Instructor: Peter Asaro asarop AT newschool.edu
Time: Tuesday, 8:00 - 9:50 pm
Location: Johnson/Kaplan, 66 W. 12th Street
Course webpage is here: http://peterasaro.org/courses/2008MSI.html
Course blog is here: http://mediastudiesideas.wordpress.com
Course wiki is here: http://mediastudiesideas2008.pbwiki.com
This course is a survey of ideas: Media Ideas. Media Studies is an inter-disciplinary field of study. We tend to assume that ours is an exceptional era one unprecedented in its mediatization, unique in its digitality, its information- and image-centricity. But even if the conditions of our media environment are unprecedented, these claims of exceptionality are not new nor are the practices of thinking about and theorizing media and communication. In this course we will focus on the schools of thought that have shaped the study of media throughout the 20th century, and the theories that have lain the foundation for media studies in the 21st century. We will discover that media studies, as it has come, and continues to come, into its own as an academic discipline, has borrowed from a variety of other fields, including literary theory, art history, anthropology, sociology, history, and philosophy, to name just a few. As we come to appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of media studies, we will also have to consider what distinguishes our field from others: What constitutes a medium? What is communication? And, furthermore, what is "theory" and what good is it to theorize the media, or any cultural practice or product, for that matter? We have time this semester only to survey the field to see modeled for us the way others have approached the study of media and, in the process, to acquire a vocabulary of theory and establish a set of questions we can apply to the study of media.
Too often, media and technological change assume the character of transparency, invisibility or inevitability. This course aims at a critical analysis of how media have changed (and are changed by) the social perception of reality, modes of social communications, and power relations, and are inextricably linked to social structures, life practices, cultural developments, and material technologies. To this end we will consider three fundamental areas: Aesthetics, Power and Technology.
Media Studies: Ideas will serve not only as a foundational course for intermediate and advanced courses in the Media Studies Program, but as a sharp critical engagement of the roles the media play in our individual and collective experience. Selected viewing and listening assignments will supplement readings and provide material to work with in class discussions.
You are expected to have thoroughly and thoughtfully read the assigned texts and to have prepared yourself to contribute meaningfully to the class discussions. For some people, that preparation requires taking copious notes on or abstracting the assigned readings; for others, it entails supplementing the assigned readings with explanatory texts found in survey textbooks or in online sources; and for others still, it involves reading the texts, ruminating on them afterwards, then discussing those readings with classmates before the class meeting. Whatever method best suits you, I hope you arrive at class with copies of the assigned reading, ready and willing to make yourself a valued contributor to the discussion, and eager to share your own relevant media experiences and interests. Your participation will be evaluated in terms of both quantity and quality.
As this is a survey course, regular attendance is essential. You will be permitted two excused absences (you must notify me of your inability to attend before class, via email or phone). Any subsequent absences and any un-excused absences will adversely affect your grade.
Students will be required to make weekly blog entries commenting
on the readings for the week. You will be required to create an
account on WordPress, and send me an email with their LoginID,
so that you can be added as authors for the collective course
blog. Everyone will be posting to a common blog page, and this
will be readable by your classmates, as well as the entire internet.
Any discussions you would like to keep within the class should
take place on the Blackboard discussion space. When writing and
making comments, you are expected to treat other students with
the same respect and courtesy as you should in the classroom.
Discussion questions will be posted each week to help stimulate the writing process. You are also expected to read the posts of your classmates, and to comment on at least 2 other posts each week. Posts will not be graded, but I will read them and occasionally comment on them myself.
Blog posts and comments will be due before the start of each class. They are time stamped when you post them. Discussion questions for the next week will be posted shortly after each class.
Proposals Due: October 7
Project Due: October 21
There will be a midterm project due before Fall Break. You will have the following options:
1) Design a media project which interrogates media theories, practices, technologies, or products. The media project could be video, audio, image-based, text-based, interactive, or even a performance. It could be traditional or digital media (digital documentation will be required for non-digital media). Projects should be documented, including at least a written description of the project, its goals, and its means of execution, and digital documentation (audio/visual) as appropriate. All projects should respect copyright and fair-use standards. Group projects must be approved, proposals for group projects must clearly indicate which group members are responsible for which parts of the project, and each member of the group must provide their own project description and summary.
