Communications and Media Studies Speaker Series Feb. 4 and Mar. 25

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Washington College’s Communication and Media Studies (CMS) Speaker Series resumes this semester with Allison Page, Assistant Professor of Communication and Theatre Arts at Old Dominion University, and Stephanie Brown, visiting Assistant Professor of Communication at St. Louis University, speaking on the issues of race and gender, respectively.

Page’s talk, “ ‘Meet, Help, Become a Slave…to Better Understand History’: Race and Agency in Educational Videogames” is set for Feb. 4, and Brown’s presentation “Open Mic?: Gender, Labor, and Gatekeeping in Stand-up Comedy,” will be March 25. Both events, held at Litrenta Lecture Hall in the Toll Science Center, are free and open to the public. Page’s talk begins at 4:30 p.m. and Brown’s begins at 5:30.

Page, who holds a joint appointment in Old Dominion’s Humanities Institute, focuses on critical cultural studies of race and mediated technologies. Her presentation will examine the educational role-playing videogame Flight to Freedom, part of the Mission U.S. series of games designed to teach middle school students about the history of slavery in the United States. Through an analysis of the game as well as the broader educational agenda and policy discourse in which Flight to Freedom is situated, Page argues that the game is a technology of racialized citizenship, part of a longer legacy of public media works that govern race.

Allison Page and Stephanie Brown

Brown, whose research looks at the intersections of gender, comedy, and popular culture, will discuss how stand-up comedy tends to produce and exacerbate gendered and racial inequality, especially at the local, least formalized levels. Like other cultural industries, stand-up is marked by short-term precarious employment, informal networks of entry, and a lack of managerial structure or formal policies on diversity and inclusion. Brown’s presentation will also touch on the ways in which women, especially queer women and women of color, are treated within the stand-up industry—locally, nationally, and in digital spaces—as outsiders who must constantly prove their worth through a shifting and slippery set of aesthetic and cultural norms that reinforce masculine dominance both on and offstage.

The CMS Speaker Series is dedicated to advancing discourse and learning around contemporary issues in communication and media studies across disciplines.For more information on the CMS program, please visit https://www.washcoll.edu/departments/communication-and-media-studies/ or contact Prof. Alicia Kozma at akozma2@washcoll.edu

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 39 states and territories and 25 nations.With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

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