USC is one of the top 25 universities in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. It also has a “selfie class,” or, as the school puts it, a #SelfieClass.
The obvious response to this news, of course is, like, WTF?
Lucky for you, USC recently explained its selfie class. Notably, the school contends, “selfie class” is really just a new description for an old course, “Writing 150: Writing and Critical Reasoning: Identity and Diversity.”
The freshman class explores society's influence on self-identity as well as selfies' reflection of contemporary global culture. Explains the clas prof, Mark Marino:
When we look at selfies, we’re also looking at the beginning of the 21st century. The cultural moment of the selfies will pass and become something that’s iconic of our age, the same way that photographic self-portraits or painting self-portraits or religious journals were the selfies of their moment.
Selfies, the school says, are about femininity, sexuality and ethnicity. They're both about self-acceptance and group acceptance.
“Selfies are not just about self-portraiture,” says Alison Trope, clinical professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. “They are also autobiographies and autoethnographies.”
They're not just for showing your friends that you were at the hottest restaurant last night?
The more interesting ones deliberately challenge conventions or templates of a beautiful face and body, and really try to show something broader about who you are as a person, about how your identity can be about performance or politics or changing norms. As this kind of use of the selfie travels via networks and social media, it can potentially take on a kind of cultural and collective power.
If you're somehow still giggling about USC having a selfie class, and you happen to be affiliated with crosstown rival UCLA (ranked 23rd in the nation), just stop.
UCLA has a selfie class too.