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Quarterly Descriptions for Seminars and Topics Courses

Fall 2021

JUNIOR SEMINARS

PREREQUISITES: Junior Standing and MUST HAVE COMPLETED COMM 10 and AT LEAST 1 of the COMM 100 courses

COMM 190: E00

Instructor: Boatema Boteng

Day & Time: Wednesday, 3-5:50pm

Title: Knives and the Gendered Body: The Social and Cultural Meanings of Cosmetic and Other Surgeries

Description: This course examines ideas around gender that result in physical alteration of the human body. The course will examine social and cultural norms and practices around different kinds of voluntary and involuntary procedures. It will also examine examples of resistance to those norms and practices. The course will draw on theories of race, gender, sexuality and power. Each student will have the opportunity to use such theories to examine one practice or set of practices and consider why they occur, the issues they raise such as individual agency, and how they reveal the relation between discourses and practices of race, gender and sexuality.

 

COMM 190: F00

Instructor: Andrew deWaard

Day & Time: Tuesday 3-5:50pm

Title: Streaming Media

Description: What changes when we "stream" media, rather than broadcast, exhibit, or own it? Which companies shape and control the infrastructure of streaming media? What is a "platform" and what is the broader historical and financial context for this development? what is an "algoirthmic feed," how is it prone to misinformation, and how does our engagement and experience with  media change in a streaming environment? What opportunities and obstacles are there in streaming media for more diversity and equality? What is the effect of streaming media on creatives, laborers, and producers of content? This seminar will aim to answer these questions and more, exploring the streaming media transition from the perspective of power and political economy. Each week we will analyze a major media company with regards to a social issue: Netflix and power, Disney and commodification, Comcast/AT&T and data, Spotify and labor, Apple and supply chains, Google and identity, Facebook and misinformation, and Amazon and surveillance. The assignments of the course include weekly discussion posts and a research sequence that leads to an argumentative essay.

 

COMM 190: C00

Instructor: Soraya Abuelhiga

Day & Time: Monday 9am - 11:50am

Title: Drugs in America on TV and Film

Description: In this course, we will closely examine the cultural constructions, social dimensions, and artistic representations of contemporary drug ab/use in the U.S. through active, scholarly engage,ents with film and television, social and news media and photography. We will relate our study of representations of drugs and drug users in the U.S. to recurring issues of racial policing, migration and mobility, uneven capitalistic development and domestic imperialism, conflict and violence, and imbalances of power surrounding the arguably modern American endeavor to "feel good".

 

COMM 190: D00

Instructor: Sophie Staschus

Day & Time: Thursday at 12:30-3:20pm

Title: Communicating Consent

Description: How should consent be communicated? How do we determine that the consenting person is acting voluntarily? Can an athlete ever “truly” consent, voluntarily and knowingly, to undergoing pain and physical trauma for entertainment purposes? Are we ever sufficiently informed to consent to invasive surgery? Can we willingly consent to exploitative working conditions if the alternative is being unable to pay rent? This course will explore whether consent, an ever-changing and versatile notion that’s meant to promote autonomy, can fulfill its emancipatory promise. In order to do so, we will examine the theoretical, historical, political, and legal assumptions and characteristics that underground consent and its associated notion of autonomy. We will then analyze how consent is conceptualized and negotiated in the contexts of sexuality, reproductive rights, healthcare, and sports.

 

COMM 30 A00: Digital Media Literacy: Analyzing Forms, Practices and Infrastructures of Mediated Public Life

Instructor: Thomas Schmidt

Title: Digital Media Literacy: Analyzing Forms, Practices and Infrastructures of Mediated Public Life

Description: This course focuses on the role of digital communication in a democratic system, and the ways mass media both facilitate and inhibit the development of a viable public sphere. By exploring today's digital communication dynamics, students will have the opportunity to become more mindful, active consumers of the media and to feel empowered to be engaged participants in public life.

