Martin LangAlumni and Faculty

When I was seven years old, I had a terrible falling out with my neighborhood pal over whether or not it was OK for me to play Wonder Woman in our backyard adventures. (Those bullet-blocking bracelets amazed me.)  That incident planted in me a fascination for the powerful ways media shape how we see ourselves and each other.  Eventually I put down my golden lasso and took up research and teaching in media studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and rhetorical criticism.  I study and teach the ways that media contribute to our individual and collective senses of identity, including characteristics like gender, race, socioeconomic class, and sexuality.

The media-focused courses I teach, such as Intro to Critical Media Studies and Media/Culture/Power, reflect the curiosity that was sparked when I was a kid in my backyard.  Gender studies and feminist theory also shape my perspectives, and many of my courses are included in the curricula for the Film and Media Studies and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies programs. Much of my research examines how media influence power dynamics in society in both oppressive and liberating ways.

I have worked to translate these ideas into action by grounding many of my courses and research projects in community-engaged learning and action.  Students in my courses develop new skills and knowledge as they work on real-word issues with community partners such as the Nicollet County Historical Society, Saint Peter School District, Special Olympics, Mankato Free Press, and the La Union community organization. I also contribute to our department's nationally-recognized Public Discourse program, which has had profound effects on students' abilities to make positive change in the world.  My own scholarship also includes collaborations in the community where I live. For example, I have worked with community partners to create documentary films that spark dialogue on important issues like racial equity, immigration, and environmental sustainability.  In 2019, I was recognized with the Presidents' Civic Engagement Steward Award through Campus Compact. 

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

When I'm not prepping a syllabus or editing a video sequence, I play pickup soccer, work on cars, build stained glass pieces, play video games, bake, read Sherman Alexie books, seek out funky documentaries, rewatch The Big Lebowski with my partner, and occasionally try to distract our dogs from the squeaking bicycle wheel or distant ambulance siren that they seem to think pose a mortal threat to us all.  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

COM-120 (Public Discourse) and COM-265 (Media Representation)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
COM-375 Media/Culture/Power 18 2023/FA, 2022/FA, 2021/FA, 2020/FA, 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 Stories That Shape Us 18 2023/FA, 2022/FA, 2021/FA, 2021/SP, 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-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-265 Media Representation 11 2022/SP, 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-115 Intro Critical Media 5 2023/SP, 2021/FA, 2020/FA, 2019/SP, and 2018/FA
FTS-100 FTS:#college 3 2022/FA, 2020/FA, and 2015/FA
COM-344 ST:News 3 2017/SP, 2010/SP, and 2007/FA
COM-365 News: The Fourth Estate 2 2022/SP and 2021/SP
COM-267 Video Representation 2 2007/SP and 2006/FA
NDL-268 Career Exploration 1 2024/JN
GWS-144 ST:American Manhood 1 2018/SP
COM-206 Fiji/New Zealand Cultr 1 2015/JN
COM-268 Career Exploration 1 2014/JN
IDS-246 Global Development 1 2013/FA
IDS-245 India Religion, Culture, and Society 1 2013/FA
IDS-243 Environment, Ecology, and Livelihood 1 2013/FA
IDS-247 Liberation Movements 1 2013/FA
IDS-248 Media/Society in India 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