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CRJ 296W Image-Making in the Age of Terror: Exploring First and Fourth Amendment Rights

Course Description: This class will explore the use of personal, commercial and governmental images- photographs, digital images, cell phone pictures, videos – from a legalistic perspective. We will examine both the ways in which images can be used to expose human rights violations (i.e. the photos of Abu Ghraib atrocities and war photography) and governmental surveillance of civilian populations. We will debase the justification and effectiveness of the government’s increased use of surveillance as a tactic in the war on terror and crime fighting. At the same time, we will explore how political activists and members of the indie media are increasingly turning their cameras and cell phones on the police at political rallies to protect against and/or document abuses of power. We will contrast the legal limitations placed on individual image makers (e.g. Ordinances requiring special permits for street photographers or people suspected of terrorism for taking pictures of landmarks) with the proliferation of surveillance cameras in both privates and public spaces. Given the widespread use of and increased public tolerance for governmental surveillance, we will also explore the true meaning of privacy in the U.S. and its implications. Finally, we will also explore the ways in which personal forms of image-making – especially through the use of the Internet – represents a democratization of the media and offer the possibility of "speaking truth" to governmental and corporate power.


3 credits