Spring 2017   Fall 2016  

Spring 2017

MCST 110-01

Texts and Power: Foundations of Media and Cultural Studies

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: NEILL 402
  • Instructor: John Kim

Notes: This course introduces students to the intellectual roots and contemporary applications of cultural studies, including critical media studies, focusing on the theoretical bases for analyses of power and meaning in production, texts, and reception. It includes primary readings in anti-racist, feminist, modern, postmodern, and queer cultural and social theory, and compares them to traditional approaches to the humanities. Designed as preparation for intermediate and advanced work grounded in cultural studies, the course is writing intensive, with special emphasis on developing skills in critical thinking and scholarly argumentation and documentation. Completion of or enrollment in MCST 110 is the prerequisite for majoring in media and cultural studies. (4 credits)

MCST 110-02

Texts and Power: Foundations of Media and Cultural Studies

  • Days: TBA
  • Meeting Time: TBA
  • Room:
  • Instructor: John Kim

Notes: This course introduces students to the intellectual roots and contemporary applications of cultural studies, including critical media studies, focusing on the theoretical bases for analyses of power and meaning in production, texts, and reception. It includes primary readings in anti-racist, feminist, modern, postmodern, and queer cultural and social theory, and compares them to traditional approaches to the humanities. Designed as preparation for intermediate and advanced work grounded in cultural studies, the course is writing intensive, with special emphasis on developing skills in critical thinking and scholarly argumentation and documentation. Completion of or enrollment in MCST 110 is the prerequisite for majoring in media and cultural studies. (4 credits)

MCST 126-01

Local News Media Institutions

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: OLRI 250
  • Instructor: Michael Griffin

Notes: In this course students analyze the social, cultural, economic, political, and regulatory factors shaping the nature of US communications media, and then investigate how this affects local media organizations and their role in recognizing, serving and facilitating (or not) local populations, communities, interaction, identity, and civic engagement. Considering the history and practices of American journalism, and the current shifts in media technology and economics, the class examines the degree to which media function to provide effective access to news and information, foster diversity of content, encourage civic engagement, and serve the interest of citizens and diverse communities in a democratic society. Individual student projects for the course begin by identifying particular geographic, ethnic, or cultural neighborhoods and communities in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, and proceed to explore the degree to which these communities are recognized, defined, or served by various media institutions and journalism practice. Students explore various attempts to revitalize local communication, news delivery and civic discourse through experiments in community media, citizen journalism, community-based news aggregation, media arts, community service and other media innovations and reforms across neighborhood, ethnic, immigrant, gender, sexuality, and other public issues and community participation. No prerequisites. (4 credits)

MCST 128-01

Film Analysis/Visual Culture

  • Days: TBA
  • Meeting Time: TBA
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Michael Griffin

Notes: This course introduces the aesthetics of film as well as selected issues in contemporary film studies. Its aesthetic approach isolates the features that constitute film as a distinct art form: narrative or non-narrative structure, staging, cinematography, editing, and sound. Topics in contemporary film studies that might be considered include one or more of the following: cultural studies and film, industrial organization and globalization, representations of gender and race, and theories of authorship, horror, and spectatorship. Several papers, a test covering basic film terms, and a short video project emphasizing abstract form are required. Suitable for first year students. (4 credits)

MCST 234-01

New Media Theories/Practices

  • Days: TBA
  • Meeting Time: TBA
  • Room:
  • Instructor: John Kim

Notes: In the last couple of decades we have seen the invention and popularization of a wide assortment of digital technologies and with them, a wide variety of new media forms. The internet (which includes a collection of media forms, from web pages and peer-to-peer software to social media and video sharing sites), massively multiplayer online video games, ubiquitous computing, software, mobile phones - together, many argue, these and other forms of new media are reshaping how we live, create, work and even, what it means to be human. In this class we'll examine a cross-section of contemporary humanistic research that has sought to understand the impact(s) of new media through a comparison to earlier, pre-digital media. In addition, we will engage in hands-on workshops, where we will use and learn some of the tools, software, and websites that our texts consider. (4 credits)

MCST 321-01

Cultures of Neoliberalism

  • Days: W
  • Meeting Time: 07:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Room: ARTCOM 202
  • Instructor: Bradley Stiffler

Notes: Neoliberal theory posits the relative autonomy of the economic sphere from both culture and politics. Rejecting this assumption, the course will give students the ability to understand the interconnection of economic, political and cultural practices as well as the ways that economic theories are shaped by cultural assumptions about what constitutes a person, a life, a society, etc. We will read some of the foundational texts from the neoliberal school of economic thought (Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman) alongside more contemporary reflections on the culture and politics of neoliberalism from the fields of Anthropology, Geography, Philosophy, Cultural Studies, and Critical Race Studies. Additionally, we will look at both the global institutions that craft and enforce economic policies as well as their impacts in multiple international contexts. This course will emphasize interdisciplinarity and original research. Finally, in addition to key texts, we will examine recent documentaries that attempt to render economic structures visible. (4 credits)

