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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
My department's redesign of its frontpage irritates me. A lot. 
20th-Oct-2008 02:41 pm
One guess why. Below is a screencap; take a look:

So, what do we have here? An Indonesian Muslim student in a headscarf, flanked by two middle-aged, white male professors, who somehow loom larger in the frame than she does, even though one of them is less foregrounded than she. It's supposed to look cosmopolitan and inclusive, but instead it just looks like a hegemonic reproduction of global minority relations. Never mind for now who the student actually is (her name is Rianne, and she's brilliant), but there is an ugly intersection of gender, race, and ethnic prejudice, along with the comparatively innocent relationship of teacher and student, happening here, and you can't help but get the feeling that there is a paternal relationship between her and the professors that transcends the merely academic. Not to suggest that the academic relationship of West to East isn't in itself problematic--a whole 'nother can of worms. But when you consider the way in which NYU is becoming a post-colonial colonizer of the Middle East (with its "full-service" branch in Abu Dhabi), the photo becomes downright sinister.
20th-Oct-2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
My first glance at that photo, before reading anything of what it’s supposed to show, I thought it was only meant to show the guy in glasses, like his staff bio picture or something. Everyone else is just fuzzed out background noise ^^;
21st-Oct-2008 03:19 am (UTC)

I wondered (1) Is she the only woman? (2) Why are they all white? and (3) Ah, worse, she's female and of another culture.

Instead of making me feel inclusive in this picture, I would feel the urge to just leave and not stick out like a sore thumb...
21st-Oct-2008 03:27 am (UTC)
I know. They're going for the "We're inclusive! We're global!" in the photo, but it comes off making Rianne look like an exotic Other.
21st-Oct-2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
Strange. Usually US universities go for the politically correct image of a group of students: one white, one Asian, and one black. Though recently I've seen a lot of Muslim veils on women which makes me smirk for some reason.
23rd-Oct-2008 03:32 am (UTC)
They better admit Rianne into the PhD program after using her like this! XD
23rd-Oct-2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
You better remind her then^_^
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