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Integration of Theory, History and Practice

Min-Yuen S. MaPitzer College’s Media Studies Program is unique in the United States, and perhaps even in the world, in that it takes the integration of media theory, history and practice as its founding philosophy. At Pitzer, we actively encourage our students to test out the theories and history lessons they learned through media production projects, where in turn, their media practice also informs their formulation of media theories. In this way, our program successfully bridges the critical studies/ production divide that is endemic to more traditional programs.

Furthermore, Media Studies’ emphasis on community-based learning and media activism represents our specific articulation of Pitzer’s founding principles of celebrating cultural diversity and intercultural understanding and its focus on social responsibility. When our students graduate, not only are they equipped to enter into academia or work in the media industries, they also have the option of practicing their knowledge in art, activism, independent media production, new media and numerous other new and creative fields.

As a practicing media artist who is equally influenced by my study of critical theory and my experience in grassroots political activism, I find Pitzer Media Studies to be an exciting and nurturing home base from which I can continue to develop my own praxis. The sense of community I experience here from my colleagues, students and staff is unlike any other school I have taught at. Here, I am well supported to continue to experiment, develop and attempt to push the limits of media representation, and in my teaching, I feel that often enough, I am learning as much from my students as they are from me.

—Ming-Yuen S. Ma is an assistant
professor of Media Studies
at Pitzer College.

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