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From I Love Lucy to Lost: Television and American Culture

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Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
June 15, 2015 - June 26, 20152M-F 12:15-3:05POpenHunter Hargraves10059

Course Description

In this course, we will study how television reflects and shapes American culture, from its beginnings as focal point of family life in the suburban 1950s to its current status as interactive experience. We will look at television as a business, as a medium, and as a cultural force. Within that framework, we will analyze who decides which programs to put on the air, and how they arrive at those decisions. We will also explore how people relate to TV and how it influences their everyday lives. Moreover, we will watch a selection of programs from the past decades to understand how television has changed over time, especially in regard to how it represents specific segments of the population, including children, women, and racial/ethnic minorities.

This course is intended to develop the skills necessary to think and write critically about the economic, historical, and cultural aspects of the current American media landscape. You will gain an understanding of how television both shapes and is shaped by American culture and society. In this sense, it will position you for future study in the field of media studies, with an emphasis on critical thinking and contemporary theories of media. Yet it will also expose the interdisciplinary nature of the discipline of “media studies,” and we will engage with television from industrial, technological, textual, and informational perspectives"perspectives that can be applied to the study of literature, film, theatre, and other forms of narrative, art, and communication. Finally, this course will help you understand and manage the demands of a college classroom, including participation in seminar-style discussions, individual research, and writing at an undergraduate level.

No prior knowledge of media studies is required!