 

COMM 113T A00: Intermediate Topics in Communication

Instructor: Lillian Walkover

Title: Community Based Health

Description: Public health campaigns - from gentle reminders to official orders to cover a part of the body, change environmental conditions, or seek medical care - attempt to change behavior, slow the spread of disease and improve the health of a population. This course takes a critical social science perspective on the production, dissemination, and impacts (intended and otherwise) of public health communication, including questions of coercion, autonomy, and perceptions of collective health and wellbeing. 

COMM 113T B00: Intermediate Topics in Communication

Instructor: Pepe Rojo Solis

Title: Fringe Genres

Description: This course explores the breakdown of categories between genres, disciplines, media and formats. As such, it will use transgeneric and transdisciplinary methods to understand not just what categories do, but how they dissolve and blur ath the edges, and what better place to do it than in an actual border, where states of being are enforced by a border a border machine which slices through the megacity that some say starts at the northern urban LA and goes all the way down to Ensenada (with a military interruption called Camp Pendleton). This multifaceted and non-traditional course will explore monster theory, speculative genres, border literature, arts and theory, urbanis,, globalization, comics and animation, fake news, visionary environments and post human condition, sprinkled with a healthy dose of experiential fiction fueled by situationist and communal practices.

COMM 146 A00  Advanced Topics in Cultural Production

Topic: K Pop

Instructor: Patty Ahn

Description: This course is an upper-level seminar on the global cultures of K-Pop. During the ten-week quarter, we look at the different social, technological, and creative structures that make South Korea’s multi-billion dollar music industry such a complex phenomenon. As we situate K-Pop within a broader state campaign to remake South Korea’s image in the global economy, we consider what implications this might have for a country that has suffered decades of economic instability and political suppression. Our overall aim for the quarter is to understand and accessibly communicate the broad spectrum of pleasures and problems that make K-Pop such a fascinating object of study.

 

COMM 146 B00  Advanced Topics in Cultural Production

Topic: The Art of the Podcast

Instructor: Amanda Peacher

Description: In this course, we’ll focus on long-form narrative audio podcasts as a storytelling form. We’ll listen to and critically analyze a variety of contemporary podcasts with an emphasis on nonfiction, journalistic productions. We’ll examine how podcasts use long-form journalism as a means to explore race, gender, income inequality, and other social issues. We’ll explore the ethics of reporting these narratives and discuss the unique challenges of the journalist/source relationship in long-form journalism. Students should be prepared for listening and writing-intensive course that emphasizes discussion.

 

COMM 162 A00: Advanced Topics in Cultural Industries

Instructor: Boatema Boateng

Title: Race, Indigeneity, and Social Justice

Description: A course that starts by examining criticism of the term BIPOC and unpacks it in order to arrive at an understanding of the politics of racial and indigenous justice that inform it. Looks at the history of Blackness and Indigeneity in the U.S. and specific social justice movements based on that history.

Winter 2022

JUNIOR SEMINARS

PREREQUISITES: Junior Standing and MUST HAVE COMPLETED COMM 10 and AT LEAST 1 of the COMM 100 courses

COMM 190: A00

Instructor: Andrew deWaard

Day & Time: Thursday 3:30 pm -6:20 pm

Title: Streaming Media

Description: What changes when we "stream" media, rather than broadcast, exhibit, or own it? Which companies shape and control the infrastructure of streaming media? What is a "platform" and what is the broader historical and financial context for this development? What is a “feed,” how is it prone to misinformation, and how does our engagement and experience with media change in a streaming environment? What opportunities and obstacles are there in streaming media for more diversity and equality? What is the effect of streaming media on creatives, laborers, and producers of content? This seminar will aim to answer these questions and more, exploring the streaming media transition from the perspective of power and political economy. Each week we will analyze a major media company with regards to a social issue: Netflix and labor, Disney and commodification, Comcast and data, Spotify and artist payment, Apple and supply chains, Google and identity, Facebook and content moderation, and Amazon and surveillance. The main assignment of the class is a research project on the streaming media company of your choosing.

