FALL 2019 COURSES
FS101*34: First Year Seminar (Screening Cultures)
The First Year Seminar (FS101) is designed to help new students transition to college and strengthen the reading, critical thinking, writing, and presentation skills of the incoming class. There is a significant academic advising component to this course as students learn how to interact with faculty and best utilize them as mentors and resources. The FS 101 instructor typically serves as the student's academic advisor until the latter declares their Major and Minor (usually, by the end of the second year of study).
Specific goals of the FS 101 seminars (Academic Discourse I) include:
Helping students recognize and express interesting ideas of intellectual value.
Assisting them to develop their individual voices as speakers and writers.
Guiding them to organize ideas effectively to communicate across various contexts, and
Introducing first-semester college students to the rules of an academic discourse community so they can communicate clearly, powerfully, and with their audience in mind.
About Screening Cultures (FS101*34):
An examination of representations of cultural diversity in popular films, documentaries, and animations. Who gets to represent whom, how, and why? How are personal and cultural ideas of identity negotiated through such storytelling? Course screenings and readings open up a discussion of the richness of different perspectives and cultural narratives, contrasted against the tyranny of ethnocentric narratives. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.
COMRT 120*03 (Introduction to Critical Media Studies)
We live in a time when “fake news” across social media, and concerns about how bots drive the content of newsfeeds, thus narrowing the scope of how media consumers understand complex realities. More than ever, it is vital for us to become active, critical consumers of media. The purpose of this course is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to critically analyze media contents and institutions. Topics examined in the course include, but not limited to, critical media analyses, the study of media institutions and practices, the embedded histories and ideologies in media representations of the real world, the construction of media “target” audiences, and how media discourses are shaping our sense of who we are as a nation and our place in the world. By the end of the course, class participants will be media literate. In other words, they will be able to locate and distinguish credible news sources from those that are not, and to recognize political and economic agendas that shape what is covered in the news and how. Students will also be able to identify how various “discourses” shape the language of representation, and what factors affect the ways in which we interpret these messages.
COMRT 460*00: Media & Cultural Politics (Topic-- "Manufacturing Indianness")
This upper-level course taps into integrating the research, critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills that students have been learning in their core communication arts courses.
In 2005, Pulitzer-winning journalist Thomas Friedman's book The World is Flat celebrated an emerging world in which the internet would make geographical boundaries less of an obstacle, and increased e-opportunities would give more people in developing parts of the world the opportunity to compete on an equal footing with their counterparts in industrialized countries. However, in recent years, there has been a resurgence of ethnic, religious, and populist nationalisms so that increasingly, most countries have retreated into insular and narrow definitions of citizenship and patriotism. We have moved, arguably, from an economic characterization of the nation as a 'nation brand', to a chauvinistic nationalism that, like the 'nation brand,' operates by organizing its followers around an affective narrative and set of visual signs.
Using my recent book Manufacturing Indianness (Peter Lang; 2019), students examine globalization from a non-western perspective. Perspectives that we will explore include postcolonial and psychoanalytic readings on identity, transnational theories of race, gender and sexuality, nation branding, cultural geography, trauma and affect theories, and digital media and surveillance studies.