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Courses

The following information is from the 2017-18 Vassar College Catalogue.

Media Studies: I. Introductory

160a and b. Approaches to Media Studies 1

This course explores concepts and issues in the study of media, attentive to but not limited by the question of the "new" posed by new media technologies. Our survey of key critical approaches to media is anchored in specific case studies drawn from a diverse archive of media artifacts, industries, and technologies: from phonograph to photography, cinema to networked hypermedia, from typewriter to digital code. We examine the historical and material specificity of different media technologies and the forms of social life they enable, engage critical debates about media, culture and power, and consider problems of reading posed by specific media objects and processes, new and old. We take the multi-valence of "media"---a term designating text and apparatus of textual transmission, content and conduit---as a central problem of knowledge for the class. Our goal throughout is to develop the research tools, modes of reading, and forms of critical practice that help us aptly to describe and thereby begin to understand the increasingly mediated world in which we live. Paulina Bren, Justin Patch (a); Thomas Porcello (b).

184 Star Wars: Resistance, Rebellion, and Death in a Galaxy Far, Far Away 1

In a 19 September 1944 article for the French resistance newspaper, Combat, Albert Camus wrote, "Revolution is not revolt. What carried the Resistance for four years was revolt––the complete, obstinate, and at first nearly blind refusal to accept an order that would bring men to their knees. Revolt begins first in the human heart. But there comes a time when revolt spreads from heart to spirit, when a feeling becomes an idea, when impulse leads to concerted action. This is the moment of revolution." Our course examines the multimodal rhetorics of conquest and empire, freedom and rebellion in the Star Wars canon by situating the films in a theoretical context provided by Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth), Hannah Arendt (Between Past and Future) and Albert Camus (The Rebel). Within this post-colonial context, students are afforded the opportunity to design and conduct their own research-based projects that consider representations of the intersections between Imperialism, revolution, and identity politics.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies the college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Two 75-minute periods.

186 Violence in Ancient Literature and American Cinema 1

(Same as GRST 186) "I would guess that the vast majority of the people who are seeing it . . . are taking it for kicks and thrills and are coming away from it palpitating with a vicarious sense of the enjoyment of war." So writes New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther about the 1967 film The Dirty Dozen, but could his words not equally apply to the grisly war violence of the Homeric Iliad? In other words, why are violent poems like the Iliad and Aeneid typically exempt from the kinds of criticisms that are leveled at cinematic violence? In this course we explore questions of taste and representation by putting works of ancient literature, especially ancient epic, in dialogue with landmarks of American screen violence like ScarfaceBonnie and Clyde and Psycho. In addition to formal analysis of cinematic and literary texts, we  investigate the impact of gender, genre, medium, audience and production context on the ways that violence is depicted. Students also have the opportunity to collaborate on their own cinematic adaptation of a scene of ancient literary violence. The department.

Two 75-minute periods.

Media Studies: II. Intermediate

214 Process, Prose, Pedagogy 1

(Same as ENGL 214) This course is a study of the ways in which the Academy mediates knowledge: What is an argument? Are there fundamental differences between popular and scholarly arguments? What about critical and creative arguments? And how should knowledge/scholarship be communicated in the 21st century? What is authorship for that matter? It is also interested in the ways scholars undermine the structures of the Academy from the center and the periphery alike in order to challenge, if not change, the system. What are their methods? What are their agendas? One thing is certain, the ways in which scholars present their work and their reasons for doing so are becoming as diverse, complex, and unique as the scholars themselves. 

As such, we pay particular attention to the boundaries between argument and opinion or fact, creative and critical work, popular and scholarly discourses, old and new media, and between producers and consumers of knowledge. The aim of this course, then, is to help you develop both a practice and a habit of mind––a way of writing and a way of thinking about writing. As scholars, we all must attend to an extraordinary and disparate set of concerns ranging from matters of argumentation and evidence to questions of style, coherence, and correctness; therefore, our multimodal texts span the deeply theoretical and insistently practical––even the imaginative––as we consider selections of rhetoric, fiction, and creative non-fiction that foreground their status as arguments. Matthew Schultz.

