Coms: Sense and Site Analysis

Topics: Sense, 1969, 1983 Pages: 7 (2898 words) Published: October 16, 2014
Department of Art History and Communication Studies
McGill University
Christopher Gutierrez
M/W/F 11:35-12:25
Arts W-215
FALL 2014

Office hours:

Christopher Gutierrez
Arts W-285
Monday 1:00 – 3:00

Office Hours:

Francois Mouillot
Arts B-22
Wednesday 12:30 – 1:30

This course engages with questions of urbanism and media through the specific lens of the human senses. By conceiving of the city as a space filled with ubiquitous media – including the ambient noise of passing vehicles, the scent of a busy restaurant kitchen, the flashing screens of news and weather in the metro station or the feeling of a cramped bus ride – it aims to investigate how our senses are both shaping of, and shaped by, the different bodies, forces and objects we encounter. To this end, COMS 361 will present a variety of texts on questions of embodiment, consciousness, sensation and affect theory that all touch on our experiences of being in the city. To ground these questions within specific theoretical movements, the course is divided into three sections. The first section, Feeling, will introduce students to both the myriad of forces at work in the urban environment and different theories of embodiment and sensation including, phenomenology, affect and feminist theory. The second section, Sensing, is divided into each individual sense (Sight, smell, touch, taste and sound) and will build upon questions of embodiment by considering the relationship between specific urban encounters, the senses and the psyche. Finally, the third section, Moving, closes the course by expanding our understanding of embodiment through questions of mobility and debility, locative media and circulation in the city.

Pop Quizzes
Reading Responses
Midterm Exam
Site Analysis Proposal
Final Site Analysis

25% (12.5% x 2 responses per semester, due in class on Monday) 25% (November 3rd)
10% (November 14th will be the last day to submit)
30% (December 3rd)

Pop Quizzes: You will be regularly quizzed throughout the semester to make sure that you are keeping up with, and understanding, the readings. The quizzes will be closed book and closed notes. At the end of the term, the instructor will drop your lowest quiz score (including ‘0’ scores for non-attendance). Beyond this exception, missed quizzes cannot be made up at any time. Missing more then 4 quizzes will result in a failing grade in the course.

Reading Responses: Between 2 or 3 pages, absolutely no more than 4. Twice during the semester you will be expected to hand in short and succinct responses to any of the readings from that week. A hard copy should be submitted at the start of class on Monday. These responses should provide enough of a summary of the article’s main argument to demonstrate a clear understanding of the reading while also engaging with the important theoretical and practical debates that the readings address. Site Analysis Proposal: You will have to submit a proposal for your final site analysis in class anytime up until November 14th. This proposal should be between 2 and 4 pages and should give a general breakdown of (1) the main site or space you would like to write about (ie. where is it? What’s interesting about it?) (2) the sociocultural forces that you see at work in the site (What makes the space work? How do people move through it? How do they interact with it? And why?) (3) a brief list of sources you plan on using for the paper. You will then have to book a short meeting (10 min. max) with either the professor or TA to go over the proposal and receive feedback and suggestions. One day during the semester (November 21st) has been cleared for proposal meetings.

Midterm Exam: The exam will take place in class on...
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