MCST 323-01

Fundamentals of Video Production

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: STAFF

Notes: This course is designed as a basic introduction to digital video production. The objective of the class is to familiarize students of film theory and history with the language of cinema from the standpoint of production in order to deepen your appreciation and knowledge of the technical aspects of film/video and to develop your capacity to use video as a tool for research and communication. In this way, the course will be a combination of technical instruction, critical engagement, and creative exploration. We will analyze and employ a variety of filmmaking techniques as well as constructing narrative and non-narrative strategies for doing so. The focus of the course will be to familiarize you with some basic conventions of experimental, documentary, and narrative cinema. In each assignment, you will be encouraged to think about how formal decisions enhance and further narrative or thematic elements. We will thus pay very close attention to formal aspects of cinematic production: mise-en-scene. cinematography, editing, and sound design. In addition to this attention to form, success in the class will be dependent on a commitment to working through the technical aspects of video production (camera operation, lighting, editing software) in order to create short, original video pieces. Every year. (4 credits)

MCST 354-01

Blackness in the Media

  • Days: W
  • Meeting Time: 07:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Room: NEILL 401
  • Instructor: Leola Johnson

Notes: *Cross-listed with AMST 354-01*

This course examines mainstream and alternative systems of African American representation in the media from the 1820s to the 1960s, including race records, race movies, the Black press, Black video, and Black appeal radio. It also examines the way Blackness is constructed in the media today, including the role of new media (such as cable and the Internet); new corporate formations (such as FOX, UPN, and BET), and new forms of representation (such as representations that reject the Black-White binary). (4 credits) Cross-listed with American Studies 354.


MCST 357-01

Adv Journalism: New Media

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room:
  • Instructor: Mary Turck

Notes: In-depth reporting and writing of news, feature and opinion pieces. This course stresses effective writing and editing and the development of a strong sense of journalistic ethics. Emphasis is placed on reporting throughout the community and frequent discussions with practicing journalists, writers and policy makers. Students will examine the changing role and formats of media and the impact of media and journalists on culture, politics, government, education, the legal system and the community. Taught by a veteran print and online journalist and editor. (4 credits)

MCST 364-01

Afrofuturism in Media and Popular Culture

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: NEILL 401
  • Instructor: Leola Johnson

Notes: This course examines the Afrofuturist school of cultural representation, which includes science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy and magic realism, in film, television and new media. It includes literary narratives and works of music and other arts that construct, re-construct and/or critique the history, present and future of African American and other African diasporic people.

MCST 488-01

Advanced Topics Seminar

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 03:00 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: NEILL 113
  • Instructor: STAFF

Notes: In the capstone seminar, students working on an independent project in line with the theme of the seminar share their scholarship, integrating what they have learned in the major, emphasizing knowledge gained in their focus area, as well as presenting their work at a concluding mini-conference. The capstone experience involves close analysis of cultural artifacts that examine at a higher level issues first raised in the introductory course. The department plans to offer two seminars every year, at least one in media studies, enabling students to select the seminar most relevant to their intellectual development. In exceptional cases, students with sufficient preparation may take the seminar prior to their senior year. Students may take more than one HMCS senior seminar as long as content varies. Recommended prerequisite for film studies seminars: MCST 128. Non-majors are welcome if they have taken MCST 110 or a comparable course. Recent seminar topics have included: Image/Text: Metaphor, Myth and Power; Advanced Film Analysis; Advanced Studies in War and Media; Postmodernism, Identity and the Media; Whiteness and the Media; Advanced Queer Media. (4 credits)

Fall 2016

MCST 110-01

Texts and Power: Foundations of Media and Cultural Studies

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room: NEILL 111
  • Instructor: Leola Johnson

Notes: This course introduces students to the intellectual roots and contemporary applications of cultural studies, including critical media studies, focusing on the theoretical bases for analyses of power and meaning in production, texts, and reception. It includes primary readings in anti-racist, feminist, modern, postmodern, and queer cultural and social theory, and compares them to traditional approaches to the humanities. Designed as preparation for intermediate and advanced work grounded in cultural studies, the course is writing intensive, with special emphasis on developing skills in critical thinking and scholarly argumentation and documentation. Completion of or enrollment in MCST 110 is the prerequisite for majoring in media and cultural studies. (4 credits)

MCST 114-01

News Reporting and Writing

  • Days: M
  • Meeting Time: 07:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Room: NEILL 215
  • Instructor: Howard Sinker

