New course allows students to see world through a different perspective


Courtesy of Ken Martin.

Visual and Global Contexts, a brand new course in photojournalism that is being offered by the Communications, Journalism and Media department, offers students a chance to learn about the world through a unique lens.

The course is part of the curriculum for the new CJN major, global and cultural communication.

This major focuses on different communication styles across the globe, studying intercultural communication, media, rhetoric and more.

The class is being taught by senior lecturer Kenneth Martin. He has a dense history in photography, and has been a member of Suffolk University’s community for 38 years, teaching photojournalism and study-abroad classes such as, “Discover the Mysteries of Senegal” and “Lens on Italy: Photojournalism in Tuscania.”

“We want to study basically how other cultures look at photo essays … because people see things in a different way and students will be able to appreciate, review and reflect on what photo essay is all about and this form of communication,” Martin said. “We want to make [the class] different, more cultural and not just photographic.”

Along with Martin, Associate Professor Shoshana Madmoni-Gerber has been involved with the creation of the new course and the new global and cultural communication major.

“Having the grasp of good visual skills on the critical analysis level helps our understanding of others. It helps enhance your criticism and your thought process,” said Madmoni-Gerber, a longtime researcher of intercultural communication.

Madmoni-Gerber recalls interviewing a photographer in Yemen, Amira Sharif. Sharif said that she uses photos to communicate many issues because there is a large number of people who are illiterate in Yemen, but they can understand photos.

“Intercultural photography is a great skill to have to go into a world of social justice, especially as someone with a communications degree you may be asked to help,” Madmoni-Gerber said.

Students don’t need a professional camera for the class, just the camera on their cell phone.

“As a little added bonus … no one gets out of class without learning the basics and know how to get out there and make nice photos, whether it’s just for personal use or to go into journalism or even fine art,” Martin said. “If you’re with me you’re always going to get a good dose of that.”

Using these photography skills will be required, as students can expect to create their own visual work.

“Whatever the issues we discuss or the issues they feel passionate about, that will be what they do. So, they’ll create their own visual work based on the historical and contemporary aspects of things with the global perspective,” Martin said.

In addition to doing creative work, Martin said the class will feature guest speakers and the usual research paper and assignments. Visual and Global Contexts is being offered online synchronously on Monday 6:00-8:30 p.m., and while the class is currently full, it will be offered again in the future.

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