Sunday, January 24, 2016

introduction to media studies syllabus (spring 2016)

MS 100: Introduction to Media Studies
Section 1: MWF 9:15-10:20 am
Section 2: MWF 10:30-11:35 am
Lone Mountain 244B

Professor David Silver
Office / hours: Kalmanovitz 141, Mondays & Wednesdays, 12-1 & by appointment
Contact: dmsilver [ at ] usfca [ dot ] edu

This course introduces students to the field of media studies. Beginning with the printing press and ending with social media, students will examine various media developments and eras and begin to appreciate the complex interactions between media and larger cultural, economic, political, and social conditions. Along the way, students will be introduced to USF media studies professors and various media-making opportunities on campus.

Upon completion of this course, students will:
o   Be able to “read” various media texts critically and creatively;
o   Be able to explain the key developments and social actors of media history;
o   Be able to explain how these developments were and continue to be embedded within cultural, economic, political, and social conditions.

Course Costs
o   All readings will be provided to you as PDFs or are available online for free.
o   Documentaries like Stop the Presses and Women in Comedy are available for free on Films on Demand via Gleeson Library’s web site.
o   For class on February 5, you are required to purchase one print version of the San Francisco Chronicle. It will cost between $1 and $1.50.
o   Finally, you are required, by April 6, to watch a film at a “movie palace” like San Francisco’s Castro Theater or Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater. General admission is $11. (Castro matinees are $8.50; Grand Lake’s cost $6.)

Midterms (10% x 3)                                    30%
Exhibits (15% x 2)                                       30%
Final Project                                                   10%
Homework                                                      20%
Demo Days and in class assignments     10%

Attendance Policy
Missing class, or attending class unprepared, will significantly affect your final grade. If you do miss class, contact a classmate to find out what we discussed in class and ask to borrow her or his notes. Then, do the same with a second classmate. After doing this, if you still have questions about missed material, visit me during office hours or email me.

Mon, 1/25: Introduction, distribute syllabi
Wed, 1/27: Read Ken Auletta, “Outside the Box: Netflixand the Future of Television,” The New Yorker, February 3, 2014.
Fri, 1/29: Read Maura Judkis, “The Renwick is suddenly Instagram famous. But what about the art?” Washington Post, January 7, 2016; and Shan Wang, “A 91-year-old literary magazine is hosting a yearlong experiment instorytelling on Instagram,” NiemanLab, January 8, 2016.

Unit One: Words

Mon, 2/1: Read Michael Schudson, “The Revolution of the Penny Press,” in Discovering the News: A Social History of American Newspapers (1978): pp. 14-31, 196-7.
Wed, 2/3: Watch Stop the Presses (2008; 48 mins). Video available on Films on Demand via Gleeson Library.
Fri, 2/5: Read, front to back, a 2/3 or 2/4 print edition of the San Francisco Chronicle. Observe everything. Bring entire paper to class and be prepared to discuss. Demo Day: Newspapers.

Mon, 2/8: Read Nancy A. Walker, “Introduction: Women’s Magazines and Women’s Roles,” in Women’s Magazines 1940-1960: Gender Roles and the Popular Press (1998), pp: 1-11.
Wed, 2/10: Read Ellen Gruber Garvey, “Reframing the Bicycle: Magazines and Scorching Women,” in The Adman in the Parlor: Magazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture, 1880s to 1910s (1996), pp: 106-134.
(* Extra credit opportunity: On Thursday, February 11, from 11:40 am - 12:40 pm, in the Getty Lounge, David Silver will give a talk titled “The Farm at Black Mountain College.” To collect extra credit, attend the talk, write a one-page reflection about the talk, and turn it in to class on Friday, February 12.)
Fri, 2/12: Magazine workshop with Gleeson librarian Debbie Benrubi. Midterm 1 review sheet distributed in class.

Mon, 2/15: No Class: Presidents’ Day Holiday
Wed, 2/17: Guest lecture: Lucas Waldron, USF graduate and current student at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Readings to be determined.
Fri, 2/19: MIDTERM 1

Unit Two: Sounds

Mon, 2/22: Robert Campbell, “Radio,” in The Golden Years of Broadcasting: A Celebration of the First 50 Years of Radio and TV on NBC (Rutledge Books, 1976): pp. 17-47.
Wed, 2/24: Reading selections from Michele Hilmes, Radio Voices: American Broadcasting, 1922-1952 (1997); and Susan Smulyan, Selling Radio: The Commercialization of American Broadcasting, 1920-1934 (1994).
Fri, 2/26: Demo Day: Radio

Mon, 2/29: Read Susan J. Douglas, “Amateur Operators and American Broadcasting: Shaping the Future of Radio,” in Joseph J. Corn, editor, Imagining Tomorrow: History, Technology, and the American Future (1986): pp. 35-55.
Wed, 3/2: Susan Smulyan, “Toward National Radio,” in Selling Radio: The Commercialization of American Broadcasting, 1920-1934 (1994): pp. 11-36.
(* Extra credit opportunity: On Wednesday, March 2, there will be a film screening of “The Yes Men are Revolting” (5:30 pm, Fromm Hall). To collect extra credit, attend the film screening, write a one-page reflection about it, and turn it in to class on Friday, March 4.)
Fri, 3/4: Hua Hsu, “How Video Games Changed Popular Music,” The New Yorker, June 30, 2015.

