Understanding Media Industries guides students through an introductory exploration of the complex and rapidly evolving media industries in the U.S. The course examines the influence of media industry organization and practices on society at the same time that it offers students pursuing both scholarly and professional careers related to the media industries a comprehensive overview of how the industries work, why they work as they do, and the broader theoretical and practical implications of the media industries. Questions such as “why is media industry organization important?” “how do we make sense of media industry changes?” and “what are the key issues facing media industries?” animate our analysis. Here we understand the business of media as a component of its status as culture. Students should leave the course with expanded knowledge of the inner-workings of the media industries to which they will subscribe and consume from throughout their lives.
In this class we will critically examine and evaluate the cultural construction and representation of gender and sexuality in contemporary American mass media and trace their development throughout the 20th century. We will focus on a variety of mass-produced commercial media texts, particularly surveying magazines, advertising, talk shows, news, and romance narratives. Although gender is the primary identity construction examined in this course, we will also pay close attention to other aspects of identity that define American women and men, such as ethnicity, class, and sexuality. We will investigate representational issues in relation to their political repercussions and draw from a broad range of academic literature, including feminist television criticism, film theory, cultural studies, and communication theory.
By the end of 121 and 122, you will have a much deeper understanding of how knowledge is generated in academic settings. This knowledge should enable you to critically read and evaluate research in the social sciences and research using the analytic tradition. You should be able to pick up and read the vast majority of research articles in the social sciences and humanities, understanding what the key concepts are, how they were assessed in the research, and the basic analytical tools that were used. You should also be able to render an independent judgment on the quality of academic work you encounter. These skills are seminal both in the rest of your academic career and beyond, as journalists and other popular press writers often fail to convey relevant information about the scope and implications of research.
This course provides graduate students with an introduction to key debates and ideas and various critical and cultural approaches to feminist studies of gender and media, including textual, institutional, and audience methodologies. Our primary objective will be to establish a foundational basis necessary for considering the relationship between sex, gender, feminism, and media in the United States. The course will begin with a survey of reading drawn from communication, cultural studies, and television and film theory in order to establish the discrepant approaches to the study of gender and feminism in these various media traditions. This course is intended to provide students with an initial set of tools with which they might apply to particular media and topics of interest; it also attends closely to matters of methodology.
This class provides an overview of the methods and theories supporting the critical study of media industries through a survey of cultural studies, political economy, sociology, and film studies literature. We also examine case studies drawn from these traditions. The course thus offers a theoretical foundation in the key ideas that have driven the study of media industries, a methodological foundation in the central methods used, and a consideration of current debates in the field.