217b. Studies in Popular Music 1

(Same as AMST 217 and MUSI 217) History of Rock. This class examines the social history of rock from Elvis Presley to the present through examination of musical trends, socio-economic and demographic changes, social and political movements and issues in fandom, production and reception. Seminal artists and events are examined along with the development of genres, subcultures and accompanying trends like fashion, slang, literature, identity politics, as well as the influence of TV, film, radio, video, art, the internet and the music industry. Issues of race, class, gender, age, politics, censorship and hybridity will form the backbone of the course, as well as rock beyond the Anglophone world as a global art form. Justin Patch.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

218 Chinese Popular Culture 1

(Same as CHIN 218) The course analyzes contemporary Chinese entertainment and popular culture. It provides both historical coverage and grounding in various theoretical and methodological problems. Topics focus on thematic contents and forms of entertainment through television, radio, newspaper, cinema, theatre, music, print and material culture. The course also examines the relations between the heritage of traditional Chinese entertainment and the influences of Western culture. All readings and class discussions are in English. Wenwei Du.

Prerequisite(s): one course in language, literature, culture, film, drama, or Asian Studies, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

250a. Exploratory Media Practices 1

This course instructs students in a varied set of practical media skills in order to interrogate and possibly transform the uses to which they are habitually put. It grounds a creative reflection on the relation between theory and practice through the critical use of production technologies. Each semester is devoted to a topic or a question to be explored through three distinct kinds of media "making." These techniques include graphic design, literary journalism, sound recording, book production, the digital still image and its sequencing, the moving image and post-production techniques, computer graphics and physical computing, user interface design. Students will compose a formally sophisticated, rhetorically inventive "essay" in three medium specific idioms. They will also be asked to determine how the three exercises go together, how they work as interlocking parts of a transmedia narrative or ensemble.

Topic for 2017/18a: Investigating critical media practice in the production of multi-media artifacts including sound, video and interactive 3D environments. Course work is organized around the concept of "mapping" as a metaphor for many kinds of media production. The course also addresses themes of preservation and waste; memory and forgetting; inclusion and exclusion. Thomas Ellman.

Prerequisite(s): MEDS 160 or permission of the instructor.

Two 2-hour periods.

254b. Emotional Engagement with Film 1

(Same as FILM 254 and PSYC 254) While movies engage our emotions in psychologically significant ways, scholarship on the psychological allure and impact of film has existed primarily at the interdisciplinary margins. This course aims to bring such scholarship into the foreground. We begin with a careful examination of the appeal and power of narrative, as well as processes of identification and imagined intimacy with characters, before taking a closer analytical look at specific film genres (e.g., melodrama, horror, comedy, action, social commentary) both in their own right and in terms of their psychological significance (e.g., why do we enjoy sad movies? How do violent movies influence viewer aggression? How might socially conscious films inspire activism or altruism?) In addition to delving into theoretical and empirical papers, a secondary goal of the course is to engage students as collaborators; brainstorm and propose innovative experimental methods for testing research questions and hypotheses that emerge in step with course materials. Dara Greenwood and Sarah Kozloff.

Prerequisite(s): for Psychology majors - PSYC 105 or PSYC 106   ; for Film majors - FILM 175 or FILM 210; for Media Studies majors - MEDS 160.

Two 75-minute periods plus outside screenings.

256a. American Television History 1

(Same as FILM 256) This course surveys the history of television in the United States from the 1940s to the present. It examines the social and industrial significance of television and its impact on issues such as class, race, gender, consumerism, and national identity. We investigate changes in televisual aesthetics and narrative paradigms and the ways that television responded to significant cultural, political and technological changes in American society. Throughout the semester we draw upon a range of critical frameworks including media industry studies, genre theory, and celebrity studies as we address topics such as the attempts to develop alternate models of broadcasting, networks' efforts to bolster television's cultural status, media convergence, and the formal characteristics of different television genres. Screenings include I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Simpsons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Orange is the New Black. Alex Kupfer

Prerequisite(s): FILM 175 or FILM 210  for students registering for FILM 256. MEDS 160 for students registering for MEDS 256.

