The cultural phenomenon that is the selfie is making its way into academia in the United States.
Selfies continue their seemingly unstoppable march into every area of modern life, with various U.S. colleges to offer courses on the selfie and the art of snapping them, according to The Times of India.
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Academic institutions now offering courses on the selfie
Students at Indiana University Northwest will be offered the 400-level class by communications professor Eve Bottando. She claims that her students would discuss ongoing research into selfies, and the issues that the phenomenon raises about contemporary society, according to 6abc.com. Students are apparently excited to find out about the popularity of the selfie.
At the University of Southern California, the selfie is described as a “cultural artifact.” Writing professor Mark C. Marino will teach the “#SelfieClass” in order to allow students to analyze “society’s influence on self-identity, and how selfies reflect and affect the global culture in which we live.”
Students at the University of California-Los Angeles will be offered a similar course in the Digital Humanities department. Lecturer Miriam Posner will teach a class entitled “Selfies, Snapchat, and CyberBullies: Coming of Age Online.”
Cultural phenomenon ripe for study
Considering the manner in which the selfie has bulldozed its way into popular culture since the advent of smartphones, it should not come as too much of a surprise that it is now subject to study. After all, the selfie has become part of modern culture and its popularity looks set to increase as younger generations become increasingly connected.
Technology has evolved to make the selfie easier to take, with front cameras on smartphones and selfie sticks which widen your selfie possibilities. The Huawei Honor 7i smartphone will feature one camera which flips around for selfie opportunities, while Acer released a phone called the ZenFone Selfie which specifically targets selfie fans.
Hopefully the courses will offer the opportunity to study the effects on the human psyche of a seemingly constant need for approval on social media, and the dangers of the obsession. This public information campaign in Russia surely deserves a mention for underlining the fact that daring selfies can in fact lead to death and injury.