COMM 190: B00

Instructor: Angelica Kalika

Day & Time: Wednesday 3:00 pm -5:50 pm

Title: Branding Natures

Description: This course explores the processes and politics of branding and consuming nature that are characteristic of globalization processes. It uses a sociocultural approach to analyze specific case studies where natural spaces, natural resources, landscapes and environments have been turned into commodities for global markets. We will explore how this is done in the wellness industry, tourism, gardening, conservation, urban development and climate change discourse and action.

COMM 190: C00

Instructor: Morana Alac

Day & Time: Monday 2:00pm - 4:50pm

Title: Communication and the sense of smell

Description: It is widely accepted that we employ our sense of smell to relate to our living world, and, most recently, scientists are claiming, with a greater conviction, that the human nose is almost as sensitive as the noses of many animals. Yet, we also say that we cannot talk about our olfactory experiences and that our sense of smell is particularly difficult to capture and talk about. In this class, we will discuss those ideas, asking whether we could challenge them and how. We will do so by attending to attunements between our bodies and ordinary acts of communication,  and by reflecting on how we—as scholars of communication— may discover and render them.

COMM 190: D00

Instructor: Erin Hill

Day & Time: Tuesday 11:00 am - 1:50pm

Title: The Self and the "Other" in Science Fiction

Description: In "A Cyborg Manifesto," Donna Haraway states that 20th-century technology has blurred crucial boundaries such that, "we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism," calling for a reconstruction of identity-based not on physical or social boundaries, but on "otherness, difference, and specificity." And yet, popular science fiction stories typically fixate on those boundaries, expressing fears of the unknown "other," whether in the form of a cyborg, an alien invader, or a derelict ship in a strange solar system. This course examines the notion of the self, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and other axes of identity through the lens of popular sci-fi and fantasy media, encompassing a range of topics from Afrofuturist dreams to dystopian gender nightmares, and from colonial terraform tropes to immigration allegories. While film, TV, and literary representations are of primary interest, the seminar will also consider the reception context, particularly the fan communities that have formed around science fiction franchises since the 1970s as sites of connection, resistance, and cultural production.

 

COMM 101T A00: Topics in Production

Instructor: Gavin Halm

Title: The Semiotics and the Production of Film Titles

Description: Film titles hold a significant, though oft overlooked, place within the histiry of film. They signify not only the obvious introductory elements about a film, but also act as communicative vehicles which variously describe a film's narrative (acting as a kind of mini film about a film), hint or tease out suggestive aspects of interest within a film, act as a premonition for what a filn=m will eventually reveal, perform as a kind of clever puzzle to unlock, but also more prosaically, how a film title supports the marketing and public relations needs for promoting a film, often in tandem with poster design and the editing of trailers.

This course will focus on elucidating these communcative aspects of a powerful commerical art form which we often take for granted, if we pay attention to it at all. We will perform close and highly detailed examinations of famous examples from the past (the "Star Wars" opening with its text fading out into the universe in perspective; the mind-bending swirl of Saul Bass' opening title for Hitchcock's "Vertigo"), as well as later titles which are not so well known but communicate a story just as successfully. We will also study how titles are integrated into trailers and othre marketing related products, and delivered to the marketed masses worldwide, or, are themselves created from such materials. From a production standpoint, we will utilize the above research in order to create our own animated 2D titles after creating storyboards, performing basic image manipulation in image editing software such as Photoshop, and learning basic 2D animation in After Effects. 