Two 75-minute periods plus outside screenings.

258 Studies in Sound 1

(Same as AMST 258) This course familiarizes students with the emerging field of sound studies. We spend the first eight weeks exploring the different facets of sound culture: histories and ethnographies of listening; theories of sound capture and reproduction; the political economy of recording media (particularly the MP3); the experience of the modern American soundscape. We conclude with case studies of contemporary sonic experiences: "glitch"-based digital music and the aesthetics of failure; new developments in sonic weaponry; art and activism that "listens" to drones and the US-Mexico border. Hua Hsu.

Prerequisite(s): 100-level course work within the multidisciplinary programs, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

260a. Media Theory 1

This course aims to ramify our understanding of "mediality"---that is, the visible and invisible, audible and silent contexts in which physical messages stake their ghostly meanings. The claims of media theory extend beyond models of communication: media do not simply transport preexisting ideas, nor do they merely shape ideas in transit. Attending to the complex network of functions that make up media ecologies (modes of inscription, transmission, storage, circulation, and retrieval) demonstrates the role media play not only in the molding of ideas and opinions, but also in the constitution of subjectivities, social spheres, and non-human circuits of exchange (images, information, capital). Texts and topics vary from year to year, but readings are drawn from a broad spectrum of classical and contemporary sources. Heesok Chang.

Prerequisite(s): MEDS 160 or permission of the instructor.

263 Anthropology Goes to the Movies: Film, Video, and Ethnography 1

(Same as ANTH 263) This course examines how film and video are used in ethnography as tools for study and as means of ethnographic documentary and representation. Topics covered include history and theory of visual anthropology, issues of representation and audience, indigenous film, and contemporary ethnographic approaches to popular media. Colleen Cohen.

Prerequisite(s): previous coursework in Anthropology or Film or Media Studies or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods, plus 3-hour preview laboratory.

264 The Metropolitan Avant-Gardes 1

(Same as ART 264 and URBS 264) Radical prototypes of self-organization were forged by the new groups of artists, writers, filmmakers and architects that emerged in the early twentieth century as they sought to define the future. The course studies the avant-gardes' different and often competing efforts to meet the changing conditions that industrialization was bringing to culture, societies and economies between 1889 and 1929, when works of art, design, and film entered the city, the press, the everyday lives and the wars that beset them all. Molly Nesbit.

Prerequisite(s): ART 105 or ART 106, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods and one weekly film screening.

265 Modern Art and the Mass Media: the New Public Sphere 1

(Same as ART 265 and URBS 265) When the public sphere was reset during the twentieth century by a new order of mass media, the place of art and artists in the new order needed to be claimed. The course studies the negotiations between modern art and the mass media (advertising, cinema, TV), in theory and in practice, during the years between the Great Depression and the liberation movements of the late 1960s--the foundation stones of our own contemporary culture. Neither the theory nor the practice has become obsolete. Molly Nesbit.

Prerequisite(s): ART 105 or ART 106.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods and one weekly film screening.

266 Indigenous and Oppositional Media 1

(Same as ANTH 266) As audiovisual and digital media technologies proliferate and become more accessible globally, they become important tools for indigenous peoples and activist groups in struggles for recognition and self-determination, for articulating community concerns and for furthering social and political transformations. This course explores the media practices of indigenous peoples and activist groups, and through this exploration achieves a more nuanced and intricate understanding of the relation of the local to the global. In addition to looking at the films, videos, radio and television productions, and Internet interventions of indigenous media makers and activists around the world, the course looks at oppositional practices employed in the consumption and distribution of media. Course readings are augmented by weekly screenings and demonstrations of media studied, and students explore key theoretical concepts through their own interventions, making use of audiovisual and digital technologies. Colleen Cohen.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods, plus one 3-hour preview laboratory.

