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Calling All Basics: There’s A Class Called ‘The Selfie’

In today’s amazing, technologically-advanced world, where streamlined self-focused media are all the rage and apps like Instagram and Vine are hot commodities, it was only a matter of time before college classes begin to follow suit. Thus I present “The Selfie,” a three-credit course offered at Penn State for the upcoming summer semester. And yes, it’s real.

As an English course, “The Selfie” (ENGL 197A) will delve into the selfie both as it exists in its present day format and style, and as it has grown and transitioned by means of identity creation and self-branding in historical contexts.

While the course may seem silly — or for some, simply too awesome to be true — it will truly take a look at how selfies have roots in historical modes of self-representation. With a history belonging to the fine art of self-portraiture, the course will discuss the history of the selfie and its contemporary facets within authorship, celebrity, dating, identity construction, and visual digital culture.

According to Amy Barone, scheduling coordinator for the English department, students will be required to write the expected English class papers, relating to the topics at hand. However, they will also get to be a little unique, “producing weekly selfie series” as a component of the assignments.

If you’re here for the summer and looking to spice up your semester schedule — or if you’re like me, a senior who might delay graduation because this is a class about selfies — enroll in ENGL 197A, listen to a good tune or two, and turn on your front-facing flash for optimal quality.

Photo: Peter Bernik

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About the Author

Jessica Myers

Jess graduated in May 2015, with a Bachelor of Arts with honors in English, and with two minors in Latin and Art History. When she says she's "shippin' up to Boston," she's not just singing the song -- she's actually attending Northeastern University this fall to pursue her master's degree. You can follow her shenanigans at her site,


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