Notes: This class gives an introduction to the many media platforms that are vital to contemporary journalism, and provides a strong foundation in news writing and reporting. It is taught by a veteran editor and writer, who is a Macalester graduate and currently a digital editor at the Minneapolis Star Tribune (startribune.com). Campus and Twin Cities communities are used as students plan, develop, report and write stories individually and in groups. Cookies are usually served in class. (4 credits)

MCST 128-01

Film Analysis/Visual Culture

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: NEILL 226
  • Instructor: Bradley Stiffler

Notes: This course introduces the aesthetics of film as well as selected issues in contemporary film studies. Its aesthetic approach isolates the features that constitute film as a distinct art form: narrative or non-narrative structure, staging, cinematography, editing, and sound. Topics in contemporary film studies that might be considered include one or more of the following: cultural studies and film, industrial organization and globalization, representations of gender and race, and theories of authorship, horror, and spectatorship. Several papers, a test covering basic film terms, and a short video project emphasizing abstract form are required. Suitable for first year students. (4 credits)

MCST 194-01

Screens

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: NEILL 213
  • Instructor: John Kim

Notes: *First Year Course only* We spend our lives staring at the screens of computers, phones, movies and televisions. And the amount of time we spend before them is anything but insignificant. According to the most recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week)! Because they spend so much of that time "media multitasking" (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into those 7½ hours per day. The screen is one of the most important technological innovations of recent memory, for it has such a wide range of influences on our experience of the everyday. From social media and networking, online video to Hollywood movies, from email to texting, our knowledge of the world is largely mediated by screens. Screens substitute real world experience for a world created in a display of colored lights and accompanying sounds. Given this dependence, what influence do they have on our perception of the world, of others, of ourselves, of news, of reality? Do screens, in fact, contribute to what Anne Friedberg has called a "dematerializing of reality"? Should we be worried about their pervasiveness? In this First Year Course, we will ask these and related questions. We will begin to develop our own answers to them by reading and writing about, analyzing and critiquing various aspects of the media. This course is designed for students who have a strong interest in critical and philosophical type analysis of society and will introduce you to the field of Media Studies in order to help you come to an understanding of the importance of screens in mediating our experience of and interactions with the world.


MCST 202-01

Global Media Industries

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 03:30 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: CARN 404
  • Instructor: Zeynep Gursel

Notes: *Cross-listed with ANTH 294-03 and INTL 202-01*

Global media collectively have tremendous influence in how many see and comprehend the world and therefore on the information and beliefs upon which they feel or act. While media are central to the continued production of a sense of "the world" at large or the "global" scale, media industries are situated geographically, culturally and institutionally. Even if they promise worldwide coverage or are multinational companies, there is much to be gained from studying how media are produced and distributed differently according to specific social, political, economic and historical conditions. This course considers media industries around the world with a focus on the relationships between the labor and infrastructures behind representations in a broad range of media (television, radio, cinema, news, telecommunications, internet). (4 credits) Cross-listed with International Studies 202.

MCST 249-01

History of Film Since 1941

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 02:20 pm-04:00 pm
  • Room: NEILL 401
  • Instructor: Michael Griffin

Notes: This course provides an overview of the history of film from the early 1940s, examining aesthetic, industrial, social, and theoretical topics in a variety of national and cultural contexts. Discussions, lectures, and screenings emphasize international commercial and alternative styles and their determinants. Why and how did alternative styles develop against and within the Hollywood system? The course explores issues of racism and gender as well as connections between the history of film and postwar transformations, with particular attention to the effects on filmmaking of the Cold War in the United States and of post colonial struggles in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Several papers are required. Students who have completed MCST 248 - History of Film 1893-1941 will be encouraged to engage in independent research. Prerequisite(s): MCST 128 recommended. (4 credits)

MCST 294-01

Surrealisms: Art, Photography, and Film

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room: ARTCOM 102
  • Instructor: Joanna Inglot

Notes: *First day attendance required; cross-listed with ART 294-01* Surrealism was one of the most multi-faceted and influential literary and artistic movements of the modern era. This course will offer a broad examination of the ideology and artistic production of Surrealism from inter-disciplinary perspective, examining art, film, poetry, manifestos, and theoretical perspectives that framed surrealist goals and practices. Although most histories of Surrealism focus on developments in France in the 1920s, this course introduces a more inclusive narrative of international developments including those in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the United States from the 1950s to the present. Projects for this course will include short writing assignments such as Dadaists poems, exquisite corpse writings, the dérive (or “drifting), a dream journal, and a collaborative final group project.

