This is an archived course. Visit the most recent syllabus.

Course Description

This course will survey some and fundamental theories about mass media and culture. We will aggressively summarize, evaluate, and compare these writings and critical approaches for the purpose of questioning contemporary media as popular culture, a communications technology, a representational device, a commercial industry, a site for audience engagement, and a territory for cultural citizenship.

Time and Place

Friday, 1:40 – 4:30 PM
Kiely Hall, Room 315
Section: MEDST 201W–01 (62013)


Juan Monroy


Office Hours

G Building, Rm 102-D
Friday, 12:30 – 1:30 PM

Course Materials


The following textbook is available through online retailers and on reserve at Rosenthal Library.

You should also review Goals for Student Writing published by Writing at Queens College.

Reserve Readings

Required course readings not found in the textbook are available electronically from the course website under the particular class session. You may need to use either your QC Library Card barcode or QC CAMS login to access the reading.

Review Materials

After each class, I will post a review questions and relevant web links based on the material we covered in class. Use these materials to prepare for the midterm and final exams.

Google Apps for Education

As you likely already know, Queens College uses Google Apps for Education. We will be using Google Classroom to submit your assignments and Google Drive. You might also consider using the other core apps, such as Docs, Sheets, or Slides, for your own work.

You will need to activate your QC Google Apps account as soon as possible.


We will not be using Blackboard for this course. Instead, consult the Course Website for the syllabus and Google Classroom for submitting assignments.

New York Times

Use your Queens College email account ( to activate a free, fifty-two–week digital subscription to the New York Times.

Writing Center

Would you like free in-person assistance with writing your papers?

The Writing Center at Queens College offers in-person tutoring with your writing assignments. You can schedule recurring weekly sessions or a one-time “drop-in.” You can also stop-by the Writing Center to consult with a tutor. Students can also submit work online via the Writing Center’s e-tutoring service.

Monday-Thursday: 10 am–2 pm and 3–8 pm
Friday: 10 am–1 pm
Saturday: 10 am–2 pm

The Writing Center is located in Kiely Hall, Room 229 and can be reached at 718–997–5676.


Attendance and Participation

Please be present in each class.

Each class session will form the basis of the material I expect you to know for the exams. We will cover the historical, technological, and economic context relevant to each electronic media technology. Although I will review questions each week, they serve as poor substitutes for attending and participating in each week’s class.


Please read the assigned course material prior to each week’s class. Consult the Course Schedule (below) for the required reading assignments.


All assignments must be completed on time in order to receive full credit. Late assignments will be penalized by a 10% reduction for each 24-hour period it is late. After seven calendar days, the assignment will not be accepted and you will likely fail this class.


Exams comprise forty percent of your course grade and are designed to reward regular attendance and diligent studying. Exams will be administered in class and must be taken at the specified date and time.



Please respect the classroom environment. You should pay attention to the lecture, take notes, and avoid digital distractions. Studies have consistently shown that students using laptops and mobile phones perform about 11% worse than students who are not distracted by these devices.

On a personal note, it’s very difficult to stay motivated as a teacher if I see students seemingly disinterested in their own education. Seriously, I’m this close to banning all digital devices in class. If I find you engaging in disruptive behavior, such as watching online videos, passing notes, instant messaging, chatting, or texting, I will remove you from the classroom and have you withdraw from the class.

Late Work and “Incomplete” Grades

Please submit your work on time. Late work will be penalized by a 10% reduction for each 24-hour period it is late. After one calendar week, the assignment will not be accepted and you will likely fail this class.

There will be no incomplete grades for this class except in the case of a documented emergency in the final weeks of the semester. If you experience such an emergency, please contact me immediately, and we will work out a schedule for you to complete the outstanding work before the beginning of the following semester.

But aside from these circumstances, no late work will be accepted and no “incomplete” grades will be granted. If you have difficulty keeping up with coursework, consider giving yourself extra time to complete assignments, reducing your overall course load, and/or taking this class at a later semester.

Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York. Penalties for academic dishonesty include academic sanctions, such as failing or otherwise reduced grades, and/or disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or expulsion. Examples of Academic Dishonesty include cheating, plagiarism, obtaining an unfair advantage, and falsification of records and official documents.

Cheating is the unauthorized use or attempted use of material, information, notes, study aids, devices or communication during an academic exercise. Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writings as your own. Obtaining Unfair Advantage is any action taken by a student that gives that student an unfair advantage in his/her academic work over another student, or an action taken by a student through which a student attempts to gain an unfair advantage in his or her academic work over another student.

For tips and information on how to maintain academic integrity, consult Writing at Queens document, “What is Plagiarism?”.

Computers, Tablets, and Mobile Phones

Please refrain from using your digital devices during class. Also remember to silence your mobile phone, or turn it off to save your battery.

It is particularly rude to use your devices in class because it distracts not only me but also the students around you. And others can see what you’re doing.

