The Craft of Writing – Film Focus
R1A 002 | CCN: 31222
Date and Time: TU, TH 11:00am - 12:29pm
Media are the infrastructure of social life. In the digital age, more than ever before, the tools we use also use us: they condition the way we perceive, represent, think about, and relate to the world around us and our fellow human beings. Insofar as social relations are, as the philosopher Michel Foucault argued, always also relations of power—of domination, exploitation, colonization, dispossession, racialization, of hierarchies of gender, sexuality, ability, and other oppressive norms—the study of media and the study of power therefore go hand in hand. The design and use of media technologies is informed by the structures of oppression endemic to global, capitalist society, and media forms likewise reproduce themselves and their effects by furthering systems of violence. In this class, we will explore how power operates through media, and how media constitute forms of power in themselves by directly shaping both our individual psyches and collective ways of life.
Students will learn the fundamentals of media theory and critical theory and apply them to topics at the cutting edge of research and the forefront of current events. Students will also develop foundational academic skills such as close reading, critical writing, and visual analysis through studying classic media studies texts by the likes of Walter Benjamin and Marshall McLuhan, contemporary scholarship by writers such as Aria Dean and Ruha Benjamin, and films by artists including Arthur Jafa, Hito Steyerl, and Harun Farocki. Topics covered by this course may include #BlackLivesMatter, predictive policing, algorithmic bias, surveillance technology, drones, artificial intelligence, philosophy of technology, war, slavery, and abolition. This class may be especially appealing to students interested in film, media studies, new media, art practice, art history, rhetoric, philosophy, digital humanities, or computer science.