Course Description

This course will survey some fundamental theories about mass media and culture. We will methodically summarize, evaluate, and compare these writings and critical approaches. The writings we will cover criticize media as popular culture, a commercial industry, and a territory for cultural citizenship.

Remote Online Course

This course will be conducted remotely.

Most learning activities will be asynchronous, meaning that you will complete these on your own time during the assigned week.

In addition, there will be a number of synchronous activities, including a weekly live discussion session on Google Meet. Office hours, including the mandatory consultations about the essays, will also be synchronously held on Google Meet.

Goals

This Media Criticism course is best regarded as a criticism of media criticism, or media criticism criticism, if you will. This in-person course will require you to read one or two essays per week before class that criticizes some aspect of mass media and culture. At each class session, we will cover the historical and scholarly context in which the essays were written and extract some key terms and concepts. In subsequent classes, we will revisit some of the essays compare them the other essays we have already read. By the end of the course, you will be familiar with the literature of media studies and will be able to understand any other essays you encounter in media studies and several other fields. Your success in this course depends less on memorizing class material and more on developing the ability to be a critical media scholar through intensive reading and argumentative writing.

Writing Intensive Course at Queens College

This course is a Writing Intensive (W) course and fulfills one Writing Intensive requirement. W classes include a significant portion of time devoted to writing instruction. This may include things such as revision workshops, discussions of rhetorical strategies, or reflective writing about writing assignments.

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

Instructor

Juan Monroy

Office Hours:

Office Hours will be held remotely on Google Meet.

Log into a Google account, preferably not your QC Google Account, and sign up for an appointment at https://juanmonroy.com/qcofficehours

Appointments are available at the following times:

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays: 1:30 - 2:30 PM

Use the Google Meet link in the email to join the meeting.

Writing Center

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

The Writing Center at Queens College offers individual tutoring for your writing assignments. Make an appointment with a Writing Consultant to get help with any writing assignments.

Many students in the past have attested that visiting the Writing Center to get help with writing assignments was the most effective thing they did at Queens College.

Counseling Services at Queens College

Counseling Services are available to any Queens College student. They assist students with personal concerns that can affect their enjoyment of and success in college. Services are free and confidential. All sessions take place on Zoom or by telephone, depending on student preference.

To make an appointment, students should call 718–997–5420 and leave a message with their phone number and CUNY ID. You can also e-mail counselingservices@qc.cuny.edu to set up an appointment.

https://www.qc.cuny.edu/studentlife/services/counseling/counseling/Pages/default.aspx

Assignments

Readings

Assigned readings are listed in the course schedule below and available from the following sources:

  1. Ouellette, Laurie, ed. The Media Studies Reader. New York: Routledge, 2013.
  2. Sasha Torres, “Television and Race,” in Janet Wasko, ed. A Companion to Television, Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2005.
    • Authenticate using your QC Google account to access
    • EPUB
    • PDF

Readings are also available from their original sources at one of the following: - Linked below in the course schedule. Use your QC Library card barcode number to authenticate. - On Google Classroom.

Screenings

There are a few screenings I would like you to do before our live discussion session. These are linked in the course schedule below and available on Google Classroom.

Live Discussion Section

All students must participate in the weekly discussion session. The session will be held each Tuesday, at 7:00 PM.

Join us on Google Meet, either from this link or from Google Classroom. This article describes how to Join a Video Meeting in Google Classroom for Computer, Android, and iPhone and iPad.

I recommend running Google Meet on a computer through a web browser or through the mobile apps, available for Android and iOS.

If you do not have access to broadband Internet or are concerned about data usage, you can join the session using a telephone number and a PIN.

Presentation

Each student will present on a course reading during our live discussion session. Readings will be assigned during our second session on Tuesday, September 8. Don’t miss this class.

Your presentation consists of three parts:

  1. a written report.
  2. a slideshow.
  3. A ten-minute in-class presentation during our live discussion session on Google Meet.

The first two parts are due on Google Classroom by 6:00 PM on the day before your scheduled presentation.

The third part will take place during our live discussion session. Refer to the schedule of presentations to see when you are scheduled to present.

