Sign up for office hours! Schedule a twenty-minute appointment to talk with me about your "Media and Culture Industries" writing assignment.

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

Monday, 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
Kiely Hall, Room 321
Section: MEDST 201W–01 (43827)

Monday, 1:40 – 4:30 PM
King Hall, Room 105
Section: MEDST 201W–02 (43828)

Instructor

Juan Monroy

Connect

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

Textbooks

The following textbook is available through Amazon, Textbookx, 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 G Suite 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.

Blackboard

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

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.

G Suite for Education

This course will use G Suite for Education using your QC CAMS account. Below are instructions for how to activate your QC G Suite for Education account and how to join Google Classroom.

About Google accounts

You can have more than one Google account. If you use Gmail, you already have a Google Account: it is likely a personal Google account. Google offers organizations, such as businesses and educational institutions, to establish accounts for its users. Since you’re enrolled at Queens College, you have access to a QC G Suite for Education account.

You cannot access QC G Suite for Education using your personal Gmail or another G Suite 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 G Suite for Education account versus your personal G Suite.

Activate Your QC G Suite for Education account

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

  1. Go to https://accounts.google.com..
  2. Enter your complete Queens College username (e.g., jmonroy100@qc.cuny.edu). Leave the password field blank.
  3. From the QC authentication page, sign in with your QC CAMS account. Use your QC CAMS username (e.g. jmonroy100) and your QC CAMS password. (If you’re having trouble contact the QC CAMS Help Desk at 718–997–4444.)
  4. Accept the terms of service.

Access your QC G Suite for Education account at https://google.com/a/qc.cuny.edu.

Note: Your Google G Suite for Education username is [Your QC CAMS username]@qc.cuny.edu, for example, jmonroy100@qc.cuny.edu.

Join 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 properly.

To add the class:

  1. Go to Google Classroom.
  2. Sign in using your QC CAMS login.
  3. Near the top-left of the browser, 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).

Download the Google Classroom mobile app for iOS or Android.

Use the QC G Suite Apps

We will be using some QC G Suite applications in this class.

  • 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.
  • 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 G Suite account, not your personal Google account. Download the Google Docs mobile apps for iOS or Android.
  • Google Hangouts is a video-based, communication platform used for remote office hours. Download the Google Hangouts mobile apps for iOS or Android.

Requirements

Attendance and Participation

Please be present in each class.

In each class, we will be reviewing the readings, which can be challenging to understand without some collective guidance, and we will be working on drafting your writing assignments. Additionally, we will critiquing and commenting on each other’s works in class, requiring attendance at each class.

Readings

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

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

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.

Policies

Professionalism

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 quizzes and take-home final exams will not be accepted. In-class exams must be taken at the date and time listed below unless other we make other arrangements. All other work will be penalized as follows.

Fall and Spring Courses
After a 24-hour grace period, 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.
Summer and Winter Courses
After a one-hour grace period, late work will be penalized by a 10% reduction up to 24 hours after the deadline. Late work will not be accepted after 24 hours.

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.

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.

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.

Email

Do not use the commenting system in Google Classroom to communicate with me.

Always use your QC email account (student@qmail.cuny.edu). This is the only way I can communicate with you, other than face-to-face meetings or via video conferencing.

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.

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.

Assignments

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, that is culture that is meaningful for the people that use it and engage with it.

  1. Walter Benjamin, “Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”
  2. Lev Manovich, “The Practice of Everyday (Media) Life: From Mass Consumption to Mass Cultural Production”
  3. Susan Douglas, “The Turn Within: The Irony of Technology in a Globalized World”
  4. Lynn Spigel, “The Domestic Economy of Postwar Television”

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. Mark Andrejevic, “The Work of Being Watched: Interactive Media and the Exploitation of Self-Disclosure.”
  4. Lawrence Grossberg, “The Affective Sensibility of Fandom.”
  5. Mizuko Ito, “Japanese Media Mixes and Amateur Cultural Exchange.”

Assignment Guidelines

  • Guidelines on Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Citing Sources
  • Draft due November 20:
    • one paragraph summary of how Herbert Schiller update and/or reinforce the argument made by Adorno and Horkheimer nearly four decades earlier.
    • one paragraph summary of how the essay you selected agrees or disagrees with Schiller’s argument about media and culture industries.
    • submit on Google Classroom
  • Final due December 4:
    • about 1250 words in length
    • submit on Google Classroom
  • Weight: 30%

Exams

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.

This is an open-book exam: you may use your copy of The Media Studies Reader for the exam, but no other material is permitted.

  • October 23, in class
  • 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.

  • Exam Questions assigned on December 11
  • Exam due December 18, 6:00 PM on Google Classroom
  • No late exams will be accepted.
  • Weight: 30%

Course Schedule

August 28 • Welcome

Our class for today is cancelled. Please complete the tasks listed below (“To-Do Today”) in preparation for our next meeting.

To-Do Today
  1. Buy the textbooks:
  2. Activate your QC G Suite account.
  3. Join our course on Google Classroom
    1. Go to Google Classroom
    2. Click on the “+” to join the course
    3. Enter the code: ‘erd2sfv’
  4. Download the Google Classroom app for your mobile device and sign in using your QC G Suite account.
  5. Review Goals for Student Writing published by Writing at Queens College.
  6. Complete the Welcome Survey

September 11 • Mass Culture, Popular Culture

Reading
Review

September 18 • Technology and Popular Culture

Readings
Screening

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

Review

September 25 • Popular Culture and Political Power

Readings
  • Susan Douglas, “The Turn Within: The Irony of Technology in a Globalized World.”
  • Lynn Spigel, “The Domestic Economy of Television Viewing in Postwar America.”
Review

October 2 • Representation and Power

Assignment

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

Readings
  • Stuart Hall, “The Work of Representation.”
Review

October 16 • Media Representation and Social Reality

Readings
  • John Berger, “Ways of Seeing.”
Screening

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

Review

October 23 • Midterm Exam

We will take the midterm exam in class today.

October 30 • Media, Industry, and Economy

Assignment

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

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

November 6 • Digital Media, Industry, and Economy

Readings
  • Tom McCourt and Patrick Burkart, "When Creators, Corporations and Consumers Collide: Napster and the Development of Online Music Distribution.”
In-Class Screening
  • Downloaded (Alex Winter, 2013)
Review

November 13 • Media Audiences

Assignment

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

Readings
  • Mark Andrejevic, “The Work of Being Watched: Interactive Media and the Exploitation of Self-Disclosure.”
In-Class Screening
  • We Live in Public (Ondi Timoner, 2010)
Review

November 20 • Consumers and Producers

Readings
  • Lawrence Grossberg, “The Affective Sensibility of Fandom.”
  • Mizuko Ito, “Japanese Media Mixes and Amateur Cultural Exchange.”
In-Class Screening
  • Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Fans of My Little Pony (Laurent Malaquais, 2013)
Review

November 27 • Media and Citizenship

Readings
  • Peter Dahlgren, “Mediating Democracy.”
Review

December 4 • Cultural Citizenship

Assignment

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

Readings
  • Lauren Berlant, “The Theory of Infantile Citizenship.”
In-Class Screening
  • The Simpsons, “Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington,” September 26, 1991.
Review

December 11 • Citizenship and the Politic

Readings
  • Laurie Ouellette and James Hay, “Makeover Television, Governmentality and the Good Citizen.”
  • Sasha Torres, “Television and Race,” in Janet Wasko, ed. A Companion to Television, Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2005.
In-Class Screening
  • Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, “The Harris Family,” April 11, 2004.
Review

December 18 • Final Exam

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