Return to Syllabus   Dr. Andrew Wood
Office: HGH 210; phone: (408) 924-5378

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Catalog Description

Examination of the media as a source of persuasion concerning roles we play, situations in which we find ourselves and activities appropriate to us and our society. Critical analysis of messages in TV, movies, radio and magazines. Prerequisite: Completion of GE oral communication.

Course Description

This class explores popular culture media texts -- television shows, films, books, websites, and the like -- as sites of ongoing negotiation and contest about the values of public life. Our goal is to unpack these texts with the aid of communication scholarship, within a broader cultural studies standpoint. Our methods are qualitative and critical, and our goal is to reveal things in these texts that most people fail to notice. Given that we seek to study contemporary popular culture, our readings (with few exceptions) will be drawn from recent scholarship.

Learning objectives - Successful conclusion of this class means that you can:

• Explain key concepts and theories related to media criticism

• Employ communication scholarship in your own media criticism

• Present your findings professionally in written and oral forms

Required Materials

No textbook is assigned; we will read a range of supplemental scholarly articles. I also advise that you purchase a current style guide (we use APA in this class) and bibliographic database software (I recommend Endnote). You might also wish to join the National Communication Association (at the student rate) to access their database of full-text scholarly articles.