 

INTERMEDIATE ELECTIVES

COMM 106T: CI: Television, Culture, and the Public

Instructor: Erin Hill

Subtitle: Comedy on TV

Description: This course will provide an in-depth look at American television history through the lens of comedy. From I Love Lucy and Your Show of Showsto Bojack Horseman and Insecure, comedy is arguably American television's defining genre, as well as one of its longest-standing and most collaborative. Whether they're traditional, 3-camera comedies, taped in front of live audiences, or single-camera sketch and hybrid shows shot on film, televised comedies take shape through complex production systems requiring diverse forms of creative collaboration. Comedic shows also play a significant role in American culture and politics, providing spaces for social discourse. Students will trace the development of different forms of televised comedy and their production practices and examine the genre as an expression of multiple factors, from economic and industrial structures to audience makeup and viewing contexts to larger sociocultural dynamics. In so doing, they will engage with larger questions about the nature of collaboration in TV production, the role of humor in public discourse, and what it means to be "funny" on TV.

COMM 111B. CCP: Global Borders: Communication and Conflict

Instructor: Elana Zilberg

Across the globe, geopolitical borders are charged sites of cross-cultural communication and conflict. While borders are commonly conceived as fixed physical demarcations, in this course we will examine borders as sites of exchange, as contested boundaries where diverse actors and practices converge and diverge, and as complex historical and socio-spatial formations that call into question presumed divisions between inside/outside, us/them, human/nonhuman, and technological/ecological.

COMM 113T A00: Intermediate Topics in Communication

Instructor: Erika Ramirez Mayoral

Title: Public hearings as Political Testimonio

Description: What is a political testimonio? What is the use of oral history in a political process? This course looks at the ways in which "the public" participates in local politics as historic everyday moments. The course will examine notions of "the public”, "citizenship", “the every day” and “testimonio” to further understand how marginalized voices engage in democratic processes. This course will also look at the ways in which political testimonios are recorded and historicized outside of "political meetings”. As a group, we will examine different moments in which testimonios and personal ethnographies become central to social justice struggles. Readings center Chicanx feminist theory and literature, indigenous scholarship, ethnographic work, oral history practices while our practice in testimonio work will center around virtual civic participation around “local” issues.

COMM 113T B00: Intermediate Topics in Communication

Instructor: Andrew deWaard

Title: Media Authorship (The Films of Spike Lee & Kathryn Bigelow)

Description: This course serves as an introduction to the concept of film authorship with a focus on Hollywood filmmaking in the last thirty years, as seen through two case studies: Spike Lee and Kathryn Bigelow. We begin with the tradition of “auteur theory” -- the idea that the director, not the screenwriter, is the true “artist” and “author” in filmmaking -- and will arrive at the broader contemporary conception of the filmmaker as a site of encounter for many elements: collaboration, identity, industry, intertext, reception, and context. Spike Lee is our first case study, and through the films Do the Right Thing, 4 Little Girls, When the Levees Broke, Inside Man, BlacKkKlansman, and Da 5 Bloods, we will analyze traditional authorial elements, such as a formal “signature,” as well as recurring themes and motifs. We will also consider how authorship intersects with issues of race, class, violence, and representation. Kathryn Bigelow will be our second case study, and Point Break, Blue Steel, The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Near Dark, and Detroit will allow us to consider issues of gender, genre, and authorial responsibility, in this case the depiction of war. The main assignment of the course is an argumentative essay about a filmmaker of your choosing.

 

ADVANCED ELECTIVES

COMM 146 A00: Advanced Topics in Cultural Production

Instructor: Grant Leuning

Title: Critical Production

Description: Zines, book-making and digital layout are used to experiment with production as a mode of critical thinking. With “making” as our method, this course explores the intersectional cultural politics of independent media, media theory, and democratic possibilities of D.I.Y., alongside practical production instruction.

