Introduction to Media Studies
Media Studies 204/IDS 204, Emory University
Lectures: Tuesday, Thursdays, 2:30-3:45, White Hall 110
Weekly Screenings: Tuesdays, 6-8 p.m., White Hall 205
SPRING 2017 INSTRUCTORS
Marc Bousquet, Coordinator
Office hours: Tuesdays 4-6pm and by appointment, Rich 212
UNIT 1: Profs. Eddy Von Mueller, Rob Barracano, & Dan Reynolds (FMS)
UNIT 2: Profs. Michele Schreiber (FMS) and Heather Julien (English)
UNIT 3: Prof Marc Bousquet
UNIT 4: Prof David Resha (Oxford College)
UNIT 5: Prof. Sheila Tefft (Writing Program)
UNIT 6: Profs Bousquet, Ryan Cook and James Steffen (FMS)
UNIT 7: Prof. David Pratt (FMS)
UNIT 8: Prof. James Hoestery (Religion)
UNIT 9: Profs. Jason Francisco (FMS), Carlton Mackey (Center for Ethics), Beretta Smith-Shomade (FMS), Bousquet and Amy Aidman (FMS)
Tuesday and Thursday class meetings will integrate lectures and discussion. Lectures typically include items clipped from media artifacts, such as film, television, digital media, advertising, photography, video games and journalism. Readings should be done by the class in which they’ll be discussed.
10% Informed, thoughtful class participation including attendance*
30% Test 1: Take Home due by Friday, March 3, 5pm
30% Two event reaction papers (due March 30, April 14)
30% Test 2: Take Home due by Friday, May 7, 5pm
This course is an introduction to some of the many approaches to media consumption and media production. We understand media as a diverse, often mercurial set of cultural forces. The same media artifact can be a power over people and–at the same time–a power for people. Today more than ever, media is made with tools that support media production & distribution by ordinary persons.
This survey should enable you to:
Identify several scholarly approaches to contemporary media studies.
Describe some of the major questions currently being explored in contemporary media studies and distinguish between the differing—even opposing—views of some scholars engaging those questions.
Perform basic analysis of media artifacts, demonstrating competence with different approaches.
The aim of this class is to introduce you to a dozen or more faculty from different disciplines and specialties, each usually leading one or two sessions. We’ll encounter media through a range of lenses – aesthetic, historical, sociological, political, journalistic, and anthropological. Above all this course will introduce you to the research interests and scholarly methods of individual Emory faculty. Students will gain a working understanding of many valuable critical and interpretive methods, several of them essential to navigating today’s unprecedently networked, complex media ecology.
The weekly screenings are comparable to the lab section of a science class. You are expected to attend all screenings from start to finish. You may not join the class if you have a scheduling conflict with Tuesdays, 6-8 pm. YOU MAY NOT USE A LAPTOP COMPUTER OR A CELL PHONE DURING CLASS OR IN SCREENINGS. Seeing images on a big screen allows you to see details you cannot see when you watch a film on a small screen. Viewing the films together also creates community within the class.
The screenings are a time for serious viewing. You should take notes on pertinent features of each media text to prepare for discussion and exams. We recommend a penlight or small flashlight, available at the Emory Bookstore, to help you see your writing. Please do not use your cell phone as a light source. No pets are allowed at screenings. Guests are welcome if they do not disrupt the group, but please clear any invitation beforehand with the instructor. Anyone talking, booing, or otherwise disrupting a screening will be asked to leave.
This class involves 16 busy faculty in guest appearances, so it begins on time. Please don’t talk while faculty or other students are speaking. Please don’t come late to class or screenings–it is distracting to others. Please don’t eat meals during class meetings or screenings for the same reason.
It is not possible to know in advance all of the course-relevant events that appear during the course of the term. There may be one or two required events and/or events for extra credit on campus outside of class for you to attend. Because so many faculty are involved, it is common for classes, readings and screenings to be changed in response to circumstances beyond the coordinator’s control. Additional information will be shared on the course website, via email, class announcements and/or handouts.
The role of the teacher of record (the faculty coordinator) is to arrange a varied and comprehensive schedule, ensure the availability of media for screening and other course materials, hold office hours, lead discussions, introduce speakers and provide a degree of broad intellectual continuity between presentations and approaches, as the opportunity arises. She may or not present a session or two, depending on how the schedule comes out in a particular term. She creates and grades all assignments, including the exams demanded by the course architecture. The coordinator is in several ways constrained by the department’s course design, which attempts to maintain consistency between different semesters and coordinators. No guest speaker plays any role in assessing student performance.
