The Byrne seminar “Selfies and Digital Culture” students weren’t always in their classroom in the new Academic Building– they visited George Street Camera and the Zimmerli Art Museum, explored New Brunswick and the College Ave. campus, and took selfies on their own — but when they were, they looked like this:
On our field trip to George Street Camera, we were fortunate to witness a demonstration of rare photographic techniques using the earliest cameras and equipment. Thanks to guru/expert Greg Ritter of George Street Camera for allowing our class to visit and providing a tour of his museum filled with rare cameras and equipment.
What I want you take away from this photo is not only my smile, curly hair, and brown eyes but my appreciation for our digital culture and the many ways it unites us. It is an opportunity to document life, shape culture and express empowerment. Our generation embraces selfie culture and our goal is to share it amongst all age groups. Selfies are a great way to connect and express yourself and embrace our modern technology.
One of the things my students seemed to enjoy most was actually taking selfies as part of classwork, and then analyzing why they chose to take that particular selfie. Was it to document a moment, to share information, to take part in an ongoing conversation? Some other reason?
I took this the first night that I had to bundle up at the soccer stadium. I’m the faculty advisor for the Rutgers Women’s Soccer team and go to all the home games. It’s a beautiful stadium, the team is having a great year, and the games are great fun — stop by a game sometime, and look for me there!
Ours is a digital culture in which visuals of our selves are routinely snapped, shared, and spread. Why has the selfie become a primary means of communicating information in the digital age, and what exactly is being communicated? How are our identities, communities, and digital culture shaped and affected? In this Byrne Seminar, under the direction of Professor Mary Chayko, twenty first-year Rutgers University students will explore these issues and share our findings, our ideas, and our selfies.