COMM 146 B00: Advanced Topics in Cultural Production

Instructor: Olga Lazitski-Torres

Title: Media Systems in the Post-Truth Era

Description: This seminar explores media practices of the age of “post-truth” that we live in today and their problematic relationship with truth: Is there such a thing as truth? How do I know it's really there and not just a projection of my consciousness? Is there a way to understand what’s “really” happening in the world without being influenced to think a certain way? We will begin the course by examining the concept of the “post-truth” era. We will look closely at the emergence of “post-truth” and the role of ideology and lies in different political regimes (such as neo-liberal Western regimes, authoritarian regimes of Russia and China, and Latin American populist regimes). We will explore the “post-truth” implications in both politics and media in different parts of the world. Using case studies from the U.S., Russia, China, and Latin America, we will analyze how journalism has been reimagined in a “post-truth” world and how journalists within different media systems are dealing with the challenges of the post-truth era.

Spring 2021

JUNIOR SEMINARS

PREREQUISITES: Junior Standing and MUST HAVE COMPLETED COMM 10 and AT LEAST 1 of the COMM 100 courses

COMM 190: A00

Instructor: Soraya Abuelhiga

Day & Time: Monday 11am - 1:50pm

Title: Laughing Matters: Otherness in U.S. Comedy

Description: In this course, we will examine comedic works and representations by and about “Othered” Americans—and, conversely, American “comedic” representations of otherness—to examine the roles of humor in American identity and power formations. We will disentangle racial, political, historical, and sociocultural structures informing narrow (mis)representations of colored, disabled, female, and LGBTQ Americans. Our goal is to understand how histories of oppression and questions of power have affected contemporary American experiences as conveyed through humor. 

 

COMM 190: B00

Instructor: Taisha McMickens

Day & Time: Wednesday 9am - 11:50am

Title: Queer Intercultural Communication

Description: With attention to intersectionality, embodiment and power, queer intercultural communication critically examines the politices of sexuality and belonging across differences. This course explores the intersection of queerness and sexuality in intercultural communication related to race, gender, ethnicity, and globalization to unpack alternative ways of knowing and being. The course is designed to challenge understandings of normative views of sexuality in intercultural interactions and contexts.

 

COMM 190: C00

Instructor: Angelica Kalika

Day & Time: Wednesday 2pm - 4:50pm

Title: Social Media Communities

Description: Course intended to analyze social media strategies and products that can influence our politics and public opinion. Through a discourse on digital communication principles, using a sociological lens, case studies will at social platform use in relation to fake news, politics, privacy, digital regulations, and the ethical implications of our human and non-human online interactions.

 

COMM 102B A00: Methods of Media Production Practicum: Audio Story and Podcasting Practicum

Description: This will be a production-oriented course where students will be exposed to diverse audio media forms and then will be called on to develop and produce their own stories. We’ll listen to and critically analyze journalistic podcasts, features, documentaries, diaries, place-casts and news shorts to evaluate what makes for compelling and effective audio as a contemporary storytelling form. We’ll survey the landscape of the rapidly-evolving audio and podcasting market. And we’ll talk about the ethical challenges and obligations involved with audio story production. Students will gain technical and production skills to facilitate their own creativity in the audio sphere. They’ll learn audio editing, interviewing skills, narration and recording and production skills. They’ll come away having produced narrated and non-narrated audio stories and profiles, and will leave the class with a solid start to their own original podcast.

 

COMM 113T A00: Intermediate Topics in Communication

Instructor: Gary Fields

Title: Native Americans in the Makings of the U.S. From First Contact to Current Struggles for Equality

Description: This course introduces students to themes from Native American Studies and is intended as a provocative engagement with a range of texts and issues covering the history and contemporary cultural politics of indigenous Americans.  The course has 2 primary aims.  Substantively, the course is designed to provide a starting point for studying the history of the encounters between indigenous Americans and immigrant settlers to the U.S.  Such themes, often racially-charged, have generated enormous controversies but at the same time, the voices and experiences of indigenous Americans have been too often concealed from view in these debates.  The course makes a modest effort to intervene in these issues, and render Amerindians visible and their voices audible while conceding that many of these controversies remain open questions.  Because the substance of the course material focuses heavily on debate and controversy, one of the primary pedagogical aims of the course will focus on understanding the nature of arguments.  In essence, the course is intended to be a theoretically rigorous, historically rich, and topically interesting engagement with different arguments about the colonization of “Indian Country” and the all-too-often forgotten story of encounters between indigenous Americans and the immigrant settlers who came later. 

