spectator sport,” meaning that to have a successful democracy, the people must use their voices to help makee decisions in the country.
The class is meant to be engaging, Johnson re-emphasized that it would be structured around a wide range of events including the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards as staples for discussion. Oleson brought up some “very thought-provoking” books and films that the class might end up reading or watching, as well as some Martin Luther King speeches, particularly the ones about the Vietnam War. Both agreed that the class would be heavily discussion-based and Johnson said that everyone will get to know each other and build a community together. There will also be certain projects including a “media consumption log.”
Since media is fundamental in current society, Johnson said that the class should be useful to everybody.
The class alone fulfills full-time enrollment, counting as either 15 social science credits, or 10 social science and 5 humanities credits. It will run from 10:30 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. daily. The three teachers have designated blocks to speak but may interject to elaborate on a given idea in a different point of view.