NYU Steinhardt News

MA Student Takes Home Award for Best Graduate Paper at NYSCA Conference

MCC student Audrey Turner received the award for her paper entitled "Selfies as Lacan's Mirror Stage," which she presented at last weekend's New York State Communication Association conference.

The paper, written for MCC Professor Feldman's seminar Politics of the Gaze, addresses the ways in which selfies re-imagine and re-frame the self in the digital world. Referencing theories by Derrida, Lacan, and Barthes, Audrey examines the phenomena of people who insert themselves into sites of historical violence and trauma by posing for self portraits at such landmarks as Auschwitz or Ground Zero. The paper then looks at images which proliferated on social media in response to the murders of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Often carrying hashtags like #IfTheyGunnedMeDown or #HoodiesOn, these "solidarity" selfies work to subvert the framing of black bodies as necessarily violent or threatening.

Turner is currently expanding this work into a master's thesis, researching the ways in which young girls negotiate their identities within digital spaces. Audrey says she's fascinated by how young women use selfies to control "how their self-image is produced, circulated, framed, and presented."

Several other MCC MA students had papers accepted at the NYSCA conference: Shawn Bedassie, Hessa Al-Mohannadi, Yuanjie Grace Xia, Joanne Chu Yuan Ng, and Bria Suh. The students attended the conference with MCC Professor Deborah Borisoff, who received special recognition in the program for her scholarship, teaching, and mentorship.