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76-238 Introduction to Media Studies
The terms mass culture and mass media are historically new, being a little over 100 years old, yet much has been written about them. This class will begin by seeking to understand the words "media" and culture. What does the addition of mass to these terms signify? Beginning with these deceptively basic questions, this course will serve as a theoretical and historical introduction to the study of commercial forms of mass media, and provide students with a framework for analyzing the media that surround us. To this end, we will focus primarily on the case of advertising, as it is a body of texts that has exploited all forms of media. Though advertising can be understood as constituting its own medium, it is believed that looking at advertisements that span different types of media will allow us to hone our analytical skills while understanding its historical development. This course will begin by introducing some core concepts and debates central to critical analysis of mass media, that focus on questions of types of media, production, consumption, communication, audience, and message(s).This will become the language for our analysis of the historical development of commercial mass media, and give us a vocabulary with which to approach the study of varying forms of media. We will examine a variety of historians and theorists some of whom argue that mass culture manipulates the masses, others who argue that advertising and consumer culture is the equivalent of "social realism" for capitalist culture, and others still who argue that advertising and mass culture creates its own oppositional subcultures.
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No sections available for semester Spring 2005.
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