Mon, 3/7: Midterm 2 review sheet distributed in class.
(* Extra credit opportunity: On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, from 12:45-2:30 pm in McLaren Complex, speakers Claudia Magallanes Blanco (Coordinator, M.A. in Communication and Social Change, Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla), Elisabeth Jay Friedman (Professor, Politics @ USF), and Dorothy Kidd (Professor, Media Studies @ USF) will speak on “Women's Movement Mobilizations in and through Media” as part of the 15th annual USF Global Women’s Rights Program. To collect extra credit, attend the panel, write a one-page reflection about it, and turn it in to class on Wednesday, March 9.)
Wed, 3/9: Guest lecture: Miranda Morris, KUSF General Manager. In preparation for Miranda’s visit, take some time to list to Also, read Jennifer Waits, “College Radio’s Fight for FM,” Radio Survivor, October 18, 2011, and watch Kim Kinkaid’s “How to become a KUSF DJ” (2:06 minutes), USFtv, May 6, 2014, and Cristina Pachano-Lauderdale’s “KUSF Rock-n-Swap” (3:59 minutes), USFtv, September 30, 2013.
Fri, 3/11: MIDTERM 2

Spring Break

Mon, 3/21: Popular music exhibit workshop
Fri, 3/25: No class: Easter Holiday
Unit Three: Images

Mon, 3/28: Read Steven Lubar, “Pictures,” in InfoCulture: The Smithsonian Book of Information Age Inventions (1993), pp. 51-64.
Wed, 3/30: Andrew Chan, “‘La grande bouffe’: Cooking Shows as Pornography,” Gastronomica (Fall 2003): pp. 47-53.
(* Extra credit opportunity: The 14h Annual USF Human Rights Film Festival runs from Thursday, March 31 to Saturday, April 2 at Presentation Theater. To collect extra credit, attend a film screening (or two), write a one-page reflection about the film, and turn it in to class on Monday, April 4.)
Fri, 4/1: Demo Day: Photography

Mon, 4/4: Guest lecture (for morning section only): Danny Plotnick, director of Film Studies minor. Read Laurel Hennen Vigil, "Why the Curtain Fell: During the GoldenAge of cinema, Oakland and Berkeley boasted dozens of grand, historic moviepalaces," East Bay Express, December 16, 2015.
Wed, 4/6: Read Jonah Weiner, "The Man Who Makes the World's Funniest People Even Funnier," New York Times, April 15, 2015. By April 6, you are required to have to watched a film at a “movie palace” like San Francisco’s Castro Theater or Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater.
Fri, 4/8: Guest lecture: Melinda Stone, associate professor, Media Studies, Environmental Studies, and Urban Agriculture. Readings to be determined.

Mon, 4/11: Watch Women in Comedy (PBS, 2014: 54 mins). Video available on Films on Demand via Gleeson Library. Midterm 3 review sheet distributed in class.
Wed, 4/13: Read Andrew Marantz, “Ready for Prime Time: After twenty-five years as a road comic, Leslie Jones becomes a star,” The New Yorker, January 4, 2016, pp. 22-29.
Fri, 4/15: MIDTERM 3

Mon, 4/18: Popular film reading to be determined.
Wed, 4/20: Guest lecture: Dorothy Kidd, professor and chair, Media Studies. Read Dorothy Kidd, “Occupy and Social Movement Communication,” in Chris Atton, ed, Routledge Companion to Alternative and Community Media (2015), pp: 457-468.
Unit Four: Social Media

Mon, 4/25: No class. Watch The Social Network (2010).
Fri, 4/29: Read Zadie Smith, “Generation Why?” New York Review of Books, November 25, 2010.

Mon, 5/2: Read Dave Eggers, “We like you so much and want to know you better,” excerpt from the novel The Circle (2013).
Wed, 5/4: To be determined
Fri, 5/6: Media Fast

Mon, 5/9: Guest lecture: Sam Wilder, USF graduate and Community Development and Gardening Associate with Bon Appetit Management Company, AT&T Park Farm. Readings to be determined.
Wed, 5/11: FINAL PROJECT due in class

There is no final in this class.

Course Rules
1.     No late work accepted.
2.     No drinking out of non-reusable containers during class.
3.     I am nearly certain that at some point in the semester I will establish a rule about phone use in class – barring it, limiting it, mocking it. Using your devices in non-creative ways during class is distracting. It’s also obnoxious. Set it down. Set it away.

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