Students must surrender mobile phones, tablets, and computers on exam days.


Please check your QC email account ( on a daily basis, if not more frequently. I will broadcast announcements and send point-to-point communiques using your official email address.

Please note that I am not allowed to discuss your grade from an account that is not your official email account.

Students with Disabilities

Queens College has a history of commitment to the enhancement of education of students with disabilities. The Office of Special Services for Students with Disabilities was established in 1974 to provide equal opportunities for a college education to academically qualified students with physical disabilities. The office offers comprehensive support services to students with various disabilities. Queens College prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities and it ensures full access and equal opportunity to qualified students with disabilities to all academic programs and social activities on campus.

To receive these services, a student must first register with the office in Kiely 171. To do so, you must bring proper documentation pertaining to the nature of your disability from a qualified professional. To learn more about CUNY Assistive Technology Services and the office located at Queens College, call (718) 997–3775 or visit Kiely Hall 173. For more information, visit The Office of Special Services.


Whither Popular Culture?

In this assignment, you compare the writings of two authors and their approaches to studying media as popular culture.

Media and Culture Industries

In this assignment, you compare the writings of two authors and their approaches to studying media and the culture industries.

Media Audiences and Citizenship

In this assignment, you compare the writings of three authors and their approaches to studying media and its role in cultural citizenship.


Midterm Exam

The midterm exam consists of questions related to the assigned readings and the attendant discussions from the first half of the course. Use the review questions posted on this course website to help you prepare for the exam.

  • October 16, in class
  • Weight: 20%

Final Exam

Like the midterm exam, the final exam consists of questions related to the assigned readings and the attendant discussions from the second half of the course. Use the review questions posted on this course website to help you prepare for the exam.

  • December 18, 1:45 – 3:45 PM
  • Weight: 20%

Course Schedule

Note on the readings: If a required reading is not hyperlinked, it is available in the book. If it is hyperlinked, you should follow the link.

August 28 • Welcome

September 4 • Mass Culture, Popular Culture


September 11 • Technology and Popular Culture


Watch Episode 1 on John Berger’s Ways of Seeing (1972) for an illustration of the concepts discussed by Walter Benjamin.


September 18 • Popular Culture and Political Power


September 25 • Small Group Seminars

The College runs on a Tuesday schedule today.

To help you prepare for your first assignment, I will be holding small group seminars from 12:00 – 3:00 PM on Friday, September 25, in Room 102-D of the G Building. These are optional and are open to anyone. Simply…

  1. Email me when you plan on coming.
  2. Using Google Drive, share any draft or outline with me by Thursday, 5:00 PM.

October 2 • Representation and Power


The Whiter Popular Culture? is due on Monday, October 5, at 5:00 PM. Submit it to Google Classroom.

  • Stuart Hall, “The Work of Representation.”
  • Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, “Stereotype, Realism, and the Struggle over Representation.”

October 9 • Media Technology and Social Reality

  • John Berger, “Ways of Seeing.”
  • Leopoldina Fortunati, “The Mobile Phone: Towards New Categories and Social Relations.”
  • Nick Couldry, “Liveness, ‘Reality,’ and the Mediated Habitus from Television to the Mobile Phone.”

October 16 • Midterm Exam

Note: Please bring your textbook and a paper notebook or notebook computer to class today.

The essays for the exam are due on Monday, October 19, 11:59 PM, on Google Classroom.

October 23 • Media, Industry, and Economy

  • Herbert Schiller, “The Corporation and the Production of Culture.”
  • Michael Curtin, “On Edge: Culture Industries in the Neo-Network Era.”

October 30 • Digital Media, Industry, and Economy

  • Tom McCourt and Patrick Burkart, “When Creators, Corporations and Consumers Collide: Napster and the Development of Online Music Distribution.”
  • Tizania Terranova, “Free Labor: Producing Culture for the Digital Economy.”
Recommended Screening
  • Watch Downloaded (Alex Winter, 2013) for a primer on Napster and how the music industry collided with emerging digital technologies.

November 6 • Media Audiences

  • Ien Ang, “On the Politics of Empirical Audience Research.”
  • Mark Andrejevic, “The Work of Being Watched: Interactive Media and the Exploitation of Self-Disclosure.”

November 13 • Consumers and Producers


The Media and Culture Industries is due on Monday, November 9 16, 5:00 PM on Google Classroom

  • Lawrence Grossberg, “The Affective Sensibility of Fandom.”
  • Mizuko Ito, “Japanese Media Mixes and Amateur Cultural Exchange.”
Recommended Screening

November 20 • Media and Citizenship


December 4 • Cultural Citizenship

Recommended Screening

December 11 • Citizenship and the Politic


The Media Audiences and Citizenship is on Wednesday, December 16, 5:00 PM on Google Classroom


December 18 • Final Exam

We will take our final exam in class on Friday, December 18, between 1:45 – 3:45 PM.