Current Course Offerings

Please check Albert or the Registrar's Office site for the most up-to-date class meeting times, locations, and call numbers. The courses will be open in Albert; there is no need to contact the Department directly. Albert wait lists will be available for all courses. Please email us with any additional questions.

MCC Graduate Courses Summer and Fall 2017

SUMMER 2017

MCC-GE 2147.001 Reality & Documentary Television
Summer Session I: May 22 - June 11, 2017

Mon-Thurs 12:00-2:50 PM | 4 credits
Professor: Susan Murray
MA Area of Study: Visual Culture and Cultural Studies

How do we explain how we got to the moment of a reality TV presidency? Since the early 2000s we have witnessed the proliferation of reality genres across cable and network programming schedules and experienced the resulting effects on not only the business of television, but global politics and culture. While there are specific explanations for the rise of the current wave of reality, reality programming is not new to television and has developed out of and in relationship to other non-fiction television forms- specifically game shows, participation programs, magazine news programs and, of course, documentary.

This course will survey the history and development of documentary and reality television and its implications for the politics, aesthetics, business, form, and culture of television. Students will develop analytical skills needed to understand the aesthetics and culture referenced and created by the documentary tradition and relit-based programming as well as the business and marketing strategies that have been instituted in relationship to it.

FALL 2017

MCC-GE 2001.001 Media, Culture, and Communication Core Seminar
Professor: Martin Scherzinger
Wednesdays 11:00-1:10 PM | 4 credits
MA Area of Study: Core Requirement

Examines theoretical approaches that are central to the study of media, culture, and communication. provides students with a historical and critical framework for understanding the literature and research traditions within the field of media studies with an emphasis on media and communication as institutional actors, technological artifacts, systems of representation and meaningful cultural objects.

MCC-GE 2001.002 Media, Culture, and Communication Core Seminar
Professor: Martin Scherzinger
Wednesdays 2:00-4:10 PM | 4 credits
MA Area of Study: Core Requirement

Examines theoretical approaches that are central to the study of media, culture and communication. Provides students with a historical and critical framework for understanding the literature and research traditions within the field of media studies with an emphasis on media and communication as institutional actors, technological artifacts, systems of representation and meaningful cultural objects.

MCC-GE 2001.003 Media, Culture, and Communication Core Seminar
Professor: Helga Tawil-Souri
Tuesdays 2:00-4:10 PM | 4 credits
MA Area of Study: Core Requirement

Examines theoretical approaches that are central to the study of media, culture and communication. Provides students with a historical and critical framework for understanding the literature and research traditions within the field of media studies with an emphasis on media and communication as institutional actors, technological artifacts, systems of representation and meaningful cultural objects.

MCC-GE 2005.001 The Psychic Life of Media
Professor: Ben Kafka
Wednesdays 2:00-4:10 PM | 4 credits
MA Area of Study: Visual Culture and Cultural Studies, Technology and Society

"Our writing tools are also working on our thoughts," Nietzsche supposedly declared à propos his typewriter. This claim has been used by Friedrich Kittler and others to argue for a version of media studies based on "media-technological determinism." This course will consider how various Freudian and post-Freudian psychoanalytic concepts might be used to critique this position, or at least provide it with greater nuance. Readings vary from semester to semester.

MCC-GE 2100.001 Seminar in Media Criticism: History of Media Theory
Professor: Arvind Rajagopal
Thursdays 2:00-4:10 PM | 4 credits
MA Area of Study: Media Institutions and Politics

Analysis of the media environment from a variety of critical perspectives. Emphasis on writing as well as reading media criticism. The historicity of media as a concept has been strangely overlooked - in part because of its constitutive power during the postwar years across much of the world, and because the character of this power was informal, and unwritten. The reason for this informal and unwritten status had to do with the self-fashioning of the western world during the period, as free, as opposed to the state-controlled and dictatorial East Bloc. The media in this context had to enact a script already in place, spontaneously reproduced over and again, of the paradox of a consensual market democracy. Here critics confronted media as a degraded but unavoidable category of analysis. The older social sciences relegated it to the margins as a term whose referents were shifting and slippery, while the humanities found it to be a transgressive resource for disruptive textual interpretations. This course will survey the history of media theories after World War II, while asking how the Cold War has shaped our historical present, and it will try to assess what that history of media theory was, besides being a succession of discarded and superseded theories.

