Media Specialization I

Faculteit Letteren
Jaar 2021/22
Vakcode LAX067B05
Vaknaam Media Specialization I
Niveau(s) bachelor
Voertaal Engels
Periode semester II a

Uitgebreide vaknaam Media Specialization I: A Historical Approach
Leerdoelen Upon successful completion of the course unit, students are able to:

1. Summarize major shifts in the historical development of media technologies (18c to today) and explain how they affected the everyday lives of people in the U.S. (degree program learning outcomes 1c)
2. analyse primary source material, orally and in writing, using concepts from the course readings (2d)
3. assess ways that media have institutionalized and critiqued U.S. ideologies (including individualism, consumerism, and the American Dream, as well as ideologies of race, class, gender, and religion) (1d, 3c)
4. select and research independently, using appropriate sources, a text or event that is relevant to the topic media and American life (2a, 3a)
5. design and create a mini-exhibit, in the format of your choice, that analyzes and contextualizes your media text or event for a general audience (4a, 4b)
Omschrijving Our contemporary media environment is vertiginously complex, multi-centered, and evolving. Media Specialization is a two-course sequence designed to give students the historical perspective and critical tools they will need to understand U.S. popular culture in the present moment, and to participate in that culture through informed everyday consumption, rigorous scholarly discourse, and thoughtful cultural production. In the first block, we take a historical approach, exploring how media have shaped American life from the 18th century to the present, through a focus on two different kinds of media spectacles: the Event and the Hoax.

How did writers frame the death of a political leader, in the aftermath of a bloody Civil War, to help “heal the soul of the nation”? How do music celebrities use digital technologies to assert control over their careers? We will study primary sources related to diverse historical events--from the funeral of president Abraham Lincoln to the surprise album “drop” of Beyoncé’s Lemonade—alongside the scholarly debates those events have provoked about the role of democracy, celebrity, and collective emotion in American life. Along the way, we will attend to how the mediation and reception of these events are shaped by ideologies of empire, race, gender, and class.

“Events” show us how history unfolds through media; meanwhile, “hoaxes”—successful deceptions of supposedly gullible audiences—show us how people respond to technological change. From the Great Moon Hoax of 1835, to Orson Welles' radio broadcast The War of the Worlds, to the scandal around author/impostor J.T. LeRoy from the early 2000s, hoaxes force us to reflect on our understanding of, and continued investment in, categories like truth, authenticity, and “reality.”

The major assignment for this course is the Curation Project, which asks students to explain and contextualize a media event of their choice for a general audience.
Uren per week 2
Onderwijsvorm werkcollege
Toetsvorm essay, opdrachten
(“Assignments include weekly reading responses. The essay is the "Curation Project," which asks students to contextualize a media object or event for a general audience.”)
Vaksoort bachelor jr 2
Coördinator dr. K.S. Roberts
Docent(en) dr. K.S. Roberts
Verplichte literatuur
Titel Auteur ISBN Prijs
The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things J.T. Leroy (Laura Albert) 9780062641281 ca. €  12,00
Lemonade (video album) Beyonce ca. €  10,00
Entreevoorwaarden Toegang tot het tweede jaar, d.w.z. minimaal 45 ECTS behaald uit de propedeuse van de BA American Studies. NB: Voor het collegejaar 2021-2022 geldt een norm van minimaal 35 ECTS.
Opmerkingen 80% Compulsory attendance in seminars.
Students are expected to participate actively in discussions during seminars and to duly carry out all assignments in and outside class.
Opgenomen in
Opleiding Jaar Periode Type
Course units for exchange students 2 semester II a keuze
Ba American Studies 2 semester II a keuzegroep
Ba Open colleges Letteren - semester II a keuze