Courses / Undergraduate

Summer 2019

  • Film and Media Cultures

    20 | CCN: 15481

    Harry Burson

    4 Units

    M/W/F 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM, Dwinelle 188; Screening Wed. 4:30 PM – 7:30 PM, Dwinelle 142 ///

    This course introduces students to theories and methods in the scholarly study of media, including print, photography, radio, film, television, and the digital. Throughout the semester we will explore how the proliferation of new media technologies over the last two centuries has fundamentally altered perception, experience, and character of everyday life across the globe. We will focus on the cultural, ideological, and economic effects of media, considering how their content and form are closely tied to questions of power, class, race, gender, class, sexuality, and nationality. We will consider the historical and societal context that condition how media create and affect their audiences, spectators, or listeners. This is a reading intensive course organized around the close study of major works of 20th century media and cultural theory from writers engaging with the early development of photography, phonography, and film to current debates on the supposed death of cinema in the wake of digital media. This course will include readings from Walter Benjamin, André Bazin, Laura Mulvey, Jonathan Crary, Mary Ann Doane, bell hooks, Wendy Chun, and others. A weekly film screening will provide case studies to ground these lectures and discussions, and writing assignments will allow students to work through their ideas in detail.

    By the end of this course, students will be able to understand the concept and significance of medium specificity and compare various forms of media. They will be able to analyze films and other cultural objects from a variety of perspectives and consider their role within a larger cultural context. Students should also be able to apply these critical lenses to the media they encounter in their everyday lives.