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Caylon Fowlkes ’17 on Violence as Spectacle

Caylon Fowlkes’ Summer Fellows Project Aims to Understand and Stop the Spread of Violent Videos

Caylon Fowlkes ’17 spent her summer studying the history of black representation both on and off the screen. Her project, “The Spectacle of Black Violence: Historicizing Worldstarhiphop.com” investigated the exhibition of black people in world’s fairs, human zoos, photography, and early cinema to explain the attraction to online videos of young people fighting. But Caylon didn’t just want to understand the reasons for the popularity of violence online, she wanted to address the racism that accompanies it. In addition to writing a research paper on the topic, Caylon made a short video aimed at high school students. She hopes that by learning about the history of black violence as entertainment people will be less likely to apply stereotypes to the videos they see and stop sharing them altogether.  

See Caylon’s video on YouTube: 


Download Caylon’s paper at the Ursinus Digital Commons.

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