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. (Those bullet-blocking bracelets amazed me).  That incident planted a fascination for the many 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 television, film, newspapers, the internet, and other 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 Screen: 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 I am privileged to teach courses such as American Manhood and Communication and Gender.  Many of my courses are also included in the Film and Media Studies minor or the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies curriculum. Much of my research examines how media influence power dynamics in society, whether by reinforcing oppressive power structures or enabling new and liberating viewpoints to proliferate in the world. 

I have worked to translate these ideas into action by grounding many of my courses and research projects in community-based 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.  It can be powerful to connect a community's knowledge skills with the resources of the College.  For example, I have worked with community partners to create documentary films that spark dialogue on important issues like racial equity, immigration, and environmental sustainablity.  In 2019, I was recognized with the Presidents' Civic Engagement Steward Award through Minnesota 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 all who participated.

When I'm not prepping a syllabus or editing a film clip, I play pickup soccer, work on cars, build stained glass pieces, play video games, bake, read Sherman Alexie books, seek out new and obscure documentaries, rewatch The Big Lebowski with my partner, and ocasionally try to distract our dogs from the squeaking bicycle wheel or distant ambulance siren that (based on their reactions) clearly poses 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.

Education

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


Courses Taught

COM-115 (Screen), COM-375 (Media/Culture/Power), and FTS-100 (FTS:#college)

Past
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-248 Media/Society in India 1 2013/FA
IDS-243 Environment, Ecology, and Livelihood 1 2013/FA
IDS-247 Liberation Movements 1 2013/FA
IDS-246 Global Development 1 2013/FA
IDS-245 India Religion, Culture, and Society 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