Introducing Kulture

Kulture Asian American Media Watchdog (PRNewsFoto/Kulture Media)

There’s a new watchdog on the block called Kulture, a website devoted to tracking offensive representations of Asian Americans in the media. Explains Kulture’s founder Tim Gupta in the September 28 press release: “Many Asians know TV shows represent them in a bad light. But they may think they’re alone in that view. Kulture spotlights how Hollywood mocks and excludes Asian men while fetishizing Asian women. Kulture helps Asians and those concerned about media racism stay abreast of how Asians are depicted, and we will eventually serve as a platform for them to take action against Hollywood offenders.”

The site is easy to navigate and as it builds up more data it will be interesting to track offenders by media outlets, media types (TV shows, TV ads, movies, magazine ads), most recent offenses, and worst offenses. Offense categories include Denigration (Asians are weak), Denigration (Mockery of Asians), Gender (Asian Woman as plaything to White Male), Gender (White Male gets girl over Asian male), and Self-Aggrandizement (Whites as central), among others.  The site welcomes visitor input–anyone who spots an offense is encouraged to file out an Offense Report for refereed inclusion on site. To “join the bleeding-edge of Asian American activism,” simply sign up to receive bimonthly offense reports.

If you read Kulture’s manifesto of sorts–I’m referring to the About Us section–see if you don’t feel the ghost of George Gerbner and Cultivation Theory.  A convincing case is built for their enterprise. Television is 1) a storytelling medium, 2) the average person invests five hours a day watching it, and 3) these message (story-delivering) systems, movies included, harbor deleterious effects over time. The effects are most damaging to minorities since identities are by and large socially constructed. Though some research is cited in tandem with a couple of these points, this is classic Gerbner, going back to the early 70s.  It’s safe to say he would approve of this project. 

 

 

New Propaganda and Activism Collections from Archives Unbound

Students and researchers working in the areas of media activism and propaganda studies may want to check out these recent additions to the Penn Libraries website. They all conveniently live on the Archives Unbound platform, a growing digital repository of topically-focused primary source material gathered to support the research needs of scholars and students.

New activism archives:

Politics, Social Activism and Community Support: Selected Gay and Lesbian Periodicals and Newsletters archives unbound
This collection of periodicals focuses on newsletters issued by gay and lesbian political and social activist organizations throughout the country and on periodicals devoted to gay and lesbian political and social activist agendas.

Black Liberation Army and the Program of Armed Struggle
Sourced from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Library, this collection consists of a wide range of materials, including FBI surveillance and informant reports and correspondence from a variety of offices including, New York City, Baltimore, New Haven, San Francisco, Detroit, Miami, Atlanta, Newark, Kansas City, and Cleveland; intercepted correspondence; Justice Department memoranda, correspondence and analyses; news clippings and articles; and more.

Ralph J. Bunche Oral Histories Collection on the Civil Rights Movement
This collection from the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center contains transcriptions of close to 700 interviews with those who made history in the struggles for voting rights, against discrimination in housing, for the desegregation of the schools, to expose racism in hiring, in defiance of police brutality, and to address poverty in the African American communities

Rastafari Ephemeral Publications From The Written Rastafari Archives Project
The Written Rastafari Archives Project (WRAP) involves an exclusive collection of the most well-known Rastafari ephemerals – newsletters, magazines, newspapers, booklets, statements, letters, articles and assorted literature—written and published by a number of Rastafari Mansions, organizations, groups and individuals over the past four decades.

 New Propaganda archives:

Psychological Warfare and Propaganda in World War II: Air Dropped and Shelled Leaflets and Periodicals
Rare leaflets, pamphlets and periodicals created and disseminated by the Allied Forces during World War II.

German Anti-Semitic Propaganda, 1909-1941
This collection comprises approximately 200 books and pamphlets; many directly connected with Nazi groups from the 1920s and 1930s.

While I was preparing this post on new acquisitions I noticed some other files in this resources that would also contribute to good communication history projects:

“Through the Camera Lens:” The Moving Picture World and the Silent Cinema Era, 1907-1927

Electing the President: Proceedings of the Democratic National Conventions, 1832-1988

Electing the President: Proceedings of the Republican National Conventions, 1856-1988

Hollywood, Moral Censorship, and the Motion Picture Production Code, 1927-1968

Japanese-American Relocation Camp Newspapers: Perspectives on Day-to-Day Life

The Archives Unbound search engine allows one to query across collections which, of course, becomes of greater value as we subscribe to more files.