From Modern Family to car commercials, the media regularly displays and exploits the familial unit in various iterations to appeal to viewers and consumers. But what truly is the “modern family” and how is it shaped by—or in opposition to—its representation in media? Do we feel a pressure to create a family that supports popular visions, or are we comfortable with the notion of family in its range of diverse forms? The composition and definition of the family is continually evolving and varies between cultures, but what are the implications of this rapidly shifting definition for society, children, and social welfare? And finally, is having a “home” or “family” integral to the notion of being human—or is it a societal construct and site of constant struggle?
Jack Halberstam is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies, and Comparative Literature at USC. Professor Halberstam works in the polymathic areas of popular, visual and queer culture with an emphasis on subcultures. Halberstam regularly speaks on queer culture, gender studies and popular culture, and publishes blogs at bullybloggers.com. Halberstam is a prolific writer having published 5 books, including The Queer Art of Failure in August 2011 and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender and the End of Normal in 2012. Halberstam is currently working on a project about queer anarchy tentatively titled: The Wild.