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

Thursday, 5:30 – 8:20 PM
Kiely Hall, Room 321
Section: MEDST 201W–04 (34323)

Monday, 1:40 – 4:30 PM
King Hall, Room 105
Section: MEDST 201W–05 (53410)


Juan Monroy


Office Hours

G Building, Room 102-D
Mondays, 5:00 – 6:00 PM

Schedule an Appointment

Also available remotely on Google Hangouts by advance appointment.

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 will need to use your QC Google Apps account to access these materials.

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.


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.

Google Workspace for Education

This course will use Google Workspace for Education using your QC CAMS (often referred to as the QC ID or QC Active Directory) account.

Below are instructions for how to activate your QC Google Workspace for Education account (titled “Step 1” below) and how to join our course on Google Classroom (titled “Step 2” below).

New Queens College students and students enrolled at another CUNY campus will have to take an additional, initial step (titled “Step 0” below).

About Google accounts

You can have more than one Google account. If you use Gmail, you already have a Google Account: this is your personal Google account. Google also offers organizations, businesses and educational institutions Google Workspace accounts for its users. Since you’re enrolled at Queens College, you have access to a QC Google Workspace for Education account.

You cannot access Queens College Google Workspace for Education using your personal Gmail or another Google Workspace account.

You can be logged into both accounts at the same time, but you will likely have to switch between accounts to access your QC Google Workspace for Education account versus your personal Google Workspace.

Step 0: Activate your QC Username

Students New to Queens College, Recently Transferred to QC, or Enrolled at another CUNY Campus.

You must first activate your Queens College username and email account at

The process takes about three (3) business days so please start this process as soon as possible.

Step 1: Activate Your QC Google Workspace for Education account

Information Technology at Queens College offers detailed instructions for activating (or claiming) your QC Google Workspace for Education account. The process comes down to four steps.

  1. Sign out of Google
  2. Go to
  3. Enter your qmail email address as your Google account (e.g.,
  4. From the QC authentication page, sign in with your QC ID credentials (e.g. jmonroy100) and your QC CAMS password. (If you’re having trouble contact the QC CAMS Help Desk at 718–997–4444.)
  5. Accept the terms of service.

You can now access your QC Google Workspace for Education account at

Your Google Google Workspace for Education username is the same as your qmail address (e.g.,

About Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a barebones, learning management system that you will use to submit your assignments and I will use to grade your work. We will not be using Blackboard.

I will also post announcements to Google Classroom instead of emailing everyone in class. However, you should use email to contact me, instead of the private commenting system in Google Classroom because it doesn’t work well.

Step 2: Join Google Classroom

Google has instructions for joining a course in Google Classroom. The process basically comes down to four steps:

  1. Go to Google Classroom.
  2. Sign in using your address as your Google account.
  3. Click the “+” to “Join class.”
  4. Enter the code I provided at the first meeting (for face-to-face classes) or via email (for online classes).

I highly recommend downloading the Google Classroom mobile app for iOS or Android. If you allow push notifications, you will immediately receive important announcements from me and learn when assignments are posted.

Use the QC Google Workspace for Education Apps

We will be using some QC Google Workspace applications in this class.

  • Google Docs is a cloud-based, word-processing application. It is comparable to Microsoft Word on your personal computer except that all your documents are stored in your Google Drive. Be sure you’re using your QC Google Workspace account, not your personal Google account. Download the Google Docs mobile apps for iOS or Android.
  • Google Meet is a video-based, communication platform used for remote office hours. Download the Google Meet mobile apps for iOS or Android.
  • Google Forms is a survey and data collection platform that we will use for quizzes in some courses. There’s a bug in Forms that requires you to authenticate using your QC Google Workspace account on a web browser if you navigate to the quiz from the Google Classroom apps. To avoid this bug, I recommend taking the quizzes on a desktop computer.
  • Google Drive is a cloud-based file storage platform. Your QC Google Drive offers unlimited storage, compared to 15 GB with your personal Google Drive. Download the Google Drive mobile apps for iOS or Android.


A majority of access issues can be resolved switching to your Queens College Google account. This article describes how to switch between Google accounts.

Another resolution that always works is to log out of all your Google accounts in your web browser and then logging back into your QC Google Workspace account at


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.



I will take attendance at every class meeting and consider it in the evaluation of student performance.

All absences, whether excused or unexcused, are counted equally. The maximum number of absences is limited to 30% of the number of class hours. Note: Absences are counted from the first day of class even if they are a result of late registration or change of program.

