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 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 was a germinal moment I became fascinated 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 both 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. My interests are also reflected in the courses I teach under titles such as Media and Society, Perspectives on the News, Video Representation, and Media/Culture/Power.  Part of my scholarly agenda includes the production of community-based documentary films.  My work also interweaves threads from gender studies and feminist theory; I am privileged to teach Communication and Gender and American Manhood, courses also affilitated with our 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 interlink the academic work on our 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 growing Latino population in town to help bridge the language and culture gap they experience here.  I feel strongly about leveraging 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 the capacities of students to effect positive change in the world. 

My work also has a global dimension, leading me to travel with students to Fiji and New Zealand to study cultural impact of of the intermingling of indigenous and colonial forces.  I also served as faculty director for the Justice, Peace, and Sustainable Communities semester abroad program in India.

To balance my body work with my brain work, I enjoy activities ranging from soccer and running to renovating houses and working on cars.  I 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.  I often wonder if Ira Glass' job could really be as groovy as I imagine, and I am in constant 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-235Media and Society142014/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-375Media/Culture/Power132017/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-120Public Discourse122018/SP, 2017/FA, 2017/SP, 2016/FA, 2016/SP, 2015/FA, 2015/SP, 2014/FA, 2014/SP, 2011/SP, and 2009/SP
COM-265Video Representation92018/SP, 2017/SP, 2016/SP, 2014/SP, 2012/SP, 2010/FA, 2009/FA, 2008/FA, and 2007/FA
COM-383Communication and Gender82015/SP, 2012/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-344ST:News32017/SP, 2010/SP, and 2007/FA
COM-267Video Representation22007/SP and 2006/FA
GWS-144ST:American Manhood12018/SP
FTS-100FTS:Talking Dead12015/FA
COM-206Fiji/New Zealand Cultr12015/JN
COM-268Career Exploration12014/JN
IDS-248Media/Society in India12013/FA
IDS-247Liberation Movements12013/FA
IDS-243Environment, Ecology, and Livelihood12013/FA
IDS-245India Religion, Culture, and Society12013/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