Martin Lang

Alumni and Faculty

When I was seven years old, I had a terrible falling out with my neighborhood pal.  We nearly came to blows 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.) That moment planted an important seed for my fascination with the extraordinary role 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, gender studies, and rhetorical criticism—all bodies of knowledge that contribute to my teaching and research.  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. The courses I teach--under titles such as Screen: Intro to Critical Media Studies, News: The Fourth Estate, Video Representation, and Media/Culture/Power--reflect these curiosities.  Part of my scholarly agenda includes the production of community-based documentary films, which provide me another avenue to explore and act on media's "constitutive" role in the world.  Gender studies and feminist theory also shape my perspectives, and I am privileged to teach courses such as American Manhood and Communication and Gender.  Many of my courses are included in the Film and Media Studies or Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies curricula in addition to Communication Studies. 

Since arriving at Gustavus, I have worked to connect our academic work on campus to the local community through community-based learning and civic engagement initiatives.  Students in my Video Representation course develop 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.  Recent collaborations include producing local history films with the Nicollet County Historical Society and working with our growing Latino population in town to help bridge the language and culture gaps many experience here.  It's important to leverage the knowledge and resources on college campuses for positive social change, objectives I also pursue through my work with student groups and campus committees on issues that include gender-based violence, racism, and GLBTQ concerns. I also contribute to our department's nationally-recognized Public Discourse program, which has profoundly shifted my perspective on students' abilities to make positive change in the world.  In 2019, I was recognized with the Presidents' Civic Engagement Steward Award through Campus Compact Minnesota. 

My work also has a global dimension, leading me to travel with students to Fiji and New Zealand to studyn the intermingling of indigenous and colonial influences in modern cultures.  I have also served as faculty director for the Social Justice, Peace, and Development semester abroad program in India.

To balance my brain work with the rest of my body, I enjoy activities ranging from soccer and running to renovating houses and working on cars.  I also build stained glass pieces, play video games, bake, read Sherman Alexie novels, seek out new and obscure documentary films, and ocasionally read bedtime stories to other people's kids (by invitation only, of course).  I often wonder if Ira Glass' job could really be as groovy as I imagine, and I am in perpetual pursuit of the perfect caramel corn.


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

Courses Taught

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
COM-120 Public Discourse 14 2019/SP, 2018/FA, 2018/SP, 2017/FA, 2017/SP, 2016/FA, 2016/SP, 2015/FA, 2015/SP, 2014/FA, 2014/SP, 2011/SP, and 2009/SP
COM-375 Media/Culture/Power 14 2018/FA, 2017/FA, 2016/FA, 2015/FA, 2014/FA, 2011/FA, 2010/FA, 2009/FA, 2008/FA, 2008/SP, 2007/SP, 2006/FA, 2006/SP, and 2005/FA
COM-235 Media and Society 14 2014/SP, 2012/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-265 Video Representation 10 2019/SP, 2018/SP, 2017/SP, 2016/SP, 2014/SP, 2012/SP, 2010/FA, 2009/FA, 2008/FA, and 2007/FA
COM-383 Communication and Gender 8 2015/SP, 2012/SP, 2011/FA, 2011/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/FA, 2009/SP, and 2008/SP
COM-397 Honors Thesis 6 2011/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/FA, 2009/SP, 2008/SP, and 2007/SP
COM-344 ST:News 3 2017/SP, 2010/SP, and 2007/FA
COM-115 Screen 2 2019/SP and 2018/FA
COM-267 Video Representation 2 2007/SP and 2006/FA
GWS-144 ST:American Manhood 1 2018/SP
FTS-100 FTS:Talking Dead 1 2015/FA
COM-206 Fiji/New Zealand Cultr 1 2015/JN
COM-268 Career Exploration 1 2014/JN
IDS-243 Environment, Ecology, and Livelihood 1 2013/FA
IDS-248 Media/Society in India 1 2013/FA
IDS-245 India Religion, Culture, and Society 1 2013/FA
IDS-246 Global Development 1 2013/FA
IDS-247 Liberation Movements 1 2013/FA
NDL-149 New Zealand's Cultures 1 2011/JN
COM-105 Media and Maori in New Zealand 1 2007/JN
COM-205 Gender in Television and Film 1 2006/JN
COM-266 Broadcasting 1 2005/FA