2) Write a 1500 word (approx 5-6 page, Times New Roman, 12pt font, double spaced) paper on a topic related to the theories discussed in class. This could entail analyzing a media industry, genre, product or practice using the concepts from the class. Or it could compare two of the theoretical approaches discussed in class. Explain how they agree or disagree, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. Your paper should be submitted to me in electronic form (Word Perfect, MS Word, PDF, HTML and plain TXT are all fine). All quotations and references must be properly cited.
Proposals Due: November 18
Paper Due: December 23
Length: 3000-5000 words (approx. 12-18 pages)
There will be no final exam. Instead, a 3000-5000 word (Times New Roman, 12pt font, double spaced) term paper is due on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 at 7:00PM. If that time will not work for you, you need to make other arrangements by Tuesday, December 16th at the latest.
Paper topics can address any aspect of the topics and materials discussed in class. They can focus on the theories themselves, or in applying the theories to media phenomena. Papers should include materials beyond what is directly covered in class, as appropriate for your topic. The blog will provide many ideas for papers, as will class discussion. You will have to write a proposal for your paper by November 18, but you should be thinking about possible topics throughout the semester.
Your paper should be submitted to me in electronic form (Word Perfect, MS Word, PDF, HTML and plain TXT are all fine). Late papers will not be accepted, as I must turn in grades shortly thereafter.
Lawrence Grossberg, Ellen Wartella & D. Charles Whitney,
Media Making: Mass Media in Popular Culture, Thousand Oaks,
CA: Sage, 1998.
Vincent B. Leitch, Ed., Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, New York: W.W. Norton, 2001.
Dominic Strinati, An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture, New York: Routledge, 1995.
W.J.T. Mitchell's "U Chicago Media Theory Class's Media Theory Glossary"
Media and Communications Site @ University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Communication, Cultural and Media Studies Infobase
Kristi Siegel, "Introduction to Modern Literary Theory"
to Read Theory," James Klumpp, University of Maryland
"Five Skills a Good Theorist Must Master," James Klumpp, University of Maryland
"How to Read Theory," Mick Beltz, George Mason University
"Heuristics for Studying Theory," Vincent Leitch, University of Oklahoma
"Hints on How to Read Theory," Michelle Murphy, University of Toronto
Benjamin Bloom's Taxonomy, University of Victoria
All readings will be available electronically, via the web, in PDF, MS Word, HTML, or similar format.
How to create a WordPress Account, and make a Blog Entry
Watch: Merchants of Cool (2001) PBS Frontline
Jonathan Culler, "What Is Theory?" In Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997: 1-17.
M. H. Abrams, "The Orientation of Critical Theories," In The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1953: 3-29.
Vincent B. Leitch, "Preface," "Assessing Reading Practices: From New Criticism to Poststructuralism to Cultural Studies," and "Theory Fashion", in Theory Matters, New York: Routledge, 2003: vii-x, 9-15, 29-33.
Terry Eagleton, "The Rise and Fall of Theory" and "The Path to Postmodernism," in After Theory, New York: Basic Books, 2003: 23-73.
Antonio Gramsci, "The Study of Philosophy," in Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci, New York: International Publishers, 1971: 323-377.
Marshall McLuhan, "The Medium is the Message," in Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner, Eds., Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks, Rev. Ed., Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006: 129-138.
Mark Hansen, "Media Theory," Theory, Culture & Society, 23(2-3) (2006): 297-306.
Denis McQuail, "First Approaches," in McQuail's Mass Communication Theory, 4th ed., London: Sage, 2000: 4-15.
Georg Stanitzek, "Texts and Paratexts in Media," Critical Inquiry 32.1 (Autumn 2005): 27-42.
Kevin Williams, "Introduction: Unraveling Media Theory" and "Section 1: Developing the Field: A History of Media Theory," in Understanding Media Theory, London: Arnold, 2003: 1-70.
W. J. T. Mitchell, "Medium Theory: Preface to the 2003 Critical Inquiry Symposium," Critical Inquiry, 30/2 April, 2003.
Watch: Marshall McLuhan clips on CBC
The World is a Global Village (1960)
McLuhan predicts 'World Connectivity' (1965)
A Pop Philosopher (1965)
Oracle of the Electronic Age (1966)
McLuhan and Mailer Go Head-to-Head (1967)
Edward Herman & Noam Chomsky "A Propaganda Model," in Meenakshi Gigi Durham & Douglas M. Kellner, Eds., Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks, Rev. Ed., Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001: 280-317.
Max Horkheimer & Theodor Adorno, "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception," in Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner, Eds., Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks, Rev. Ed., Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001: 71-101.
