Martin Lang ’95

Alumni and Faculty

When I was seven years old, I had a terrible falling out with my neighborhood pal.  We nearly came to blows fighting over whether or not it was OK for me to play Wonder Woman in our backyard adventures. (I have long been impressed with her bullet-blocking bracelets.) It was then, or soon thereafter, that I became fascinated with the extraordinary and complex role that media play in our day-to-day lives.  Eventually I put down my golden lasso and got to work setting my intellectual roots in media studies, cultural studies and rhetorical criticism—all bodies of knowledge that contribute both to my research and my teaching.  I am particularly interested in the ways that television, film, newspapers, the internet, and other mass media contribute to our individual and collective senses of identity, including such characteristics as gender, race, socioeconomic class, and sexuality. My research is also reflected in the courses I teach under titles such as Media and Society, Perspectives on the News, and Media, Culture, Power. My work both in and out of the classroom also interweaves vital threads from gender studies and feminist theory, and I am privileged to teach Communication and Gender, a course cross-listed with the Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies program, as well as courses in the Film and Media Studies program.

Since arriving at Gustavus, I have been striving to effectively link our academic work on “the Hill” to the local community around us through community-based research and civic engagement initiatives.  Students in my Video Representation course model this effort, developing their skills and knowledge as they produce short documentary films in collaboration with local community partners.  Those partners then use the films for their own purposes, whether to promote the services offered by their non-profit agency or to help bridge the language and culture gap for the growing Latino population in our town.  Such projects reflect part of my grand plan to better harness the knowledge and productivity on college campuses for positive social change. I also pursue these objectives through my personal involvement with student groups and campus committees on issues that include gender-based violence, racism, and GLBTQ concerns. 

My interests have also taken on an international scope, leading me to travel with students to New Zealand to study how the Maori (New Zealand’s indigenous peoples) have utilized media to preserve and enhance their language and culture.  I also served as faculty director for the Social Justice, Peace, and Development program in India, travelling with students throughout the world's biggest democracy and sharing experiences that shattered many of our assumptions about our role as Americans in promoting peace and prosperity around the globe.

To balance the work of my mind with that of my body, I enjoy activities ranging from soccer and running to renovating houses and working on cars. To unwind, I build stained glass pieces, play video games, bake, read Sherman Alexie novels, seek out new and obscure documentary films, read bedtime stories to other people's children, and listen to This American Life. I am in constant pursuit of the perfect caramel corn, and I harbor a strong yet largely unfounded dislike for Matt Lauer.

Education

B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College; M.A. and Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Interests

India and New Zealand


Courses Taught

Current

COM-120 (Public Discourse), COM-235 (Media and Society), and COM-265 (Video Representation)

Past
Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
COM-235Media and Society132012/SP, 2011/FA, 2011/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/SP, 2008/FA, 2008/SP, 2007/FA, 2007/SP, 2006/FA, 2006/SP, and 2005/FA
COM-375Media/Culture/Power92011/FA, 2010/FA, 2009/FA, 2008/FA, 2008/SP, 2007/SP, 2006/FA, 2006/SP, and 2005/FA
COM-383Communication and Gender72012/SP, 2011/FA, 2011/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/FA, 2009/SP, and 2008/SP
COM-397Honors Thesis62011/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/FA, 2009/SP, 2008/SP, and 2007/SP
COM-265Video Representation52012/SP, 2010/FA, 2009/FA, 2008/FA, and 2007/FA
COM-120Public Discourse22011/SP and 2009/SP
COM-344Special Topic: Perspectives on News22010/SP and 2007/FA
COM-267Video Representation22007/SP and 2006/FA
COM-268Career Exploration12014/JN
IDS-247Liberation Movements12013/FA
IDS-248Media/Society in India12013/FA
IDS-245India Religion, Culture, and Society12013/FA
IDS-243Environment, Ecology, and Livelihood12013/FA
IDS-246Global Development12013/FA
NDL-149New Zealand's Cultures12011/JN
COM-105Media and Maori in New Zealand12007/JN
COM-205Gender in Television and Film12006/JN
COM-266Broadcasting12005/FA