Jennifer R. Mcclearen
Empirical and theoretical framework for analyzing role of mass media in cultural change. Historical and contemporary cases consider ethnic, gender, class, and urban-rural conflicts and cultural roles of sports, elections, and national rituals. Focus on visual electronic media.
James Carey defined communication as “a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired and transformed.” In this course, we will discuss this “symbolic process” as it relates to mass media and culture. Media programming, images, and technologies permeate culture and society in ways that are visible and invisible to the average citizen. The goal of this course is to pay particular attention to the invisible and understand how “reality is produced, maintained, repaired, and transformed” through the reciprocal relationship between media and culture.
We will approach the study of media and culture through a “critical” cultural perspective. Critical does not mean fault-finding or negative; rather, critical refers to an intellectual traditional that studies power, privilege, and difference within political, economic, and cultural spheres. As such, we will examine how power operates through media, who wields media power, and how ideologies are constructed and contested via media.
The course will cover four units: Frameworks for the Critical Study of Media and Culture Media Culture 2.0 Contemporary Ideologies in the Media Media Activism
Student learning goals
Articulate a nuanced understanding of the reciprocal relationship between media and culture
Apply foundational critical theories of representation, audiences, and political economy to media texts, industries, and technologies
Evaluate your own media usage and its impact on your participation in U.S. culture
Deconstruct the ideologies embedded within contemporary media texts, practices, and technologies
Increase digital literacy of the new media technologies you use in your daily life
Examine opportunities for media activism on individual and community levels
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading