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Marie Shurkus

Marie Shurkus

Visiting Assistant Professor of Media Studies

M.A. Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

PhD Humanities Interdisciplinary Program, Concordia University, Montreal

My doctoral research was inspired by one of the fundamental insights that emerged from the development of digital technologies, namely that images exist separately from their material substrates. Embracing this insight, I examined the post appropriation strategies that developed in the late 1980s. Unlike the photographic appropriations of the Pictures Generation, which emphasized sameness in order to critique traditional art historical notions of authorship and signature style, I argued that these artworks were designed to emphasize difference. A chapter of my dissertation was published in the 2009 anthology Telling Stories: Countering Narrative in Art, Theory and Film. More recently, I have been exploring how the critical debates around representation have moved away from a purely semiotic analysis of imagery, toward a more phenomenal understanding of the image as an immaterial form that motivates affect. One product of this research was the essay “Camera Lucida & Affect: Beyond Representation,” published in 2013 in Routledge’s Journal Photographies. Related to this work has been my interest in performative approaches to representation. My 2013 essay “The Sublime Event with Kant, Deleuze, and Lyotard” published in the Pasadena Armory Center for the Arts catalogue Facing the Sublime in Water proposes a critical lineage for this representational approach. In addition, I have published essays on the work of many contemporary artists, includingMichael Asher, Eugenia Butler, The Feminist Art Workers, Jack Goldstein, Al Ruppersberg, and others. I also am a contributing author and co-editor for the critically celebrated catalogue It Happened At Pomona: Art at the Edge of Los Angeles, 1969-1973, published in 2011.

Teaching Philosophy
My teaching philosophy reflects my interest in the power of collaborative approaches to learning and a fundamental commitment to the basic tenets of a liberal arts education, which allows students to develop the critical skills necessary to actively participate in a global society. As an academic pursuit, Media Studies is perfectly suited to this goal because it encourages students to consider how their perceptions and understanding of both contemporary and historical issues are shaped by the consumption, distribution, and interpretation of representations. In my teaching, I work with students to enhance this understanding by exposing them to a wide range of critical texts and challenging them to sharpen their observation skills and hone their analytical abilities so as to become articulate and informed communicators. Overall, I subscribe to a pedagogical approach that fosters active and collaborative learning opportunities. This means that I favor classroom dynamics that cultivate dialogue and encourage students to take risks while maintaining a rigorous approach in their discussion of the course material.

My commitment to teaching media studies and theory has grown out of a fundamental belief in the powerful role that media representation and critical inquiry play in the development of social discourses. At the end of the day, I want students to recognize that media forms are not closed systems of communication but rather living forms that have the power to articulate and transform both the larger terrain of culture as well as the internal space of our bodies where something like “a self” is continually in the making.

Courses Taught

Video Game Studies

Reality TV & Participatory Culture: Apparatuses of Intimacy?History of American Broadcasting

Pomona Media Guild

Introduction to Digital Media Studies