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

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

*You may miss two sessions without an excuse (one class and one screening, or two screenings, or two classes). Without documented serious reasons, a third absence may drop the final semester grade one letter. Four absences may result in an invitation to drop the class.



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:

checkboxgreenIdentify several scholarly approaches to contemporary media studies.

checkboxgreenDescribe 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.

checkboxgreenPerform 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. 

John Berger, in memoriam, 1926-2017, Ways of Seeing (1972). Most of your readings will be available online or in library reserve.


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


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:

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: 

UNIT TWO:  Gender, Intersectionality and Media

Profs. Schreiber and Julien
Tuesday January 31 Schreiber: Gender in the Media: Constructions of Gender I Readings:

Tuesday January 31, Screening:

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 GuysTelevision 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

Prof Resha 

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

Prof Tefft

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 , XinXin and Cook

Tuesday, February 28 Social Media, Digital Self-Publication, Micro-Celebrity.
Screen on your own: Julie & Julia (Ephron, 2009) Reading:  

Tuesday, February 28, Screening: Satoshi, Paranoia Agent, Episodes 1, 6, 10

Thursday, March 2 Cook, Media Convergence in Japan

  • Eiji, “World and Variation” (pdf circulated)


CHANGE: No screening over break

Tuesday, March 14 Amy XinXin, “Advertising and Contemporary Media: International and Intercultural Perspectives.”

UNIT SEVEN:  Film Genre  

Prof Pratt

Tuesday, March 14 NO SCREENING–See Monday, March 20 instead

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.

MONDAY MARCH 20 (CHANGE), White Hall 207,  6pm, Screening: Gaslight (Cukor, 1944) Screen on your own if you have a conflict with this alternate time for the screening

Tuesday March 21 Pratt: Film Genre 2, discussion of Gaslight

UNIT EIGHT: Ethnographic Film/Film as Ethnography

Prof. Hoesterey

Tuesday March 21, LECTURE 6:00-7:15 PM, 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, Steffen, Aidman & Bousquet

Tuesday March 28, 6pm:  Francisco, Elements of Photographic Meaning Readings:

  • 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.

Thursday, March 30 Francisco: Documentary, Journalism and Independent Media  Readings:

Tuesday, April 4 Bousquet: Television and Reality.
Screen on your own: Episodes 1 and 2 from Season 1UnReal (98% Rotten Tomatoes; Peabody award)
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: Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer 

Thursday, April 13 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

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:

Thursday April 20: Bousquet: Semester Review

Distribute Take Home Test II. Due May 7, 2017, 5pm