Stuart Hall "Encoding/Decoding," in Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner, Eds., Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks, Rev. Ed., Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001: 166-176.
Watch: Manufacturing Consent (1992)
Karl Marx & Frederick Engels. "The Ruling Class and The Ruling Idea," reprinted in Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner, Eds., Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks, Rev. Ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001: 39-42.
Jürgen Habermas, "The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article," reprinted in Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner, Eds., Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks, Rev. Ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001: 102-107.
David Joselit, "The Video Public Sphere," in Nicholas Mirzoeff, Ed., The Visual Culture Reader, New York: Routledge, 1998: 451-457.
Nicholas Garnham, "The Media and the Public Sphere," in Habermas and the Public Sphere, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995: 359-376.
Watch: The Presidential & Vice Presidential Debates
Commentary on VP Debates with Kathleen Hall and Brooke Galdstone (October 3, 2008) PBS Bill Moyers Journal
Nancy Fraser, "Rethinking the Public Sphere," reprinted in Simon During, Ed., The Cultural Studies Reader, 2nd ed., New York: Routledge, 1993: 518-536.
Antonio Gramsci. "History of The Subaltern Classes, and The Concept of 'Ideology'," reprinted in Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner, Eds., Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks, Rev. Ed., Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001: 43-47.
Craig Calhoun, "Introduction," in Habermas and the Public Sphere, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995: 1-50.
Michael Foucault, "III. Discipline, 3. Panopticism," in Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison, New York: Vintage Books, 1975 (translated from the French by Alan Sheridan, 1977): 195-228.
Alexander R. Galloway and Eugene Thacker, "Protocol, Control, and Networks," Grey Room, 17, Fall 2004: 6-29.
Gilles Deleuze,"Control and Becoming" and "Postscript on Control Societies," in Negotiations, 1972-1990, New York: Columbia University Press, 1995: 169-182.
Joshua Meyrowitz, "Media and Behavior: A Missing Link," in No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior, New York: Oxford University Press, 1985: 13-34.
Alexander R. Galloway, "Protocol," Theory, Culture & Society, vol. 23 (2006): 317-320.
Nikolas Rose & Thomas Osborne, "Do the Social Sciences Create Phenomena: The Case of Public Opinion Research," British Journal of Sociology, 50, 3 (1999): 367-396.
Herman Gray, "The Politics of Representation In Network Television," in Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner, Eds., Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks, Rev. Ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001: 439-462.
Lisa Nakamura, "Menu-Driven Identities: Making Race Happen Online," in Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet, London: Routledge, 2002: 101-135.
Watch: The Persuaders (2004) PBS Frontline
430 Demographics (2008) TheOnion.com
Harold Innis, "The Bias of Communication," in The Bias of Communication, Toronto: University of Toronto Press: 33-60.
Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (excerpt)
Arjun Appadurai, "Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy," in Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1996: 27-47.
Pablo Boczkowski & L. Lievrouw, "Bridging STS and Communication Studies: Scholarship on Media and Information Technologies," in O. Amsterdamska, E. Hackett, M. Lynch & J. Wajcman (eds.), The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, Third edition, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007: 949-977.
Bruno Latour, "A Collective of Humans and Nonhumans," in Pandora's Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999: 174-215.
Gary Lee Downey, Joseph Dumit & Sarah Williams, "Cyborg Anthropology," Cultural Anthropology, May 1995, Vol. 10, No. 2: 264-269.
Bruno Latour, "Glossary," in Pandora's Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999: 303-311.
Norbert Wiener, "Information, Language and Society," in Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Paris: Hermann and Co., Cambridge, MA: The Technology Press, and New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, 1948: 155-165.
N. Katherine Hayles, "Liberal Subjectivity Imperiled: Norbert Weiner and Cybernetic Anxiety," in How We Became Post-Human: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1999: 84-112.
Peter Asaro, "Cybernetics," in Raul Rojas (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Computers and Computer History, London, UK: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2001: 219.
Peter Asaro, "Cybernetic Writings of Norbert Wiener," in Raul Rojas (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Computers and Computer History, London, UK: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2001: 220.
Warren Weaver, "Recent Contributions to the Mathematical Theory of Communication," in Claude E. Shannon & Warren Weaver, The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1948: 3-28.
Norbert Wiener, "The First and the Second Industrial Revolutions," in The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1950: 136-162.
Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century," in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, New York, NY: Routledge, 1991: 149-181.