The media studies program’s policy for this particular course is not to offer incompletes or deadline extensions. Make-up exams will be permitted only in the most serious circumstances (family emergency or illness) which must be documented to the program’s satisfaction. The Honor Code of Emory College applies to this class: Consult Plagiarism.org
Tuesday January 10 Course outline
UNIT 1: Technology, Commerce, Aesthetics
Profs.Von Mueller, Barracano, Bousquet & Reynolds
Tuesday, January 10, Screening: The Draughtsman’s Contract (Greenaway, 1982)
Thursday January 12 Von Mueller: Technology & the Image: From Masterpiece to Mass Media. Readings:
- Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
- John Berger, Ways of Seeing, Ch. 1 & 2
Tuesday, January 17 Von Mueller: Technology & the Image: From Masterpiece to Mass Media II
Tuesday, January 17, Screening: Living in Oblivion (DiCillo, 1995)
Thursday, January 19 Barracano: Film & Television Production: The Organic Industrial Art
Tuesday January 24 Bousquet: White Hat, Black Hat: Melodrama in Culture and Politics
Screen on your own: V for Vendetta (McTeigue, 2005) Reading:
Tuesday January 24, Screening: Her (Jonez, 2013)
Thursday January 26 Reynolds: Narrative Architecture in Video Games Readings:
- Henry Jenkins, Game Design as Narrative Architecture
- Daniel Reynolds, Letters and the Unseen Woman: Epistolary Architecture in Three Recent Video Games
UNIT TWO: Gender, Intersectionality and Media
Profs. Schreiber and Julien
Tuesday January 31 Schreiber: Gender in the Media: Constructions of Gender I Readings:
- John Berger, Chapter Three, Ways of Seeing. New York: Penguin, 1972, pp. 45-64.
- Hanna Rosin, Introduction, The End of Men. New York: Penguin, 2012. Pp. 1-16.
Tuesday January 31, Screening:
- Father Knows Best, Betty, Girl Engineer (1956);
- Modern Family, The Kiss (2010);
- Inside Amy Schumer, A Very Realistic Military Game (2014)
- Pilot, Breaking Bad (2008).
Thursday, February 2 Schreiber: Gender in the Media: Constructions of Masculinity and Homosexuality Readings:
- Susan Bordo, “In Hiding and On Display,” The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private,” New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999, pp. 15-35.
- Ron Becker, Gay Material and Prime-Time Network Television in the 1990s, Gay TV and Straight America. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2006. Pp. 136-188.
Tuesday, February 7 Schreiber: Case Studies of Gender Representation Readings:
- Susan J. Douglas, “Mama Said,” in Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media. New York: Times Books, 2004, pp. 43-60.
- Amanda Lotz, “Trying to Man Up,” Cable Guys: Television and Masculinities in the 21st Century. New York: NYU Press, 2014. Pp. 52-82.
- Alfred L. Martin, Jr. “It’s (Not) in His Kiss: Gay Kisses, Narrative Strategies, and Camera Angles in Post-Network Television Comedy.”
Tuesday, February 7, Screening: Born in Flames (Borden, 1983)
Thursday, February 9 Julien: Revolutionary Intersectionality and Indymedia Readings:
B. Ruby Rich, selections TBD from New Queer Cinema and Christina Lane, Feminist Hollywood: From Born in Flames to Point Break
Tuesday, February 14 Discussion: Midterm Review
UNIT FOUR: Documentary
Thursday, February 16 Resha: Documentary Screen on your own: Stairway to Heaven episode, Errol Morris’ First Person. Reading:
- Bill Nichols, “What Types of Documentary Are There?,” Introduction to Documentary, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001: pp. 99-138
UNIT FIVE: Journalism
Tuesday, February 21 Tefft, The Savvy News Consumer and Fake News Reading:
- Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt: Introduction, pp. 1-9; Chapter 6, The Denial of Global Warming
- Tuesday, February 21, Screening: Merchants of Doubt (Kenner, 2014)
Tuesday, February 21, Screening: Merchants of Doubt (Kenner, 2014)
Thursday, February 23 Tefft, Balance and Bias
Take home test distributed. Due March 3, 5pm
UNIT SIX World Media
Profs Bousquet, Cook and Steffen
Tuesday, February 28 Social Media, Digital Self-Publication, Micro-Celebrity.