MCC-GE 2143.001 The Cultural Analysis of Design: Institutional Logics
Professor: Roger Friedland
Tuesdays 11:00-1:10 PM | 4 credits
MA Area of Study: Visual Culture & Cultural Studies, Interaction & Social Processes

Topic: Institutional Logics. This seminar is designed to introduce students to institutional logics, a theoretical orientation that seeks to understand the common ordering of meaningful material practice at a level which is not located just at the individual, organizational, group or societal levels. The approach has been particularly influential in scholarship on organizations, particularly that conducted in business schools, in studies of the emergence of new forms of practice from nouvelle cuisine, socially responsible investment, and the commercialization of the academy. It has multiple antecedents from a reaction to the homogenization of social fields based on agonistic power contests in the work of Pierre Bourdieu, the affordances of Michel Foucault’s method in his histories of sexuality, to the polytheistic value spheres proposed by Max Weber. The institutional logical perspective has increasingly been in sustained contact and confrontation with that of Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot’s economies of worth. The seminar will engage substantively with unobservables and material practice primarily on market value and accounting on the one side, and on divinity and the nation state, on the other.

MCC-GE 2148.001 The Television Business
Professor: David Poltrack
Thursdays 6:00-9:15 PM | 4 credits
NOTE: This course meets for 9 sessions only. The dates are Sept. 7, 14, 21, 28; October 5, 12, 19, 26; November 2
MA Area of Study: Research Course

Exploration of the technical, legal, and economic structures including broadcast television, cable television, the internet and mobile.  Examination of the consequences of these structures on the content and social effects of mass media.  The focus will be on the programming and advertising structure of this evolving television business and how that structure is evolving with the 3-screen convergence of television, the internet, and mobile.

MCC-GE 2153.001 Media Activism: Decolonizing Media Studies
Professor: Nicholas Mirzoeff
Wednesdays 2:00-4:10 PM | 4 credits
MA Area of Study: Technology and Society, Media Institutions and Politics

This participatory and discussion-oriented course explores the politics of media activism: its tactics, its strategies and its goals. The course will rely on both a survey of the existing theory and scholarship on media activism, as well as close analyses of actual activist practices within both old and new media and on a local, national and global scale. Special attention will be paid to questions of creativity and efficacy, addressing questions concerning the value of media activism as both an aesthetic and political activity. SubTopic: Decolonizing Media Studies. Decolonizing media studies is to engage media from the perspective of the global South, whether in that South or looking to the North. In this optic, the “object” of that study is not the dominant media forms of racial capitalism but decolonial action and organizing. Following Fanon’s understanding that colonialism in the imperial metropole is fascism, the focus in the North becomes antifascism. This workshop will look at histories of racial capitalism, decolonial methodologies and specific case studies to develop this analysis. Its goal in short to engage with the ongoing dynamics of undoing the mediation of settler (neo)colonialism, from Standing Rock to Palestine and South Africa. The seminar is open to all, without preconditions, without hierarchy and without guarantees.

MCC-GE 2167.001 Transnational Media Flows
Professor: Juan Piñon
Mondays 2:00-4:10 PM | 4 credits
MA Area of Study: Global & Transcultural Communication

This class will study the global landscape of media flows, particularly television and film, and its specific configurations at regional and national levels. Rooted in the idea of media as cultural industries we will identify the supranational regional players from some of the most important geo-linguistic markets around the world, where the tensions of global/transnational media and cultural audience's dynamics at local levels become more evident. We will examine the implications of these industrial/cultural dynamics from both theories that denounce the homogenizing cultural effect produce by global media, as well as approaches that underscore the rising of counter-flow trends based on audiences' preferences.

MCC-GE 2174.001 Professional Writing and Research Applications
Professor: Brett Gary
Tuesdays 4:55-7:05 PM | 4 credits
MA Area of Study: Culminating Experience

This course is meant to integrate skills and knowledge acquired duringthe master’s program to achieve a professional level of competency inseveral areas:  writing for professional journals or websites;developing survey or other instruments for data production; surveyingthe scholarly literature; writing scholarly abstracts; understandingthe processes of self-editing and peer reviewing; and giving polishedoral presentations of final writing and/or web-based projects.

MCC-GE 2182.001 Communication Processes: Gender, Race & Cultural Identity
Professor: Deborah Borisoff
Wednesdays 4:55-7:05 PM | 4 credits
MA Area of Study: Interaction & Social Processes

Course examines past & current studies on language, communication theories, speech perception, & other aspects of verbal & nonverbal behavior. Students relate these studies to how gender, race, culture & sexual orientation are developed & reflected in society in both personal & professional relationships.

MCC-GE 2201.001 Mediating the Bio-Political Body
Professor: Allen Feldman
Mondays 4:55-7:05 PM | 4 credits
MA Area of Study: Media Institutions and Politics, Visual Culture & Cultural Studies