Martti Lahti, "As We Become Machines: Corporeal Pleasures in Video Games," The Video Game Theory Reader, Mark J. P. Wolf, and Bernard Perron (eds.), New York, Routledge, 2003: 157-170.
Manfred E. Clynes & Nathan S. Kline, "Cyborgs and Space," Astronautics (September, 1960): 27-31. Reprinted in The Cyborg Handbook, Edited by Chris Hables Gray, New York, NY: Routledge, 1995: 29-33.
Manfred E. Clynes, "Foreword," To Cyborg: Evolution of the Superman, Daniel S. Halacy, New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1965: 6-8.
Peter Asaro, "Cyborg," in Raul Rojas (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Computers and Computer History, London, UK: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2001: 221.
Jay David Bolter & Richard Grusin, "Theory," in Remediation: Understanding New Media, Cambridge, MA: MIT University Press, 1999: 20-84.
N. Katherine Hayles, "Print Is Flat, Code Is Deep: The Importance of Media-Specific Analysis," Poetics Today, 25:1 (Spring, 2004): 67-90.
Lev Manovich, "What is New Media?" in The Language of New Media, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001: 18-55.
Watch: Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us (2007) Mark Wensch
"Text Messaging Versus Morse Code" (2006) Jay Leno's Tonight Show
New Interface Talks on TED: Anand Agarawala: BumpTop desktop (2007)
Blaise Aguera y Arcas: Photosynth (2007)
Johnny Lee: Wii Remote Hacks (2008)
Johnny Lee YouTube Video (2008)
John Dewey, "The Act of Expression," and "The Expressive Object," in Art as Experience, Perigee Books, New York, NY, 1934: 58-105.
Immanuel Kant, "Analytic of Aesthetic Judgement, Analytic of the Beautiful," Critique of Judgment, James Creed Meredith (trans.) Oxford University Press, 2007: pp. 35-74
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Kant's Aesthetics and Teleology
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dewey's Aesthetics
Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility," in The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility and Other Writings on Media, Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2008: 19-55.
Jean Baudrillard, Simulations, New York; Semiotexte, 1983.
Teodor Adorno, "On the Fetish Character in Music and the Regression of Listening," in The Culture Industry, J. M. Bernstein (Ed.), New York: Routledge, 2001: 29-60.
Watch: (Re)Creativity: Remixing and Copyright (2007) Larry Lessig on TED
Jonathan Sterne, "Audible Technique and Media," The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003: 137-177.
Michael Taussig, "Physiognomic Aspects of Visual Worlds," in Lucien Taylor (ed.), Visualizing Theory: Selected Essays from V.A.R. 1990-1994, New York and London: Routledge, 1994: 205-213.
Torben Grodal, "Stories for the Eye, Ear, and Muscles: Video Games, Media, and Embodied Experiences," in The Video Game Theory Reader, Mark J. P. Wolf, and Bernard Perron (eds.), New York: Routledge, 2003: 129-155.
Hans Belting, "Image, Medium, Body: A New Approach to Iconology," Critical Inquiry, vol 31 (Winter 2005): 302-319.
Bernadette Wegenstein, "The Medium is the Body," Getting Under the Skin: Body and Media Theory, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006: 119-162.
Listen: "Around the World On The Phonograph" Thomas Edison (1888)
"To President Benjamin Harrison" Lord Stanley (1888)
"The Electric Light Quadrille" Issler's Orchestra (1889)
"Message to Posterity" Florence Nightingale (1890)
"Personal Speech to the Future" P.T. Barnum (1890)
"Campaign Speech excerpt" Grover Cleveland (1892)
"Columbia Exposition March" Gilmore's Band (1893)
"The Star Spangled Banner" U.S. Marine Band (1895)
"Yazoo Dance" Sousa's Grand Concert Band (1895)
"Speech to the Republican Convention" William McKinley (1896)
"The Serenade" Vess L. Ossman (1897)
"Sentiments on the Cuban Question" Buffalo Bill Cody (1898)
Susan Sontag,"The Image-World," in On Photography, New York: Picador, 1973: 153-180.
Paul Virilio, "Cinema isn't I See, it's I Fly," in War and Cinema: The Logistics of Perception, London: Verso, 1989: 11-30.
Guy Debord, "The Commodity as Spectacle," reprinted in Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner, Eds., Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks, Rev. Ed., Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001: 139-143.
Watch: La Société du Spectacle (1973)
Remote Control Killers (2008) CNN