268 After 1968: the Activation of Art 1

(Same as ART 268 and URBS 268) This course studies the emancipation of the visual arts after 1968, here and abroad, together with the political and philosophical discussions that guided them. Theory and practice would form new combinations. The traditional fine arts as well as the new media, performance, film, architecture and installation art are treated as part of the wider global evolution creating new theaters of action, critique, community and hope. Molly Nesbit.

Prerequisite(s): ART 105-ART 106.

Two 75-minute periods and one weekly screening.

271 Visual Urbanism 1

(Same as URBS 271) This course examines correspondences between the emergent metrop-olis and practices of urban spectatorship. We approach the moderniza- tion of vision as an aspect of capitalist urbanization, as we engage the shifting media forms that have refracted and regulated modernity's urban conditions from the mid-19th century to the present: camera obscura, magic lantern, window display, crime photography, film noir, snapshot, broadcast television, billboard, hand-held video, SimCity, Google earth, CCTV, immersive VR. Issues we investigate include: the increasing predominance of visual culture in urban everyday life; the distracted attention of the urban spectator as a mode of modern subjectivity; the role of the visual in shaping both official and vernac- ular understandings of the city; the use of city image and urban brand in urban development; the merging of physical and information space as urban landscapes become media-saturated environments; urban surveillance and the use of the visual as a vector of modern political power. Throughout, we approach urban visibility as a fiercely ambiva- lent force: both a source of spectacle and a tool to render legible the hidden powers that structure urban everyday life. Readings include works by Roland Barthes, Jonathan Beller, Walter Benjamin, Guliano Bruno, Susan Buck-Morss, Christine Boyer, Rey Chow, Elizabeth Currid, Jonathan Crary, Guy Debord, Anne Friedberg, Eric Gordon, Tom Gunning, Miriam Greenberg, Frederic Jameson, Rem Koolhaas, Kevin Lynch, W.T.J. Mitchell, Venessa Schwartz, William White, and Raymond Williams. Lisa Brawley.

Two 75-minute periods.

280 Social Psychological Approaches to Mass Media: Understanding Content, Motivation, and Impact 1

(Same as PSYC 280) This course is designed to introduce students to the interdisciplinary field of "media psychology," which applies social scientific theory and methodology to the study media use, content, and impact. We first review theoretical contributions from both Communication Studies and Social Psychology before moving into a range of "hot topics" in the field (e.g., violent media, persuasion and advertising, news, politics, representations of social groups, social media). Along the way, we consider: psychological processes relevant to media use and impact, individual differences that motivate selective exposure and reception, the positive and negative effect that media may have on our attitudes and behaviors, and the complexities of developing and executing media effects research. Dara Greenwood.

Two 75-minute periods.

281 The Comics Course 1

(Same as ENGL 281) An exploration of topics in comics history, theory, aesthetics, and politics.  Subjects and texts may include: women's diary comics (Julie Doucet's My New York Diary and Gabrielle Bell's July 2011), conflict comics (Joe Sacco's Safe Area Gorazde), graphic horror and representation (Charles Burns's Black Hole), race and representation (Jennings' and Duffy's The Hole: Consumer Culture, Volume 1), genre and gender (Wonder Woman from origins to contemporary permutations), meta-comics (Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan), comics and the culture of children (Schulz's Peanuts, Jansson's Moomin, and Barry's Marlys), comics and sexuality (Carol Swain's Gast, Bisco Hatori's Ouran High School Social Club, and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home), disability comics (the Oracle series, Matt Fraction's Hawkeye, and Allie Brosch's "Hyperbole and a Half"), and comics and silence (Shaun Tan's The Arrival).  Readings also include materials in comics studies, media studies, and literary studies. Peter Antelyes.

Two 75-minute periods.

282 Media Industries: Fox 1

(Same as FILM 282) This course explores the history of Twentieth Century-Fox and Fox Broadcasting Company from its emergence in the 1910s to its present day position as one of the world's largest media conglomerates. It uses Fox to explore changes in aesthetic paradigms, storytelling techniques, and the ways that media industries engage with important cultural, political and technological changes in American society.

