Rachelle Sussman Rumph

Rachelle Sussman

Undergraduate Discipline

History

Associate Dean of Studies

MA, Sarah Lawrence College. PhD, New York University. Rumph’s research and teaching interests include visual culture theory, media history, critical race theory, and gender studies. For many years, she taught media and communication studies courses at New York University and worked with students as an administrator in the areas of academic advisement and student support. She is currently a guest faculty member in the Women’s History program and an Associate Dean of Studies at SLC. 

Previous Courses

History

Gender, Race, and Media: Historicizing Visual Culture

Advanced, Seminar—Year

In this course, we will engage with the field of visual culture in order to develop a critical framework through which we may understand visual perception as a set of practices that inform, and are informed by, structures of power. Throughout the semester and the year, we will consider the following questions: What does it mean, from a historical perspective, to live in a society that seemingly privileges visual perception? How does power figure into past and contemporary viewing practices? How have visual technologies been leveraged to situate alternative practices of looking more squarely within the Western public’s fields of vision? We will accomplish this by focusing on the rich scholarship of visual culture theory, media and communication scholarship that foregrounds gender and racial analysis, and the excellent work that bridges media/visual studies and women’s history. We will work with a variety of texts, such as art, advertising, print magazines, television programming, film, and social media. Readings roughly span the 19th century through the contemporary era. Through our readings, we will observe the ways in which the 19th-century production and circulation of images of the “other” and a gendered gaze began to take on a particular potency in the United States and Europe with the growth of industrialization, commercial advertising, and immigration. Twentieth-century scholarship will focus on, among other things, the rise of a global media landscape in which the lines between producers and consumers of media became increasingly blurred. An examination of contemporary viewing practices will enable us to consider some of the implications of a radically fractured “mediascape” and its attendant struggles over ownership of meaning, as media technologies enable visual processes of signification to spin out wildly in unpredictable and surprising directions.

Faculty

Visions/Revisions: Examining Histories of Women and Gender

Advanced, Seminar—Year

This course focuses on writings about women’s history and the history of gender. We will read a number of different examples of genres that engage in successful history writing: memoirs, novels, political histories, case studies, cultural histories, and biographies. These works will be considered with an eye toward developing students’ abilities in several critical areas, including analyzing primary sources, developing historiographies, and applying relevant theories in the fields of women’s history and gender studies. The required readings represent a range of locations on a global scale, as well as historical subjects that fall roughly within the 19th and 20th centuries—with a few notable exceptions. As a graduate-level course, students take an active role in guiding seminar discussions.

Faculty

Who Tells Your Story? Cultural Memory and the Mediation of History

Advanced, Seminar—Spring

Media scholar Marita Sturken states that cultural memory “represents the many shifting histories and shared memories that exist between a sanctioned narrative of history and personal memory.” Sanctioned sites of remembrance, such as memorials and museums, indicate the extent to which cultural memory operates on regional, national, and global levels. As memorials are created to represent a specific point or event in history, they may also be understood as forms of media or technologies of cultural memory that produce meanings and contain their own revealing histories. This course examines the way in which objects of historical mediation, such as memorials, have a story to tell about the politics of remembrance and of forgetting. We explore how, through those objects, shifting histories collapse into one another and the technologies of cultural memory continue to take on renewed interest and urgency in the present. In addition to memorials, we focus on museums, documentaries, historical fiction, and the role of oral history in shaping regional and national historical narratives. We take an intersectional approach to this topic, and our time span falls roughly from the Civil War to the contemporary era—focusing primarily on the United States but also including African, European, and other forms of memorialization outside of the United States.

Faculty

MA Women’s History

Visions/Revisions: Examining Histories of Women and Gender

Graduate Seminar—Year

This course focuses on writings about women’s history and the history of gender. We read a number of different examples of genres that engage in successful history writing: memoirs, novels, political histories, case studies, cultural histories, and biographies. These works are considered with an eye towards developing students’ abilities in several critical areas, including analyzing primary sources; developing historiographies; and applying relevant theories in the fields of women’s history and gender studies. The required readings represent a range of locations on a global scale as well as historical subjects that fall roughly within the 19th and 20th centuries with a few notable exceptions.

Faculty