An Exploration of International Symbolic Imagery: Developing a Creative and Multicultural Approach for Electronic Media Criticism

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This paper is part of an on-going project that looks at how ancient symbols from different cultures can be used to develop a critical cultural approach to studying television images. The value of this project lies in the investigation of creative ways to study visual electronic media in our multicultural world. Drawing from a variety of theorists, including Stuart Hall, as well as from American ethnic literature, it specifically discusses the development of a multicultural interpretive framework that incorporates American ethnic symbolism that can be applied to the semiotic deconstruction and interpretation of visual media texts. An interpretive analysis of some popular television reality shows is also offered. The author concludes by discussing the impact symbolic imagery has on the way viewers understand the messages being communicated to them, particularly as these messages shape how viewers make sense of different cultures in the U.S. and abroad.


Keywords: Symbols, Ethnic Symbolism, Semiotics, Television, Visual Electronic Media, Multicultural, Reality Television
Stream: Arts Theory and Criticism
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Melissa Camacho

Associate Professor, Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts, San Francisco State University
San Francisco, California, USA

Melissa Camacho holds a MA (1994) in International Affairs from The George Washington University and a Ph.D. (2001) in Mass Media from Michigan State University. She is currently an Associate Professor at San Francisco State University in the Department of Broadcasting & Electronic Communication Arts. Her primary teaching responsibility is in the area of media theory and criticism, with a focus on creativity, cultural theory and feminist media studies. Her current project explores the application of ancient symbolism and myth to the deconstruction of American television. She is also a television reviewer for the U.S. based media literacy group, Common Sense Media. When not watching, writing or talking about television, she amuses herself with other creative explorations, including paper crafts, photography and jewelry making.

Ref: A09P0327