This seminar seeks to build media theory within the material histories, philosophy and political culture of embodiment/disembodiment. The body is situated as the interface of our era's most contentious political terrains including human rights violations, epidermal stigma, gendered gazes, targeting gazes, and confinement in refugee, detention, torture and concentration camps. For Foucault the formation of the political subject is isomorphic to the formation of the body as a communicative, mediating and mediated site. The body has become the screen, the archive and the stylus for political inscription and encryption. For Foucault, Agamben and Esposito the political is concerned with producing forms of life as biopower-- the governing of life and death through subject forming and deforming body-media from surveillance to violence. Previously Hegel, Kojeve, Lacan and Fanon theorized political domination as the spectral occupation and remediation of one body by another. Derrida described the current war on terror as the shift from communitas to immunitas, to auto-co-immunity in which the body-politic sacrifices its actuality to protect itself as virtuality. In the above theories the body unfolds as the place where our current historical actuality originates and culminates in a politics of somatic virtuality. We will examine the body as a political semiotechnique, as material support for political ideology and spectacle and as enabled/disabled by techno-political prosthetics and as the means of political virtualization. We will track several orienting genealogies of the body that roughly run from Hegel and Kojeve to Lacan and Fanon; from Spinoza, Nietzsche and Heidegger, to Deleuze, Foucault, Agamben, Esposito and Derrida; from Merleau-Ponty to Lefort and Ranciere. Among the themes to be explored are: exposability and disposability of the body; torture, embodied witnessing and truth; postcolonial typographies of the body; second bodies, subversive mimesis and political virtuality; political animality and monstrosity; communicable and excommunicated bodies; political violence as auto-immunization.

MCC-GE 2407.001 Visual Cultures of the Modern and Global City
Professor: Marita Sturken
Tuesdays 2:00-4:10 PM | 4 credits
MA Area of Study: Visual Culture & Cultural Studies, Global & Transcultural Communication

This course examines visual culture through a focus on the city, from the dynamics of visuality in the nineteenth-century modern cityscape to the mega cities of globalization.  We will look at the visual dynamics of urbanscapes, architecture, cinema, memory, and consumerism in the visual culture of the city.

MCC-GE 2900.001 Thesis in Media, Culture, and Communication
Professor: Susan Murray
Tuesdays 2:00-4:10 PM | Variable Credit
MA Area of Study: Culminating Experience

This course is designed to foster and support your thesis-writing process. Ours is a thesis-based seminar that serves as a writing workshop: we will write in class together, you will draft portions of your thesis, you will give and receive feedback on your writing. This class will also offer professional development for students interested in academic careers. Students apply research methodologies, engage in peer-reviewing and oral presentations, and develop their writing for academic journals. The Thesis course is open to MCC MA students with approved permission code only. MCC students should contact their primary adviser for registration instructions.

MCC-GE 2901.001 Theoretical Synthesis for Research, Writing, and Teaching
Professor: Rodney Benson
Mondays 11:00-1:10 PM | Variable Credit
MA Area of Study: Culminating Experience

This course will develop students’ ability to synthesize key theories & concepts in the study of media, culture, & communication, through the mapping of conceptual fields & development of syllabi aimed at core theories & individual research areas, drawing out relationships—logical, epistemological, historical, & methodological between relevant concepts, theories, schools of thought, & subdisciplines.

DOCTORAL STUDENTS ONLY:


MCC-GE 3100.001 Doctoral Core Seminar I
Professor: Paula Chakravartty
Wednesdays 11:00-1:50 PM | 4 credits

Advanced reading and discussion of the foundational literature, principles, and paradigms associated with the study of media, culture, and communication.

MCC-GE 3101.001 Introduction to Communication Research
Professor: Charlton McIlwain
Tuesdays 2:00-4:50 PM | 4 credits

The formulation of doctoral research problems in culture and communication.  Planning of relevant methodology; criticism of work in progress.

MCC-GE 3103.001 Semiotics
Professor: Lily Chumley
Thursdays 2:00-4:50 PM | 4 credits

This course will explore semiotics & performance theory by comparing the modes of performance used in media (including television, film, radio, advertising, theater, music & visual art) with social performance in general. Readings will draw from classic & contemporary work in semiotics, performance theory & linguistic anthropology, analyzing media & art forms from around the world.

Students will engage with the theoretical concepts & analytical models encountered in class by applying them to a media form, performance or piece of art of their own choosing.

MCC-GE 3150.001 Special Topics in Technology Studies: The Digital and the Analog
Professor: Alex Galloway
Wednesdays 2:00-4:50 PM | 4 credits

Topic: The Digital and the Analog. Digital devices permeate contemporary life. But what exactly does the digital mean? Are all computers digital? What about photography or film? We begin with a working definition of digitality as representation via discrete units. Using this definition, we explore the various technologies of the computer age, but also look beyond them. Sections of the course are devoted to technical images, digital versus analog images, photography, cybernetics, computer graphics, and compression. Readings are drawn from the work of Gilles Deleuze, Vilém Flusser, Katherine Hayles, Kaja Silverman, Hito Steyerl, and others.

MCC-GE 3201.001 Dissertation Proposal
Professor: Nicole Starosielski
Tuesdays 2:00-4:50 PM | 4 credits

The formulation of doctoral research problems in culture and communication. Planning of relevant methodology; criticism of work in progress.

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