USC studies “selfies” to study culture

“Selfies have become the cultural artifacts of our time, the digital mosaic that reveals how society views gender, race, class and sexuality in the 21st century,” says the news team of the University of Southern California in a recent article.

In “Studying selfies: USC’s #SelfieClass examines what online photos say about us,” writers Tanya Abrams, Raul Alcantar and Andrew Good spotlight one course at the university that is studying social media, specifically “selfies,” as a portal into cultural exploration:

“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.” — Mark Marino,  Associate Professor at the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

To get a sense of what USC students are talking about in Marino’s class, check out their video:

With new platforms of engagement in our digital age, one must wonder: is the “selfie” a discredited act of narcissism, or contemporary cultural artifact?