For in-person classes, regular attendance is required. Attend 85% of our class session and receive five bonus points added to your final grade. Students missing more than 30% of classes will not be permitted to take the final exam.

For synchronous courses, regular attendance is required. Attend 85% of our class session and receive five bonus points added to your final grade. Students missing more than 30% of classes will not be permitted to take the final exam.

This policy does not apply to fully asynchronous courses.

Verification of Attendance

You must be present or participating in class during the verification of attendance period. Otherwise, I will report you as not attending and you will be dropped from the class.

The verification period is as follows:

  • fall and spring semesters: the first three weeks of classes
  • summer and winter semesters: the first three days of classes

Academically-related activities include, but are not limited to:

  • physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students;
  • submitting an academic assignment;
  • taking an exam, an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction;
  • attending a study group that is assigned by the school;
  • participating in an online discussion about academic matter;
  • engaging in an online academically-related activity, or initiating contact with the instructor to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course or ask a course-related question.

Note: Logging into an online class is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate participation in an academically-related activity by the student.

Professionalism in In-Person Classes

Digital devices are prohibited in in-person classes. Unfortunately, students in the past have failed to use computers, tablets, smartphones, etc. in a professional, responsible, or productive manner, and, as such, you are not allowed to use these devices in class after the first class session.

I recommend buying a spiral notebook, some nice pencils, and a portable pencil sharpener to do this.

Further, if I find you engaging in any other disruptive behavior, such as passing notes, instant messaging, chatting, photographing, or texting, I will remove you from the classroom and have you withdraw from the class.

Professionalism in Remote Classes

Students are expected to use proper language, wear appropriate attire, and be mindful of backgrounds that may or may not be distracting, offensive, or harassing to others when using virtual conference tools, such as Zoom.

Late Work

Please submit your work on time.

In some cases, late assignments due at the end of the term will not be accepted. In-class exams must be taken at the date and time listed below unless other we make other arrangements.

No assignments will be accepted after the assignment closes on Microsoft Teams.

“Incomplete” Grades

There are 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.

No Extra Credit Assignments

There are no opportunities for extra credit. As a matter of fairness, your grade will be based on the work assigned to all students.


To maintain professionalism, always use your QC email account ( to email me, and also direct all emails to my account. This is the only way I can communicate with you, other than face-to-face meetings or via video conferencing.

CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity

The CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity, as adopted by the Board, is available to all students. Academic dishonesty is prohibited in the City University of New York and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion.

This includes the use of homework helper sites, such as like, or generative AI tools. These may not be used for class assignments. Students who use these unauthorized tools may be able to obtain an unfair advantage over other classmates. Gaining an unfair advantage is a violation of CUNY policy on academic integrity.

Use of Student Work

All programs in New York State undergo periodic reviews by accreditation agencies. For these purposes, samples of student work are occasionally made available to those professionals conducting the review. Anonymity is assured under these circumstances. If you do not wish to have your work made available for these purposes, please let the professor know before the start of the second class. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Course Evaluations

During the final four weeks of the semester, you will be asked to complete an evaluation for this course by filling out an online questionnaire. Please remember to participate in these course evaluations. Your comments are highly valued, and these evaluations are an important service to fellow students and to the institution, since your responses will be pooled with those of other students and made available online, in the Queens College Course Information System. Please also note that all responses are completely anonymous; no identifying information is retained once the evaluation has been submitted.

Online Netiquette

Please maintain a professional demeanor when posting online. You can be respectful even when you have a difference of opinion. Treat others as you’d want to be treated yourself. Don’t type in all caps, as that is the online equivalent of shouting. If you need to emphasize a word or phrase, use italics.

Campus Resources

Counseling Services

The mission of Counseling Services is to enhance students’ academic, intellectual, personal, and social growth. Special attention is given to students’ health and well-being, with the aim of alleviating the effects of painful experiences, enhancing self-understanding and understanding of others, and fostering students’ pursuit of their goals. Counseling Services also presents workshops, training, and educational consultation to the college community.

For more information, contact Counseling Services website:

Reasonable Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should register with the Special Services Office by emailing​. For more information about services available to Queens College students, visit the Office of Special Services website:

Technical Support

The Queens College Helpdesk, (718) 997–4444, is located in the I-Building, Room 151 and provides technical support for students who need help with Queens College email, CUNY portal, Blackboard, and CUNYFirst.

Help with Writing

One of the most important skills you will learn throughout your education is writing. If you cannot write, you will not succeed at communicating your ideas and will endanger your professional development.

