MCC-UE 1200 - Senior Media Seminar

Open only to seniors in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication or by permission of the instructor. A culminating course integrating models of interpretation derived from the liberal arts with the analytical tools developed in media, culture, and communication coursework. Reflects current research interests within the department and encourages students to explore emerging issues in the field, including media and globalization, professional ethics, and the interaction between audiences and texts.

Summer 2017

MCC-UE 1200-001 / Topic: Topic Critical Thinking About Media in the 21st Century
Instructor: Terence Moran, Tues/Thurs 5:00-8:00 pm

Explorations into thinking critically about how you use media in your own life and how media shape your own culture and communication.

Fall 2017

MCC-UE 1200-001 / TOPIC: Islam and Media
Isra Ali, Wednesdays 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

Contemporary conversations about Islam and media tend to center the role of new media in revolutionary uprisings in Middle Eastern states, the recruitment of sympathizers to the causes of Islamic terrorist organizations, and the (mis)representation of Muslims in news and popular discourses. This course provides a broader look at Islam and media that focuses on the historical and contemporary uses of traditional and new forms of media in Muslim societies, the role of media in Islamic practices, alongside the history of knowledge production about Muslims and Islam and the uses and circulation of that knowledge. We will consider how everyday Muslims in the contemporary era are utilizing media to articulate Muslim identity, including how new media attention economies are creating a category of young Muslim lifestyle and fashion bloggers who are incorporating religious belief and practice into their output.  Broadly speaking, we will consider the relationship between Islam and Media from a number of perspectives in order to better understand and interrogate our common understandings of both Islam and Media.

MCC-UE 1200-002 / TOPIC: Science, Technology, and Cinema
Jeremy Blatter, Tuesdays 2:00-4:30 pm

From nineteenth-century experiments in chronophotography to twenty-first century debates about the fate of film in the digital age, this course will examine the history of cinema through the lens of Science and Technology Studies. Questions we will consider include: What role has cinematography played in scientific research? How have technological innovations impacted film production and aesthetics? How has science and technology been represented in popular film and what do these cinematic representations reveal about society and culture at different historical junctures? How has scientific thought, especially psychology and psychoanalysis, influenced film theory and criticism and vice versa? In what ways has scientific and filmic discourse shaped conceptions of race, gender and sexuality?

MCC-UE 1200-003 / TOPIC: How the Computer Became Personal
Laine Nooney, Mondays 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

Across both academic and popular writing, the history of computing remains documented as a largely technological affair: the transformations in microprocessor technology that shrank machines from mainframes to desktops to mobile devices; the enhancements in storage capacity permitting ever more powerful digital tools; and the shifting graphical and audio capabilities that enable computers to render fully-realized 3D worlds and stunning special effects. The history of computing, by and large, has been a history of computers becoming smaller, faster and more powerful.

But technological change is only a small part of the drama of how we learned to live with computers. Focusing on the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s—the period in which personal computing emerged as a dominant consumer medium in the Western world—this course approaches the history of computing from the orientation of cultural and social politics. In other words, how and in what ways did computers change everyday life?

To answer these questions, students will explore and report on computer enthusiast magazines from the 1980s; read several traditional “hagiographies” of early computing culture, including accounts from Xerox PARC, and the founding of Apple and Microsoft; practice challenging the methodological assumptions embedded in progressivist and teleological accounts of media; compile an annotated bibliography documenting their original archival research into everyday computing culture, including topics such as home productivity, telecommuting, portability, ergonomics, and peripherality; and experiment with alternative modes of historical representation in the course’s final project—an exhibition catalog for a hypothetical museum exhibition that answers the course’s titular question: how did the computer become personal?

MCC-UE 1200-004 / TOPIC: Forensic Media
Kelli Moore, Mondays 2:00 – 4:30 pm

What are the distinctions between facts, data, information, opinion, knowledge, and understanding? Through what techniques of argumentation are these concepts discovered or achieved? This course introduces students to rhetoric—the art of persuasion-- formulated by Aristotle in the 4th Century BCE.  The first half of the semester is dedicated to exploring the distinctions between epideictic, forensic, and deliberative speech. We consider techniques of rhetoric that relate to the activities of truth telling and lying and the significance of these activities to the city (polis) and the discovery of matters held in common (res publica). In this course we ask: what is the character of the speaker, what is the nature of subject matter, and credibility? The second half of the semester is dedicated to contemporary forensic media inquiries. Specifically, we consider the role of the computer--its algorithmic computational language, hardware and software—along side electronic multimedia forms--digital image, and social media platforms-- in current debates about the global acquisition and circulation of knowledge.

MCC-UE 1200-005 / TOPIC: Religion, Revolution and Media
Arvind Rajagopal, Thursdays 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

The print "revolution" was a revolution against the power of the Roman Catholic Church, in favor of individual rights, vernacular languages, and of the Protestant faith. The links between religion and media have tended to get cordoned off for specialist attention although they run right through modern history. Today, when religious conservatism appears to be trumping liberal democracy even in the west, it is perhaps a good moment for historical stock-taking, and to survey key selected events in world history, to examine the interplay between religiosity and media-led mobilization. The main focus of the course will be on 20th C revolutions, from the Bolshevik revolution, on through the Iranian revolution, Tahrir Square in Egypt, and recent forms of religiously inspired populism in different parts of the world.  

MCC-UE 1200-006 / TOPIC: Algorithmic Cultures
Angela Wu, Tuesdays 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

“Data alone does not make a Big Data revolution,” what is essential are the “analytics making data actionable” – Gary King (2016)

“That we are now turning to algorithms to identify what we need to know is as momentous as having relied on credentialed experts, the scientific method, common sense, or the word of God.” – Tarleton Gillespie (2015)

With time, there has been a shift of attention from “Big Data” per se to “algorithms”, or the ways in which we identify patterns in the data with aims of intervening in human processes. What we witness is a new phase of the age-old system of computerization and automation. As our culture becomes increasingly “datified”, algorithms are capable of penetrating and reconfiguring our daily experience to an unprecedented extent. We will examine today’s bewildering developments, in the hope of better conceptualizing the connections between socio-technical systems and cultural transformations.

MCC-UE 1200-007 / TOPIC: Global Media Scholars - Sydney
Aurora Wallace, Wednesdays 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

This seminar is for students in the Global Media Scholars program only. Students participating in this seminar will be enrolled by the department.