WOOSTER, Ohio – Two books co-edited by Ahmet Atay, Mediated Critical Communication Pedagogy and Queer Communication Pedagogy, were both published last month by Lexington Books and Routledge, respectively. Atay is an associate professor of communication studies and global media and digital studies at The College of Wooster.
While the audience for the books are upper-level undergraduate students as well as graduate students, it is Atay’s hope that their impact carries “outside of the classroom onto the streets.” He added, “I hope when I talk about pedagogy, it’s not only about the classroom, it’s about educating the public at-large.”
Across society, “we consume media nonstop … whether it be television or film or newspaper or social media,” according to Atay, and one of his goals with Mediated Critical Communication Pedagogy is for students and faculty to be more reflective of media usage. “The book is really about how to utilize new media technologies within and outside the classroom, (and) also how to create media digital literacies to our students that they understand what media is, what it’s capable of, (the) good, bad, and ugly sides of it,” said the media studies scholar.
The chapter that Atay contributed examines diversity issues in the context of media. “It’s about taking not only domestic but global diversity, and how to empower students who are often marginalized because of their race, gender, sexuality, but also their linguistic abilities, (and) how these media technologies can operate to empower them,” he explained. “The argument I’m making is because of the media connection, the relationships (students) learn carries on outside of the classroom, so therefore it transforms the ways in which they learn and express themselves in that capacity.”
In Queer Communication Pedagogy, Atay, his co-editor, and contributors address queer issues from a communication perspective in an effort to help equip both students and faculty on “how to connect with students who identify as queer students.” He noted that it is vital for such students to “start seeing their lives articulated in the curriculum … (which) will help them figure out who they are and also feel welcome.”
Atay’s chapter deals with transnational-related topics, in particular the mistake of simply labeling a group as international students. “Oftentimes when we deal with international students, we don’t layer them. We don’t think about their other identity marks because we see them (just) as international students. (What) I worked on is really trying to call attention to the need to understand the more nuanced or layered ways,” said Atay, himself a native of Cyprus.
While both books are looked at through the lens of communication, they can be applied in nearly every academic area. “We (took) an interdisciplinary perspective. They are situated in communication studies … but are very visible in other areas, such as sociology, English, to some capacity theatre and performance studies, and some of the other humanities and social sciences,” he added.