Communication and Culture | Production as Criticism
C335 | 1067 | Kraszewski


In most media genre classes, the standard paper has functioned as the
primary mode of communication where students normally apply theory to
a text by writing a paper with an introduction, a thesis, supporting
paragraphs, and a conclusion.   This course challenges the centrality
of academic papers in the college classroom by exploring how we can
use video production as a type of criticism.   How does our
application of theory to genre texts, specifically science fiction,
change when we do it with a video camera instead of through an
academic paper?  What remains similar and what becomes different?  A
major goal of this class is to test the limits of academic paper
writing as a form of meaning making, a task which sounds oddly like a
science fiction plot.
As we combine criticism and production to explore science fiction,
we'll focus on three specific topics: science fiction and genre
theory, science fiction and the discursive construction of TV, and
science fiction and representations of race.   Beesides these three
sections, another goal of the class is to compare and contrast the
preoccupations and, at times, intersections of science fiction with
other genres such as cop shows, horror, teen pics, camp films, reality
television, and blaxploitation.

All levels of video production are welcome.  No video production
experience is necessary to take this class.  In fact, most students
who take the class have had little to no video production experience.
Please note that C335 is not just an "Introduction to Video
Production" class.  We are taking a crash course in the basics of
production so we can make our own projects and create new forms of
media criticism.

Screenings will be done in class and in lab.  We will watch the
following films in their entirety:  THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN, DR.
BLACK, MR. HYDE;  THE ANGRY RED PLANET; and DUDE WHERE'S MY CAR?   We
will view episodes form the following TV shows:  "Buffy the Vampire
Slayer," "Manimal," "the Outer Limits," and "The Twilight Zone."
We'll also watch clips from MEN IN BLACK, THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER
PLANET, VIDEODROME, and THE RUNNING MAN.

Assignments will include one academic paper, two or three short video
projects, and one short story.