Communication and Culture | Writing Media Criticism (Topic: Television Futures)
C306 | 26073 | Dawson, M.

MW, 9:30 AM-10:45 AM, 800 E. 3rd St. – room 203

Fulfills College A&H Requirement
Carries College Intensive Writing Credit
A portion of this class reserved for majors

Instructor: Max Dawson
Office: 800 E. 3rd St. – room 214
Phone: 856-5367

At present, television’s future is murky. Some commentators suggest
that television’s days are numbered, and that technologies ranging
from DVRs to the social networking and video sharing websites
collectively known as “Web 2.0” will soon bring about the end of
television as we know it. Others have called this the
medium’s “platinum age,” pointing to the challenging and artistic
programming that has flourished in the last decade. Certainly, much
has changed since the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996,
which rewrote many of the regulations that had governed American
broadcasting since the 1930s. However, similarly urgent assertions
have surfaced at numerous times over the past sixty years. How are
we to assess these present-day prognostications in light of the long
history of speculations about television’s future? How is television
changing, and what is at stake in these changes? This class
approaches these questions from a variety of perspectives, drawing
on a number of critical approaches, including political economic
analysis, production studies, cultural studies, and aesthetic
analysis. It is in this respect both an introduction to contemporary
television and its institutions, programs, technologies, and
audiences, and an introduction to the critical methodologies
developed over the last three decades for studying television.

As you will note, the title of this course is “Television Futures,”
denoting that the present period of uncertainty has many possible
outcomes. At the end of the semester, students will be equipped to
participate in the unfolding of television’s futures, whether as
creative professionals, industry executives, policymakers, or
informed viewers. Course assignments include a semester-long writing
project in which students will analyze a contemporary television
show, and a group project in which students will conceptualize and
pitch a new series of their own invention.

It is recommended that students who enroll in this class have
previously completed C190 (Introduction to Media).