Communication And Culture | Advanced Seminar in Media Theory
C792 | 1185 | Hawkins

Topic: Theory for Troubled Times

This course is cross listed with Cultural Studies (C701)
and American Studies

In their introduction to the Panic Encyclopedia, the editors
explain why they've chosen panic as their dominant motif.  "Panic is the
key psychological mood of postmodern culture," they write.  Given the
number of books which have recently appeared on the subjects of panic,
paranoia, chaos, and schizophrenia, a number of academic scholars,
artists, and savvy lay readers apparently agree. We are, it seems, living
in a nervous time.

In this class we'll be reading theory and seeing films which
attempt to address the issues we confront (sometimes on a daily basis) in
everyday life: ambient fear, panic, paranoia, the role of the media and
emerging technologies, cyberspace, sex roles and practices, gender roles
and practices, race, nationalism and culture.  The trajectory will not
only require some juggling of topics and categories, it'll also require
more than a little juggling of discourses.  While some of the texts we'll
be reading were written by academic scholars for an academic audience, a
number target readers outside the academy. And our class discussions will
be structured as much around the dialogue between these two kinds of
theory (or target audiences)--academic and nonacademic-- as it will be
structured around the topics/themes themselves.

Films will include experimental and self-reflexive documentaries
and cinema/video-essays by Godard, Laurie Anderson, Derek Jarman and Harun
Farocki, as well as more mainstream films like Suture,Videodrome  and Crash.

Students will be asked to write one short paper, a long research
paper and a take-home final examination.  In addition, they will be
required to to do a brief (15-20 minute) oral presentation.