Throughout the semester, we compare different critical frameworks used to discuss the history of the Hollywood Studio System such as media industry studies, genre and auteur theory, and celebrity studies. We apply these wide-ranging methods to a series of overlapping historical case studies on topics including F.W. Murnau, John Ford at Fox, and the FOX network's efforts to reach underrepresented audiences. Screenings include Sunrise, How Green Was My Valley, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, M*A*S*H, The Simpsons Movie, In Living Color, and Star Wars. Alex Kupfer.

Prerequisite(s): FILM 175 or FILM 210 for students registering for FILM 282. MEDS 160 for students registering for MEDS 282.

Two 75-minute periods accompanied by film screenings.

286 Gaming Antiquity: Interactive Historical Fiction and Classical Athens 1

(Same as GRST 286) Have you ever experienced the feeling of being joyfully lost in another world? Maybe you felt this sensation when reading Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings, or perhaps you experienced it while creating your own work of art? In this course you have the opportunity to evoke this sense of immersion by crafting your own interactive historical fiction in the form of a digital role-playing game set in classical Athens. We begin by reading Mary Renault's classic of historical fiction, The Last of the Wine, and exploring how she so effectively conjures the world of 5th-century Athens. You then begin working in teams to craft your own historical fiction in the form of a playable 'quest' designed within the framework of a tabletop role-playing game. For your culminating project you craft a digital version of your quest by 'modding' (modifying) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This course aims to develop your creative, technical and analytical capacities all at once by challenging you not just to develop a playable historical fiction set within the ancient world, but also to confront the difficult questions of adaptation posed by the disturbing realities of antiquity, like patriarchy, pederasty and slavery. No experience in Computer Science is necessary to enroll in this course.

Two 75-minute periods.

289 Homer's Odyssey: From Oral Composition to Digital Editions 1

(Same as GRST 289) In this course we consider the long history of Homer's epic poem from its beginning as an oral composition in Archaic Greece to its current manifestations in digital editions. Along the way we look at papyrii, medieval manuscripts, early print editions, examples of fine printing and contemporary versions.  As we consider the history of the poem we also study the poem itself and explore the ways that its meaning has also been transformed through time. Among the issues we consider are orality and oral cultures, the advent of writing, the development of the text and the influence of technology. We examine materials in Greek, Latin, and English though no knowledge of the ancient languages is required. The Archives and Special Collections Library, with its rich collection of primary sources, will serve as our laboratory. Rachel Friedman and Ronald Patkus.

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. Field Work 0.5 to 1

Permission of the director required.

298a or b. Independent Study 0.5 to 1

Permission of the director required.

Media Studies: III. Advanced

300a. Senior Project Preparation 0.5

The Senior Project may be a full-length thesis or a (multi)media project. During the fall semester, students carry out the following independent work under the supervision of the Program Director and participating faculty: formulating a project topic; identifying suitable faculty advisors; writing a project proposal and bibliography; presenting the proposal at a poster event; and developing a work plan. The program faculty.

301b. Senior Project 1

Students carry out the Senior Project during the spring semester, under the supervision of their two project advisors. All students present their projects at a public symposium at the end of the semester. The projects become part of a permanent Media-Studies archive. The program faculty.