COMM 132 A00: Advanced Topics in Communication, Politics and Society

Instructor: Yazhou Liu

Title: Media and Social Change

Description: This course provides an in-depth look at the interplay between the media and other fields of society, such as politics, business, the arts, religion, medicine, sports, private life, and so on. As the media permeates contemporary society, how the media operates has been transforming how other fields operate to varying degrees. Accordingly, many important societal changes can only be fully understood by taking the role of the media into account. Media scholars have used the concept of mediatization to theorize the process in which the media effects changes in the operation of other social fields. Using both historical and contemporary cases, this course examines the emergence of mediatization through a historical lens, explores the unfolding of mediatization in various fields, and evaluates the consequences of mediatization in a critical manner.

COMM 146 A00:  Advanced Topics in Cultural Production

Topic: K Pop

Instructor: Patty Ahn

Description: This course is an upper-level seminar on the global cultures of K-Pop. During the ten-week quarter, we look at the different social, technological, and creative structures that make South Korea’s multi-billion dollar music industry such a complex phenomenon. As we situate K-Pop within a broader state campaign to remake South Korea’s image in the global economy, we consider what implications this might have for a country that has suffered decades of economic instability and political suppression. The class will be held entirely online for the Fall 2020 quarter and will combine recorded lectures, live discussion sessions held over Zoom, and web-based media exercises designed to immerse students in a fan culture that largely lived online well before the pandemic hit. Assignments will ask students to synthesize course materials in the form of critical web-based blog posts and multimodal essays written to address a general audience. Our overall aim for the quarter is to understand and accessibly communicate the broad spectrum of pleasures and problems that make K-Pop such a fascinating object of study.

 

COMM 146 B00: Advanced Topics in Cultural Production

Instructor: Zeinabu Davis

Title: Black Panther

Description: This course will look at the politics of the cinema industry and the development and reception of Marvel’s blockbuster film, Black Panther.  We will read articles, books & graphic novels connected to the character and the film, examine its reception, impact and worldwide response. We will dive deeper into the issues around cinematic representations of Black people with a focus on depictions of African cultures in cinema.  Special focus will be placed around the women and the role of gender in the film & its production. We will also consider the history and contributions of the original Black Panthers of the 1960s to American and world wide cultures. The course will require you to read, write and contribute to conversations in class and to complete a project and/or paper related to Black Panther

 

COMM 171: Environmental Communication

Instructor: Sam Gaffney

This course explores understandings of environmental issues and how they are communicated through a range of media formats, providing students with a space to pursue personal and group projects that reflect upon these issues. The first half of the course is dedicated to complicating common conceptualizations of nature and the environment and developing a theoretical understanding of the intersections of nature, society, and capitalism. The second half of the course builds from this theoretical foundation, analyzing real-world cases of environmental injustice. Through lecture and seminar sessions, the course analyzes environmental concepts and issues embedded in critical scholarship and creative media, with a focus on how those issues are communicated. Through studio sessions, the course facilitates students' development of personal and group projects in different media formats. Overall, the course aims to enrich, complicate, and provide a creative outlet for students’ engagements with the environment.

