MCC–1: Introduction to Media Studies

Tu/Th 9:30–10:45 / Loewe Theater

Course Description This course introduces students of media, culture, and communication to the themes, issues and theoretical debates central to the modern study of mediated forms of communication. It examines the factors that influence the media and, in turn, examines the influence of media on attitudes, behaviors and identities, both individual and social. Students will be expected to develop an analytical appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of media theories and related concepts, build a vocabulary for making sense of the mediated world, and to arrive at some thoughtful conclusions regarding their own ideas and tools.

Teaching Assistants
Recitations (sections 2–15) meet Friday according to your registration
Sections 002 & 003, Ian Alexander,
Sections 004 & 005, Victoria Grubbs,
Sections 006 & 007, Salma Shamel,
Sections 008 & 009, Ian McKenzie,
Sections 010 & 011, Brian Justie,
Sections 012 & 013, Shane Ferrer-Sheehy,
Sections 014 & 015, Ineye Komonibo,

Course Materials There is no textbook for this class; all readings (a mix of academic papers and journalistic accounts, some of which explain ideas and some of which illustrate them) can be downloaded through our NYU Classes page.

Participation: 20%
Tests: 15% x 3 / 45% total
Final Exam: 35%

Course and School Policies

Grading Rubric
A = Excellent / This work is comprehensive and detailed, integrating themes and concepts from discussions, lectures and readings. Writing is clear, analytical and organized. Arguments offer specific examples and concisely evaluate evidence. Students who earn this grade are prepared for class, synthesize course materials and contribute insightfully.
B = Good / This work is complete and accurate, offering insights at general level of understanding. Writing is clear, uses examples properly and tends toward broad analysis. Classroom participation is consistent and thoughtful.
C = Average / This work is correct but is largely descriptive, lacking analysis. Writing is vague and at times tangential. Arguments are unorganized, without specific examples or analysis. Classroom participation is inarticulate.
D = Unsatisfactory / This work is incomplete, and evidences little understanding of the readings or discussions. Arguments demonstrate inattention to detail, misunderstand course material and overlook significant themes. Classroom participation is spotty, unprepared and off topic.
F = Failed / This grade indicates a failure to participate.

Participation Active participation is expected from all students. Readings are to be completed prior to lecture each day. Respond to questions in lecture and be an active participant in your recitation section. (Students who are less comfortable speaking up in lecture in section can also contribute relevant links and materials to the shared Classes chat for their section.) Regular attendance is mandatory; unexcused absences from your recitation section will be penalized. More than two unexcused absences will automatically result in a lower grade. Chronic lateness will also be reflected in your evaluation of participation.

Grade Appeals If you want to appeal a grade, send a short note explaining your concerns to your teaching assistant within a week of receiving your grade. (Grades that stand longer than a week will be taken as correct, and appeals will not be considered.) The teaching assistant will set up a meeting to review the grading. If, following this review, you still believe the grade to be in error, you can escalate the grading to the professor, who will re-assess and independently determine a final grade (which may be the same or lower).

Academic Integrity The Steinhardt School’s Statement on Academic Integrity governs all student work in this course. “Academic integrity,” it says, “is the guiding principle for all that you do; from taking exams, making oral presentations to writing term papers. It requires that you recognize and acknowledge information derived from others, and take credit only for ideas and work that are yours.” Please familiarize yourself with the details of the statement.

Students with Special Needs Students with special needs, such as physical and/or learning disabilities, should register with the Moses Center and follow their guidelines for informing the course instructors who will arrange “reasonable accommodations” as requested.

Religious Observance In accordance with NYU’s Policy on Religious Holidays students who observe religious holidays that may interfere with the class schedule should inform course instructors well in advance of anticipated absences to ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for the completion of course work.

Writing Center Students are encouraged to make use of NYU’s Writing Center.

Schedule of Classes

(Prof. Brunton holds office hours in 740 from 1:00–3:00PM on Tuesdays.)

Part I: Introductions

9/5: First Day: Introduction and Overview
9/7: Media and mediation
     John Durham Peters: “Mass Media,” Critical Terms in Media Studies (2010)
9/12: Culture
     Arjun Appadurai: “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy,” Theory Culture Society (1999) (pages 1-13 only)
9/14: Visual culture
     Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright: “Images, Power, and Politics,” Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture (2001)
9/19: Society
     Erica Robles-Anderson: “The Crystal Cathedral: Architecture for Mediated Congregation,” Public Culture (2012)
9/21: Critique
     Alex Ross: “The Naysayers,” The New Yorker (2014)

Part II: Institutions

9/26: Discourse
     Stuart Hall: “Discourse, Power, and the Subject,” The Work of Representation (1997) (pages 26-36 only)
9/28: Public and publics
     Juan Piñón: “Ugly Betty and the emergence of Latina/o producers as cultural translators,” Communication Theory (2011)
10/3: Imaginary
     Zeynep Tufekci: Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest pp. 3-11 (2017)
10/5: Mass media
     Elihu Katz and Paul Lazarsfeld: “Between Media and Mass,” Personal Influence: the part played by people in the flow of mass communication (1955)
10/6: Test 1 in Recitation Section
10/10: Globalization
     Sangeet Kumar: “Google Earth and the nation state: Sovereignty in the age of new media,” Global Media and Communication (2010)

Part III: Influence

10/12: Ideology
     Zadie Smith: “Fences: A Brexit Diary,” The New York Review of Books (2016)
10/17: Imperialism
     Ella Shohat and Robert Stam: “The Imperial Imaginary,” Unthinking Eurocentrism (1994), part I
10/19: Hegemony
     Ella Shohat and Robert Stam: “The Imperial Imaginary,” Unthinking Eurocentrism (1994), part II
10/24: Propaganda
     Mark Crispin Miller: “Introduction,” Propaganda (Edward Bernays, 1928)
10/26: Agency
     Gabriella Coleman: “Our Weirdness Is Free,” Triple Canopy (2012)

Part IV: Identities

10/31: Identity
     Lisa Nakamura: “Syrian Lesbian Bloggers, Fake Geishas, and the Attractions of Identity Tourism,” Hyphen (2011)
11/2: No lecture: review day
11/3: Test 2 in Recitation Section
11/7: Gender and sexuality
     Susan Faludi: “Death of a Revolutionary,” The New Yorker (2013)
11/9: Mimesis
     Anab Jain: “Valley of the Meatpuppets,” Superflux (2015)
11/14: Habitus and class
     Paul Bloom: “The Lure of Luxury,” Boston Review (2015)
11/16: Race
     Charlton McIlwain and Stephen M. Caliendo: “Black Messages, White Messages: The Differential Use of Racial Appeals by Black and White Candidates,” Journal of Black Studies (2009)

Part V: Information

11/21: Information
     Finn Brunton: “Keeping the Books” and “The Extortion Stack,” Limn (2016-17)
11/22: Thanksgiving Recess (no classes)
11/28: Panopticon
     Amanda Hess: “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet,” Pacific Standard (2014)
11/30: Privacy
     Helen Nissenbaum: “A Contextual Approach to Privacy Online,” Dædalus (2011)
12/1: Test 3 in Recitation Section
12/5: Design
     Natasha Dow Schüll: “Digital Gambling: The Coincidence of Desire and Design,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (2005)
12/7: Network
     Nicole Starosielski: “Signal Tracks,” Media-N (2014), and Lisa Gitelman: “Holding Electronic Networks By the Wrong End,” Amodern (2013)
12/14: Last Day: Review and Summation

12/19: Final Exam, 8:00-9:50 AM (as scheduled by the Registrar). No exceptions.