302b. Adaptations 1

(Same as CLCS 302 and ENGL 302) If works of art continue each other, as Virginia Woolf suggested, then cultural history accumulates when generations of artists think and talk together across time. What happens when one of those artists switches to another language, another genre, another mode or medium? In the twenty-first century we may reframe Woolf's conversation in terms of intertextuality---art invokes and revises other art---but the questions remain more or less unchanged: What motivates and shapes adaptations? What role does technology play? Audience? What constitutes a faithful adaptation? "Faithful" to what or whom? In this course we consider the biological model, looking briefly at Darwin's ideas about the ways organisms change in order to survive, and then explore analogies across a range of media. We'll begin with Virgil's Georgics; move on to Metamorphoses, Ovid's free adaptations of classical myths; and follow Orpheus and Eurydice through two thousand years of theater (Euripides, Anouilh, Ruhl, Zimmerman); painting and sculpture (Dürer, Rubens, Poussin, Klee, Rodin); film and television (Pasolini, Cocteau, Camus, Luhrmann); dance (Graham, Balanchine, Bausch); music (Monteverdi, Gluck, Stravinsky, Birtwistle, Glass); narratives and graphic narratives (Pynchon, Delany, Gaiman, Hoban); verse (Rilke, H.D., Auden, Ashbery, Milosz, Heaney, Atwood, Mullen, Strand); and computer games (Battle of Olympus, Shin Megami Tensei). During the second half of the semester, we investigate other adaptations and their theoretical implications, looking back from time to time at what we've learned from the protean story of Eurydice and Orpheus and their countless progeny. M. Mark.

Not offered in 2017/18

One 3-hour period.

310a. Senior Seminar 1

Special topics course for all senior Media Studies majors, providing a capstone experience for the cohort. This course is taught in the fall semester each year. 

Topic for 2017/18a: The Hands of Media. The capstone seminar for Media Studies aims to consolidate our majors' core coursework in theory and praxis with an eye to giving them useful tools for the critical making of their senior projects. Taking the human hand as our guiding metonymic thread, we read a wide array of ancient and modern texts that interrogate the relationship between thinking and grasping, drafting and dwelling, making (poiesis) and touching (aesthesis), manual and intellectual labor, authenticity (the handmade) and reproducibility (the ready-to-hand), the human and the inhuman, the material and the virtual. We devote particular attention to the reemergence of the hand in our contemporary moment: the era of screen capitalism. The rise of artisanal foods and spirits, the popularity of bespoke design in the creative economy, the use of critical design in oppositional media interventions, the expanding adoption of design thinking in universities and corporations: these assorted trends seem to point to a renewed focus on making in our culture. What do these dexterous ventures have to tell us about our media ecology? about our relationship to the recycled stories, images, and objects we live with? about our "reality hunger" and dreams of transformation? Class assignments incorporate design methods that accentuate process: immersive listening, collaboration, prototyping, failing, testing, and more. The pedagogical goal of the seminar is not to provide students arts-and-crafts skills, but to activate their preferred creative-critical medium of expression - for example, writing - in an expanded field of possibilities, one that is mindful of our embodiment, our being-with-others, and our irreducible desire for something new. Heesok Chang.

Prerequisite(s): MEDS 250 or MEDS 260.

One 2-hour period.

351 Language and Expressive Culture 1

Not offered in 2017/18.

352 The City in Fragments 1

(Same as URBS 352) In this seminar, we use the concept of the fragment to explore the contemporary city, and vice versa. We draw on the work of Walter Benjamin, for whom the fragment was both a central symptom of urban modernity and a potentially radical mode of inquiry. We also use the figure of the fragment to explore and to experiment with the situationist urbanism of Guy Debord, to address the failure of modernist dreams for the city, and to reframe the question of the "global" in contemporary discussions of global urbanization. Finally, we use the fragment to destabilize notions of experience and evidence---so central to positivist understandings of the city---as we make regular visits to discover, as it were, non-monumental New York. Readings include works by Walter Benjamin, Stefano Boeri, Christine Boyer, Guy Debord, Rosalyb Deytsche, Paul Gilroy, Rem Koolhaas, Henri Lefebvre, Thomas Lacquer, Saskia Sassen, Mark Wigley, and others. Lisa Brawley, Heesok Chang.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

356 Culture, Commerce, and the Public Sphere 1

(Same as SOCI 356) This course examines the culture and politics of the public sphere, with an emphasis on the changing status of public spaces in contemporary societies. Drawing upon historical and current analyses, we explore such issues as the relationship between public and commercial space and the role of public discourse in democratic theory. Case studies investigate such sites as mass media, schools, shopping malls, cyberspace, libraries, and public parks in relation to questions of economic inequality, political participation, privatization, and consumer culture. William Hoynes.

