Group AB discussion meeting with Connor – 05/03/2019

Today’s meeting with Connor (our penultimate meeting with our project supervisor) was a productive one. As a group, we have narrowed down the main focus of our project to the theme of climate change. We will be looking at how differing media documentations of climate change reflect, or represent, the documentations/evidence of climate change that the Earth itself has provided. This direction of focus has allowed us to further update our research question to the following:

To what extent do the media documentations of climate change reflect the documentations of the Earth itself?

Using this question as a starting point, we also made good progress in outlining the structure of our presentation in the meeting today. Our presentation will start off with a brief discussion of media theories and how differing media forms affect the dissemination of information (specifically regarding climate change). Then, Sebastian (as a Geography major) will start us off by discussing how geographical studies of the planet provides evidence for the magnitude of climate change and its effect on the imminent future of the planet. Using this information at the core of our presentation, we have decided to split our research on a variety of media forms and bring them all into discussion on how they document the reality of climate change in a manner specific to their medium.

I will be focusing on popular culture and specifically the documentation of climate change through the medium of cinema. As a primary case study I will be examining Davis Guggenheim’s (2006) documentary film An Inconvenient Truth. Depending on circumstances of time and relatability, I may also discuss Martin Durkin’s (2007) documentary film The Great Global Warming Swindle to offer an opposite perspective. These two films in particular can offer an interesting contrast with one another as the former documentary focuses on the devastating repercussions that human activity has had and continues to have on the planet, while the latter aims to promote a message of skepticism regarding climate change. Furthermore, in my own independent research I have found numerous scholarly resources that discuss the specific effect that cinematic representations of climate change have on public perception; ideas that I will certainly be discussing in the presentation.

Kistina will then relate our thesis to her own allocated area of research; that is, the way mass media (such as Fox News and other such establishments) corporations comment on or represent the matter of climate change. Similar to the way in which I will discuss film, she will be commenting on the different perspectives that certain major mass media outlets offer on climate change in relation to their respective political agendas.

Finally, Kayoko and Greta will be doing with same for social media, ending our main presentation with a focus on a contemporary form of media documentation and an unprecedented source of information. They will likewise be discussing the effect that representing climate change through social media has had on the dissemination of ideas surrounding it.

This is what we have come up with so far. We are all quite confident that in the progress we have made so far, and we are satisfied with our plans moving forward. We have agreed to each have certain slides prepared for our independent meeting next week (13/03/2019). This way, we will be able to draw connections across our independent research and hopefully then finalize both our question and our thesis statement.

Document Group AB (Ares, Greta, Kayoko, Kistina, Sebastian)

Document A (ideas meeting), 22/02/18

We discussed potential themes to focus on for our project. It seems we are leaning towards an interdisciplinary study of race relations, using the recent Black Lives Matter movement in the US as a case study. Using this as a building block, we will look at not only the various documents that surround the movement (both presently looking at the recent uprisings in Charlottesville and historically through comparing it with the Black Panther Party), but also the different ways that ideas surrounding this movement have been documented, such as through film, TV and social media. Politics, Geography, Philosophy, Film and History are all relevant and will all be discussed.

Here are some key terms and documents we find essential to this theme:
– Social movements
– Black culture and popular culture
– #BlackLivesMatter
– Charlottesville, Virginia
– Black Panther Party
– Black Panther Party manifesto
– Black Socialists of America
– Kehinde Andres – Back to Black (book)
– Russel Brand – Under the Skin (podcast)
– Deeyah Khan – White Right: Meeting the Enemy (Netflix documentary)
– Spike Lee – Blackkklansman (film)

Here is a potential research question we came up with (subject to change):

What is the relationship between ‘social movements’, their practice of documents, and documents about them? A case study of race relations in the US and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

We will use the week ahead to read, listen to, or watch some of the documents listed above, and re-group next week to move forward on formulating a plan and a question.

Kistina and Ares