Screen on your own: Julie & Julia (Ephron, 2009) Reading:
- Alice Marwick, You May Know Me From YouTube
- “The Mother of All Networks”, Ch 1 of Standage, The Victorian Internet
Tuesday, February 28, Screening: Cook Anime, TBD
Thursday, March 2 Cook, Media Convergence in Japan
Tuesday, March 14 Steffen, Media Activism in Russia: Pussy Riot Reading:
Yablokov, Ilya. Pussy Riot as Agent Provocateur: Conspiracy Theories and the Media Construction of Nation in Putin’s Russia. Nationalities Papers 42, no. 4 (July 1, 2014): 622-636.
UNIT SEVEN: Film Genre
Tuesday, March 14, Screening: Gaslight (Cukor, 1944)
Thursday, March 16 Pratt: 1940s Gothic Romance, Subjectivity & Genre 1 Reading:
- Waldman ,“At Last I Can Tell It to Someone!: Feminine Point of View and Subjectivity in the Gothic Romance Film of the 1940s.”Cinema Journal 23 (2 Winter 1984): 29–40.
Tuesday March 21 Pratt: Film Genre 2
UNIT EIGHT: Ethnographic Film/Film as Ethnography
Tuesday March 21, AT 6:00PM, Hoestery: Ethnographic Film Reading:
- MacDougall, David. “Whose Story is it?”, Visual Anthropology Review, Vol. 7, #2, Fall 1991, pp. 2-10.
Thursday March 23 Screening IN CLASS: The Adventures of Mark and Olly (Travel Channel, 50 min) and/or The Chief Who Talks with God (Discovery Channel, 50 min)
Tuesday, March 28 Hoesterey: Film(making) as Ethnography Reading:
- Hoesterey, James B. “The Adventures of Mark and Olly: The Pleasures and Horrors of Anthropology on TV” in Human No More: Digital Subjectivities, Unhuman Subjects and the end of Anthropology, Neil L. Whitehead and Michael Wesch, editors, 2012, pp. 157-176.
Friday, March 30: Reaction paper #1, due by 5 p.m.
UNIT NINE Photography, Digital Media, Activism & Identity
Profs Francisco, Mackey, Smith-Shomade, Aidman & Bousquet
Tuesday March 28, 6pm: Francisco, Elements of Photographic Meaning Readings:
- Andre Bazin, “The Ontology of the Photographic Image, in Classic Essays on Photography, ed. Alan Trachtenberg, New Haven, Leete’s Island Books, 1980.
- John Szarkowski, Introduction to The Photographer’s Eye, New York, Museum of Modern Art, 1966.
- Allan Sekula, “On the Invention of Photographic Meaning,” in Photography in Print, ed. Vicki Goldberg, New York, Touchstone, 1981, pp. 452-473.
Thursday, March 30 Francisco: Documentary, Journalism and Independent Media Readings:
- Fred Ritchin, After Photography, New York, Norton, 2008.
- David Levi Strauss, “Photography and Propaganda,” in Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography and Politics, New York, Aperture, 2003, pp. 12-41.
- Martha Rosler, “Post-Documentary, Post-Photography,” in Decoys and Disruptions, Selected Writings, 1975-2001, Cambridge, MIT Press, 2004, pp. 207-244.
- Jason Francisco, War Photography: A Short Critical Introduction, Routledge Encyclopedia of Photography, 2005
Tuesday, April 4 Bousquet: Television and Reality.
Screen on your own: Episodes from UnREAL, The Wire and Twilight Zone
Readings: Bignell, “Television Realities”
Thursday April 6 Mackey Art and Social Engagement Readings:
Tuesday, April 11 Mackey, Media and the Formation of Black Identity: Resisting, Reshaping, and Reclaiming
Tuesday, April 11, Screening: Black Is, Black Ain’t (or TBD)
Thursday, April 13 Smith-Shomade: Representations of African-Inspired Religious Practice in New Orleans Readings
Friday, April 14: Reaction paper #2 due by 5pm
Tuesday, April 18: Aidman: Adolescent Media Use and Media Literacy
Screen on your own before class: Generation Like (PBS Frontline, 2014) Reading:
- The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens, executive summary
- Selections from freepress.net/
Thursday April 20: Bousquet: Semester Review
Distribute Take Home Test II. Due May 7, 2017, 5pm