Introduction to Media Studies
Professor: Joseph Bender
What is/are the media? Who produces and influences them and under what circumstances? How do the media represent reality? What effects do they have on the audience? To what extent are the media globalized or different across countries? What is new about the new media?
The course considers the nature of mediated communication, historical transformations in and functions of media, and the institutions and social forces that shape its role in society. Its objective is to introduce students to the themes and theoretical debates central to media studies, developing a historical and critical framework with which to consider media and communication as institutional actors, technological artifacts, systems or representations, and meaningful cultural objects.
The course is divided in three parts. The first part defines the media, their history, and the factors that influence them. The second part examines the representations of reality carried and produced by and through media and considers their influence on the individual and society. The third part is dedicated to the questions of globalization and new media and we will try to answer this question: What does it mean to say that we live in the age of media?
Required: David Croteau and William Hoynes. Media/Society: Industries, Images and Audiences. 4th edition, Sage Publications, 2011.
Note: We will be refer to this text throughout the course, and you may find it useful to purchase a copy. However, certain sections will be made available on the course website. If you choose to acquire the text, you are encouraged to seek out the 4th edition, to which we will refer in class. Previous editions of the text are less costly, but do not include the same examples and have different pagination.
Additional readings (both required and recommended) will be made available on the course website.
This course has three requirements: active in-class participation, a short in-class presentation of one of the readings and a final exam. All requirements must be completed in order to pass the course.
(1) Active and informed in-class participation: Attendance is required, and any absences must be cleared in advance with me. Participation shows that you did your reading and came to class prepared.
(2) In-class presentation: A brief (~10 minutes) presentation, prepared in advance, of one of the readings for the week (other than Croteau and Hoynes). It should address
the main arguments made by the author(s) and the issues they raise through one or more pertinent media examples. Examples should illustrate your presentation but not take up a disproportionate amount of the allotted time, as your grade will be based on the critical acumen you bring to your reading.
(3) Final Examination: An exam that demonstrates mastery of major theories in media studies and your ability to apply these theories to concrete cases (two-hour proctored exam, to be taken during examination period).
These requirements will count toward your final grade as follows: Active, Informed Participation
Please allow two days to pass before you submit a grade appeal. This gives you time to reflect on my assessment. If you still want to appeal your grade, please submit a short but considered paragraph detailing your concerns. Based on this paragraph I will review the question and either adjust your grade or refine my explanation for the lost points. Absences and Lateness:
Unexcused absences will result in a lower final grade as they significantly impact your participation grade. Chronic lateness will also be reflected in your evaluation of participation. Regardless of the reason for your absence you will be responsible for any missed work....