Summer 2024

  • Television Studies

    45 001 | CCN: 14627

    Emily West

    Location: Dwinelle 188

    Date and Time: TU, W, TH, 9 - 11:30am

    4 Units

    This course introduces students to the field of television studies and focuses on developing skills in three areas: ideology critique, genre study, and formal analysis. First, we’ll focus on texts that describe and model these three areas of concern. Next, we’ll explore scholarship that brings them together in order to examine how television of the mid to late 20th century participated in the elaboration of discourses of family, identity, and economy. As we will see, much early television programming was concerned with habituating audiences to emerging ideas about American national identity and domestic life that were shaped by post-war consumer imperatives. For this reason, much of the scholarship we will follow asks how television participated in formulating, challenging, and refining notions of the American family in the decades that followed – paying special attention to how that family is shaped by discourses of racial formation, class, gender, and sexuality. Students will pursue their own interests in designing a final research project focused on the construction of family in a series from the 1980s to today. Students will work with me to design a research program in which to ground an original reading of a series of their choice.

    By the end of the semester, students should a) understand the major historical and theoretical concerns of television studies in the Department of Film & Media; b) be able to perform formal analysis of a television text, using the vocabulary of cinematography/videography, mise-en-scène, editing, and sound (including dialogue); c) be able to perform ideological analysis of a television text that demonstrates how it may be both enacting resistance to “mainstream” ideals and containing that resistance.