FMST-205 Keywords in Media Studies
Spring for 2017-2018
This course introduces students to media studies by exploring the debates that have developed around a few keywords in the field. Starting with the word “media” itself, the major terms in media studies inform the structure of the discipline and the shape of inquiries within it. What assumptions about the nature and functions of electronic media are encoded within the terms we use to discuss them? What do the keywords in media studies teach us about the core methods and guiding concerns in this area of study? Each unit of this course examines a particular keyword in media studies—asking, for example, what we mean when we call something “virtual,” how an “interface” constrains our actions, and why we call computers “digital.” We will look at examples ranging from the gramophone to the MP3, from the earliest moving-image technologies to the latest virtual-reality platforms, from papyrus to smartphones. Alongside these, we will read foundational texts in media theory and explore a range of methods to discuss the political, historical, and philosophical dimensions of media technologies.
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