 

 

Summer Session 1

JUNIOR SEMINARS

PREREQUISITES: Junior Standing and MUST HAVE COMPLETED COMM 10 and AT LEAST 1 of the COMM 100 courses

COMM 190: A00

Instructor: Christina Aushana

Day & Time: Monday & Wednesday 11am - 1:50pm

Title: Policing the Crisis/Crises of Policing: Abolition, Antiblackness, and the Politics of State Violence

Description: Unprecedented nationwide protests and grassroots organizing against anti-Black police violence in 2020 renewed ongoing demands to end the crisis of policing endemic across US political, legal, and educational institutions. This seminar discusses how anti-Blackness has been historically foundational to the structure, organization and maintenance of modern policing and contiunes to shape the racialized policing of bodies, social movements, and situated knowledges of communities. While viral imahes of police brutality are held up as evidence of anti-Black violence, these representations are only the surface of deeper, enduring structures of anti-Black racism. We will examine how the intersection of anti-Blackness and policing emerges across cultural texts, from Hollywood films to virtual reality simulators used in police training. Along with reading course texts (ethnographies of policing, abolition literatures, etc.) and leading class discussions, students will expand their understanding of policing through the prism of abolition and chart new paradigms for imagining a world without police violence. This course will also introduce students to ethnographic research methods in preparation for the final research paper. This is a discussion-based seminar course, so synchronous attendance and full participation will be required.

 

COMM 113T A00: Intermediate Topics in Communication

Instructor: Allan Havis

Title: American Political Films

Description: Analysis of select American political films froms 1960s to recent years, mostly Hollywood productions with an eye on social struggle. Ten films studied using textbook American Film & Society Since 1945 by Albert Auster and Leonard Quart.

 

COMM 132 A00: Advanced Topics in Communication, Politics and Society

Instructor: Denise McKenna

Title: TBA

Description: TBA

 

COMM 146 A00:  Advanced Topics in Cultural Production

Instructor: Erin Hill

Title: Production Practices in the Media Industry


Description: This course examines media industries and their cultures of production, with particular focus on the U.S. film and television industry, including its collaborative creative process, employment practices, work cultures and the mythologies that underlie them. Rather than “the production of culture,” (how the film/TV industry’s onscreen products produce mass cultural meaning, pleasure and ideology), the course will examine “cultures of production,” (how production worlds function as subcultures replete with values, ethics and rituals). After a brief theoretical and conceptual overview students will consider case studies of U.S. media workers, their relationships to and roles in the creative process, connecting institutional/political-economic investigations of media structures with closer textual and discourse analyses of workers’ experiences and how they theorize or “make sense” of their own working lives. Throughout the quarter, we will explore the range of methods that have been employed to research media industries (such as political economy, ethnography, meta-textual analysis, labor studies, anthropology, sociology, and industrial film history). Students will use some of these methods and frameworks to conduct their own original research into a culture of production (whether in or outside of “Hollywood” or the U.S. context), via existing literature and such primary materials as biographies, oral histories, interviews, “behind-the-scenes” featurettes, demo reels, trade publications, how-to manuals, professional blogs, online forums and communities, and industry or public-facing panels, roundtables and other managed forms of self-disclosure. 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Session 2

JUNIOR SEMINARS

PREREQUISITES: Junior Standing and MUST HAVE COMPLETED COMM 10 and AT LEAST 1 of the COMM 100 courses

COMM 190: A00

Instructor: Thomas Conner

Day & Time: Tuesday & Thursday 2 pm - 4:50 pm

Title: Arts Criticism in America

Description: Movies, music, TV, books, visual art - how do you decide which of it is any good? Importantly, where do these debates actually occur, how do various media shape these discourses, and why should it matter? Students in this course will read texts from media studies, the humanities, and journalism about the social maintenance of standards for art and culture. Beginning with an examination of 19th - and the 20th - century struggles to navigate the "bloody crossroads" between art and politics, we will examine the formation and circulation of discourses about the sanctioned figure of the arts critic and ways that online media have decentralized a gatekeeping role with varying impacts on culture's creators, consumers, and capitalists. While many suggest that the influence of the arts criticism has waned in the 21st century, this course will conclude by searching for its methods within digital culture, from online product reviews to YouTube "reaction videos".