MCST 323-01

Fundamentals of Video Production

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 09:40 am-11:10 am
  • Room: ART 301
  • Instructor: Andrew Peterson

Notes: This course is designed as a basic introduction to digital video production. The objective of the class is to familiarize students of film theory and history with the language of cinema from the standpoint of production in order to deepen your appreciation and knowledge of the technical aspects of film/video and to develop your capacity to use video as a tool for research and communication. In this way, the course will be a combination of technical instruction, critical engagement, and creative exploration. We will analyze and employ a variety of filmmaking techniques as well as constructing narrative and non-narrative strategies for doing so. The focus of the course will be to familiarize you with some basic conventions of experimental, documentary, and narrative cinema. In each assignment, you will be encouraged to think about how formal decisions enhance and further narrative or thematic elements. We will thus pay very close attention to formal aspects of cinematic production: mise-en-scene. cinematography, editing, and sound design. In addition to this attention to form, success in the class will be dependent on a commitment to working through the technical aspects of video production (camera operation, lighting, editing software) in order to create short, original video pieces. Every year. (4 credits)

MCST 334-01

Cultural Studies and the Media

  • Days: TR
  • Meeting Time: 01:20 pm-02:50 pm
  • Room: NEILL 304
  • Instructor: Leola Johnson

Notes: *Cross-listed with AMST 334-01*

An overview of contemporary approaches to media as culture, a determining as well as determined sphere in which people make sense of the world, particularly in terms of ethnicity, gender, identity, and social inequality. Students develop tools for analyzing media texts and accounts of audience responses derived from the international field of cultural studies and from the social theory on which it draws. Analysis emphasizes specificity of media texts, including advertisements, films, news reports, and television shows. Experience in cooperative discussion, research, and publication. (4 credits) Cross-listed with American Studies 334.

MCST 337-01

Dead White Men: Time & Truth in Era of Ideology & Biopower (Crit Thought from Descartes to Zizek)

  • Days: MWF
  • Meeting Time: 03:30 pm-04:30 pm
  • Room: NEILL 226
  • Instructor: Kiarina Kordela

Notes: *Cross-listed with ENGL 394-02 and GERM 337-01*

Today we often hear people dismiss the Western (mostly European) philosophical tradition as a bunch of “dead white men.” In other words, the argument goes, these thinkers harbored such passe notions as universal truths, a universal subject, and an individual in total control of itself and endowed with a pure reason unadulterated by rhetoric, imagination, fiction, and politics. Why should we bother with “dead white men” now that we understand that truth depends on historical context, that the self is decentered by the unconscious, that identity is constituted by gender, race, class, and other cultural factors, that truth is linked to power, and that ideology is omnipresent? Unfortunately, this all-too-familiar attitude overlooks its own faulty presupposition: it presumes a clear-cut break between philosophical tradition and contemporary thought, as if contemporary thought had no tradition out of which it emerged and could, therefore, merely discard what preceded it. Hence the popularity of phrases like “philosophy is dead.” It is all the more ironic to see this attitude prevail in the West at the very moment that multiculturalism has become our cause celebre : all cultural traditions are supposed to be “respected,” except the West’s own tradition. (Perhaps as a new way for the West to reinstate surreptitiously its superiority as the sole culture with no tradition?) This course pursues a close reading of texts by various “dead white men” as the unconscious (i.e., repressed and, for that matter, all the more powerful) undercurrent of contemporary thought. Assigned texts will include: Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Pascal, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Marx, as well as texts by twentieth-century thinkers that stress the dependence of contemporary thought on philosophy. No pre-knowledge required; all readings in English. With different reading lists this course may be taken more than once for credit . Alternate years. Cross-listed with German Studies 337. (4 credits)

MCST 488-01

Advanced Topics Seminar

  • Days: W
  • Meeting Time: 07:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Room: NEILL 402
  • Instructor: John Kim

Notes: In the capstone seminar, students working on an independent project in line with the theme of the seminar share their scholarship, integrating what they have learned in the major, emphasizing knowledge gained in their focus area, as well as presenting their work at a concluding mini-conference. The capstone experience involves close analysis of cultural artifacts that examine at a higher level issues first raised in the introductory course. The department plans to offer two seminars every year, at least one in media studies, enabling students to select the seminar most relevant to their intellectual development. In exceptional cases, students with sufficient preparation may take the seminar prior to their senior year. Students may take more than one HMCS senior seminar as long as content varies. Recommended prerequisite for film studies seminars: MCST 128. Non-majors are welcome if they have taken MCST 110 or a comparable course. Recent seminar topics have included: Image/Text: Metaphor, Myth and Power; Advanced Film Analysis; Advanced Studies in War and Media; Postmodernism, Identity and the Media; Whiteness and the Media; Advanced Queer Media. (4 credits)