LTCS 050 - INTRODUCTION TO CULTURAL STUDIES
The News & Other Fictions
Instructor: Stephanie Jed
This introduction to the field of Cultural Studies will focus on the mass media as disseminators of both "news" and works of fiction. Our aim will be to assess the roles of each in society and the inner workings of each, that is, how they tell their stories, and how they produce and emphasize specific meanings. We will also consider how the stories told in the news and in fiction are intended or imagined to be received. We will consider why it matters that we understand these things, given the principles and ideals of a democracy. Why is freedom of expression (in the press, in fiction) so important that it constitutes a fundamental right? Why is it that democracy assumes an informed citizenry whose responsibility it is to take a critical view of our government's actions as they are presented (or omitted) in the news? Why must we question the truism that "there are two sides to every story," as if there weren't many ways of posing the questions and framing the debates at issue? Finally, what does fiction have to offer that is generally absent in the news? Why is its imaginative quality crucial to democracy and, more broadly, to human well being? News articles and works of fiction will be drawn from various societies and cultures, mostly from the 20th-21st centuries. Course work: two in-class midterms (25% each); one comprehensive three-hour final exam (30%); one 15-minute presentation (10%); and continuous attendance with active, informed class participation (10%). Students MUST attend 90% of class meetings; MUST complete all course work: and MUST pass the final exam with a C- in order to pass the course, even if the course is taken on a pass-fail basis. Plan on 9 hours of work per week in addition to lecture time.
LTCS 100 - THEORIES AND METHODS IN CULTURAL STUDIES
This course offers an introduction to Visual Culture Studies. We will read a number of key theoretical texts to understand how visual texts are coded and how we might decode them. Then we will look at a variety of these texts - images, commercials, newscasts. TV shows - and the ways in which they shape our perception of the world, including naturalized notions of gender, race and sexuality.
LTCS 250 - TOPICS IN CULTURAL STUDIES
Please contact instructor for course description.