The Writing Center at Queens College offers free assistance to students with writing. Please visit the center at least once for each writing assignment you have for your classes this semester. You can schedule a one-hour session or drop in to consult an on-duty tutor.


What is Popular Culture?

In their influential essay, “The Culture Industry,” Adorno and Horkheimer criticize newly emergent mass culture of the late–nineteenth and early-twentieth century as an industrial product that deceives its audiences.

Discuss how the author of the one of the following essays may disagree with this argument by characterizing mass culture as popular culture.

  1. Walter Benjamin, “Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”
  2. Tania Modleski, “Mass-Produced Fantasies for Women”
  3. George Lipsitz, “Popular Culture: This Ain’t no Sideshow”
  4. Lev Manovich, “The Practice of Everyday (Media) Life: From Mass Consumption to Mass Cultural Production”
  5. Susan Douglas, “The Turn Within: The Irony of Technology in a Globalized World”

Assignment Guidelines

Media and Culture Industries

Writing in the 1980s, Herbert Schiller observes the increasing control of culture by a decreasing number of corporations that prioritize profit over the artistic or cultural value of a work. Does this argument update and reinforce the “mass culture” argument made by Adorno and Horkheimer nearly fifty years earlier?

Discuss how the author of the one of the following essays extends Schiller’s argument about media and culture industries at the turn of the twenty-first century?

  1. Michael Curtin, “On Edge: Culture Industries in the Neo-Network Era.”
  2. Tom McCourt and Patrick Burkart, “When Creators, Corporations and Consumers Collide: Napster and the Development of Online Music Distribution.”
  3. Tizania Terranova, “Free Labor: Producing Culture for the Digital Economy.”
  4. Mark Andrejevic, “The Work of Being Watched: Interactive Media and the Exploitation of Self-Disclosure.”
  5. Lawrence Grossberg, “The Affective Sensibility of Fandom.”

Assignment Guidelines


Midterm Exam

The in-class 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.

  • Week 7, in class
    • Thursday section : October 13
    • Monday section : October 24
  • Weight: 20%

Final Exam

The take-home final exam, to be completed on Google Classroom, 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.

  • Finals Week
  • No late exams will be accepted.
  • Weight: 30%

Course Schedule

Note on the readings: All of the following readings are in the textbook, but I'm providing links to these readings, as PDFs, for your convenience. However, the versions in the textbook are the canonical versions of our course readings.

Week 1 • Welcome

  • Thu — August 25
  • Mon — August 29
To-Do Today

Week 2 • Mass Culture, Popular Culture

  • Thu — September 1
  • Mon — September 12

Week 3 • Technology and Popular Culture

  • Thu — September 8. Class is cancelled tonight. Complete this assignment about the readings covered in the first weeks of class.
  • Mon — September 19

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


Week 4 • Popular Culture and Political Power

  • Thu — September 15
  • Mon — September 26

Week 5 • Representation and Power

  • Thu — September 22
  • Mon — October 6


The draft version of the What is Popular Culture? is due today on Google Classroom.


Week 6 • Media Representation and Social Reality

  • Thu — September 29
  • Mon — October 17

Watch Episode 3 on John Berger’s Ways of Seeing (1972) for an illustration of the concepts discussed by Berger in this chapter.


Week 7 • Midterm Exam

  • Thu — October 13
  • Mon — October 24

We will take the midterm exam in class today.

Week 8 • Media, Industry, and Economy

  • Thu — October 20
  • Mon — October 31

The final version of What is Popular Culture? is due today on Google Classroom.


Week 9 • Digital Media, Industry, and Economy

  • Thu — October 27
  • Mon — November 7
Recommended Screening
  • Watch Downloaded (Alex Winter, 2013) for a primer on Napster and how the music industry collided with emerging digital technologies.

Week 10 • Media Audiences

  • Thu — November 3
  • Mon — November 14

The draft version of Media and Culture Industries is due today on Google Classroom.


Week 11 • Consumers and Producers

  • Thu — November 10
  • Mon — November 21



Week 12 • Media and Citizenship

  • Thu — November 17
  • Mon — November 28

Week 13 • Cultural Citizenship

  • Thu — December 1
  • Mon — December 5

The final version of Media and Culture Industries is due today on Google Classroom.


Week 14 • Citizenship and the Politic

  • Thu — December 8
  • Mon — December 12

Finals Week • Final Exam

  • Thu — December 15, 11:59 PM
  • Mon — December 19, 11:59 PM

The final exam will be due today on Google Classroom. No late exams will be accepted.