ENGL 395 B1: Media, Culture and History

M. Litwack


From Hollywood blockbusters and reality TV to social networks, viral videos, and the rise of "citizen journalism," media profoundly shape and reflect the worlds we inhabit. But how? And to what ends?


This course provides students with a set of frameworks to respond to these queries by surveying the critical foundations of the study of media (including photography, film, television, and digital platforms). We will examine how our experiences and perceptions are impacted by multiple media forms; the formal, technological, aesthetic, and ideological features that define different media and their modes of representation; and the entanglements of media culture with questions of racial and sexual difference, national and transnational identities, political economy, and power.


Throughout our course, theoretical and historical readings in Media Studies will be paired with regular required screenings.


Required Texts

Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography


Course packet with readings in Jean-Louis Baudry, André Bazin, Walter Benjamin, Simone Browne, Gilles Deleuze, Walter Mignolo, Laura Mulvey, Lisa Nakamura, James Snead, Lynn Spigel, Tiziana Terranova, Raymond Williams, etc.