Scholars Colloquium by Isabel Molina-Guzmán

#Blaxican: Reflections on Race as Visual Technology
26 Apr 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Annenberg School for Communication
ASC Only

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Beginning with the Instagram hashtag turned Los Angeles community art exhibit, #Blaxican (Black and Mexican), Isabel Molina-Guzmán engages social media as empirical archive for exploring race as visual technology. Race as visual technology builds on the work of visual studies scholar Jennifer González, who proposes that race and photography work as a “visual system of power,” a type of technology producing “truth effects” meant to “naturalize ideological systems by making them visibly, and apparently, self-evident.”[1]

In this workshop, Molina-Guzmán reflects on several case studies to explore how African-descendent Latinas/os (Afro-Latinas/os) as well as mixed-race Latinos (i.e. Blaxicans) both reify and trouble the truth effects of race as visual technology. As the 2015 Pew Research Center report on multiracial identity documented, both communities are part of a quickly emerging demographic group challenging the legacies of US ethnic and racial categories.[2]

[1]Morphologies: Race as Visual Technology” in Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self (New York: International Center of Photography, 2003).

[2] Pew Research Center. 2015. “Multiracial in America: Proud, Diverse and Growing in Numbers.” Washington, D.C.: June

Isabel Molina-Guzmán is an Associate Dean of the Graduate College and Associate Professor of Latina/o Studies and Media and Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She also holds faculty affiliations in Gender & Women Studies and the Center for Caribbean and Latin America Studies. Her research centers on issues of social justice, inequality and the representational politics of identity with a special emphasis on US Latinas/Latinos and the mainstream media. Professor Molina-Guzmán is author of Dangerous Curves: Latina bodies in the media (2010, NYU) which examines discourses about iconic Latinas such as America Ferrera, Marisleysis González, Salma Hayek and others circulated online and in film, television, newspapers and tabloid texts. Her interdisciplinary research on race, ethnicity and gender in the media has appeared in blogs and numerous journals and edited collections, such as Critical Studies in Media Communication, Popular Communication, Journalism and Latino Studies.