This year The Purchase Phoenix will be profiling each of the 24 new faculty members hired by Purchase College over the summer. The first piece in this series profiles new Assistant Professor of Media Studies, Umayyah Cable.
By Eve Rivera
Professor Umayyah Cable completed their undergraduate degree at Smith College where they majored in American studies and completed their graduate work at the University of Southern California. They also have a degree in American studies and ethnicity as well as a graduate certificate in visual studies.
Cable describes their work as “a cross between media studies and ethnic studies.” When they are not sharing their love for education, they are hiking or spending time with their dogs.
Cable was drawn to Purchase due to their background and education in liberal arts. During their campus visit Cable liked the energy and the atmosphere of the school, describing it as a “cool place where people were excited to be.”
Cable also likes that the students have creative energy, and that there is a lot of interest in different art forms. In addition to this, they like the structure of the college and how it is organized.
Professor Cable originally came from an English department, and they are excited to transfer to the media studies department and “be around people who are all on the same page about the role of media.”
Their experiences in the classroom so far show that their students are “curious and unafraid to tackle big questions,” which they find exciting as an educator. Cable believes students here have an interest in media studies because they may also have an involvement in creating something art related. It has been exciting for them to be around people interested in learning about media, and also practicing art and media production.
Cable hopes their students will walk away from class with the nuts and bolts of analyzing media and will “learn how to think critically and learn how to not to take what is on the surface for granted, and really learn how to think on a deeper level about things.”
They believe it is important to think about the process behind the production of different representations in media and “what are the uses of production in our society.”
Cable feels it is important to drive home the significance of thinking critically about not only the media their students consume, but the media they might produce one day. Cable wishes for their students to think about being responsible media and consumers.
On the topic of what they want the take always from their class to be, Cable also explained that they’re aware that their classes can be killjoys, even though they do not try to set the class up that way. Media studies and analyzing the media that someone loves, can often result in their no longer being interested in that piece of media. Cable wants their students to focus on and think about why they love a media object, and how that media object impacts their life and society around them.
Cable really enjoys when students have “whoa” moments while exploring new topics. They can watch their students get excited about something that they’ve never thought of before. Cable likes seeing people being confused at first, but seeing their knowledge being expanded. This is why they enjoy their introduction classes, it can be the first time their students are being exposed to the things being discussed.
Cable also enjoys the upper level classes because the students have had some experience, and they are able to have a deeper discussion about it with their prior knowledge. They would like their students to be “pushing the boundaries of their knowledge and getting a new perspective, gaining new knowledge about a topic they had never thought about before.''