Washington, May 11: The University of Southern California (USC) has introduced a course in the study of 'selfies', self-portraits taken on cellphones.
The course was introduced in the university's latest semester under the title "Writing 150: Writing and Critical Reasoning: Identity and Diversity," though it is better known among students as #SelfieClass, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.
Associate professor Mark Marino, who teaches the course, defends its importance to understand the phenomenon that boomed with the advent of smartphones.
"My students are learning that we live in a moment where selfies have become a part of the communication process," Marino said adding, "and there are parts of our identity that are being read regardless of how we try to portray ourselves. They can see selfies as part of a larger process of the communication act."
As part of the course, students have to take five selfies and analyse the background, their clothes, their gestures and any objects in the image.
Throughout the course, they will be asked to compare their selfies with other students and well-known celebrities, like Kim Kardashian, the socialite who frequently posts selfies on social media.
The course will run through next semester as part of a broader project to study the selfie culture beyond the celebrity world. Dismissing the notion that selfie is a narcissistic expression reflecting a self-absorbed society, Marino views it as something that has been present through the ages.