Not offered in 2017/18.

364a. Seminar in Twentieth Century and Contemporary Art 1

(Same as ART 364) Topic for 2017/18a: The Moving Image: Between Video and Experimental Curating. Already by 1930 experimental film had tested the boundaries for the exhibition of works of art; when video built on that foundation thirty years later, the borders were again expanded. Moving image and radical exhibition formats would continue to evolve in tandem, becoming a succession of inspirations and experiments. The seminar studies these as theoretical, practical and perceptual questions posed in fact since the invention of cinema; case studies from past and present are compared; the seminar plans and executes curatorial experiments of its own. Molly Nesbit.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor

One 2-hour period.

376b. Computer Games: Design, Production and Critique 1

(Same as CMPU 376) Investigates all stages of the game development process, including conception, design, physical and digital prototyping, implementation and play-testing, among others. The course emphasizes the integration of formal, dramatic and dynamic game elements to create a specific player experience. The course also examines various criteria and approaches to game critique, including issues of engagement, embodiment, flow, and meaningful play. Course work includes a series of game development projects carried out in groups, along with analysis of published games and readings in critical game-studies literature. No previous experience in media production or computer programming is necessary. Thomas Ellman.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

379 Computer Animation: Art, Science and Criticism 1

(Same as ART 379, CMPU 379, and FILM 379) An interdisciplinary course in Computer Animation aimed at students with previous experience in Computer Science, Studio Art, or Media Studies. The course introduces students to mathematical and computational principles and techniques for describing the shape, motion and shading of three-dimensional figures in Computer Animation. It introduces students to artistic principles and techniques used in drawing, painting and sculpture, as they are translated into the context of Computer Animation. It also encourages students to critically examine Computer Animation as a medium of communication. Finally, the course exposes students to issues that arise when people from different scholarly cultures attempt to collaborate on a project of mutual interest. The course is structured as a series of animation projects interleaved with screenings and classroom discussions. Thomas Ellman, Harry Roseman.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 2-hour periods.

380 Special Topics in Media Studies 1

Not offered in 2017/18.

381 Ideas, Sound, and Story: Podcast Production 1

(Same as AMST 381) This is a course on narrative audio production that focuses on the study and production of various nonfictional genres in the American podcasting landscape, including audio documentaries, investigative reporting, confessionals, art pieces, storytelling for academic purposes, and others. Students learn the craft of audio production from getting tape, tape-logging, writing for audio, story and tape-editing, and sound-tracking. Students  complete various technical assignments, and submit a final 10-minute piece, with regular progress graded throughout. In order to model the highly competitive nature of the podcasting production space today, students must be highly-motivated, highly-organized, and grading is very rigorous, with the highest of standards and strict deadlines. Barry Lam.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

382 The Arts of Silence 1

Is silence the opposite of sound? Is it the space between sounds? Is sound an interruption of silence? Can silence be audible, visible, palpable, spiritual? How and what does it signify? The composer John Cage famously claimed that there is no such thing as silence. This course tests that notion by exploring the theory and practices of silence across a range of arts, including rhetoric, literature, comics, film, drama, music, and meditation. Leslie Dunn.

 

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

Two 2-hour periods.

385 Media and War 1

Senator Hiram Johnson's 1917 remark "The first casualty when war comes is truth" is often repeated. But the processes through which (mis)information and images circulate in wartime are less well known. This course explores the role of popular media in the production and circulation of knowledge about war. Drawing on both news and entertainment media, we examine how war is represented and remembered in various media, including newspapers, photographs, radio, television, film, and online. Through a series of historical and contemporary case studies, we explore topics such as the practices of the war correspondent, strategies of news management by military planners, the relationship between media images and public attitudes toward war, media as a propaganda tool, and the role of popular media in constructing and contesting national myths and memories of war. William Hoynes.

Prerequisite(s): MEDS 160 or permission of the instructor.

399 Senior Independent Work 0.5 or 1