  • Assignment Guidelines
  • What to Expect When You’re Presenting
  • Schedule of Presentation
  • All students must submit a written report and a slideshow presentation on Google Classroom.
  • If you presented in a group, each student in the group must submit a “Student Presentation” assignment in Google Classroom.
  • We will randomly draw essays in class on Tuesday, September 8. Don’t miss this class. The first student(s) to present on September 15 will receive two (2) extra-credit points to their final grade.
  • Weight: 20%

Essay 1: Mass Culture or Popular Culture?

Write a comparative essay that compares Adorno and Horkheimer’s “The Culture Industry” essay with an essay we’ve studied in class.

  • Assignment Guidelines
  • Draft and Outline due Friday, October 16, 11:59 PM, on Google Classroom
  • Mandatory individual office hours: October 19–30
  • Final Essay due Friday, November 6, 11:59 PM, on Google Classroom
  • Weight: 20%

Essay 2: Media and Culture Industries

Write a comparative essay that compares Herbert Schiller’s “The Corporation and the Production of Culture” essay with an essay we’ve studied in class.

  • Assignment Guidelines
  • Draft and Outline due Friday, November 13, 11:59 PM, on Google Classroom
  • Mandatory individual office hours: November 16–December 1
  • Final Essay due Tuesday, December 8, 6:00 PM, on Google Classroom
  • Weight: 25%

Midterm Exam

The take-home midterm exam consists of questions related to the assigned readings and the attendant discussions from the first half of the course.

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, necessary or even very helpful.

  • Available Wednesday, October 21, on Google Classroom.
  • Due Tuesday, October 27, 11:59 PM, on Google Classroom.
  • Weight: 15%

Final Exam

The take-home final exam consists of questions related to the assigned readings and the attendant discussions from the second half of the course.

This is an open-book exam: you may use your copy of The Media Studies Reader for the exam and the Sasha Torres essay, but no other material is permitted, necessary or even very helpful..

  • Available Wednesday, December 9, on Google Classroom
  • Due Tuesday, December 15, 11:59 PM, on Google Classroom
  • Weight: 20%

Course Schedule

Complete all activities by the date listed on this course schedule.

Getting Started, September 1

  1. Get the textbook: The Media Studies Reader
  2. Read the policies governing this course.
  3. Activate your QC G Suite account.
    • Students New to Queens College, Recently Transferred to QC, or Enrolled in another CUNY Campus: You must activate your email and Active Directory accounts before you can activate your G Suite for Education account. The process takes about three (3) business days so please start this process as soon as possible.
  4. Join the class on Google Classroom
  5. Review the Goals for Student Writing published by Writing at Queens College.
  6. Complete the Welcome Survey on Google Classroom.
  7. Join the Live Discussion Session, today from 7:00–8:00 PM ET, on Google Meet.

Module 1: Mass Culture and the Culture Industry, September 8

  • Read, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception, in Dialectic of Enlightenment.”
  • Read the Wikipedia page on The Culture Industry
  • Join the Live Discussion Session, today from 7:00–8:00 PM ET, on Google Meet.

Module 2: Popular Culture: Mechanical Reproduction, September 15

Presentation
  • No presentation scheduled.

Module 3: Popular Culture: Consumers and Producers, September 22

Presentations
  • Damiann Leon on Lipsitz
  • Kapli Singh on Lipsitz
  • Marcela Abanto on Manovich
  • Rory Lipsky on Manovich

Module 4: Media, Technology, and Power, October 6

Presentations
  • Ah Young Kim on Gitelman
  • Julio Rodriguez on Gitelman
  • Usman Shah on Spigel

Module 5: Television and Authority, October 13

Presentations
  • Joseph Ochoa on McCarthy

Module 6: Media, Industry, and Political Economy, October 20

  • Read Herbert Schiller, “The Corporation and the Production of Culture.”
  • Join the Live Discussion Session, today from 7:00–8:00 PM ET, on Google Meet.
Presentation
  • Adam Sakoor on Schiller
  • Saba Shah on Schiller

Midterm Exam, October 27

  • Complete the midterm exam, available on Google Classroom, by today, 11:59 PM.
  • There is no live discussion session today.

Module 7: Media and Niche Marketing, November 3

Presentations
  • Indervir Baidwan on Amaya
  • Rachel Nemani on Amaya

Module 8: Media, Technology and Control over the Consumer, November 10

Presentations
  • David Grady on Andrejevic
  • Nicholas Perez on Andrejevic
  • Vanessa Alvarez on McCourt and Burkart
  • Rosamaria Monge on McCourt and Burkart

Module 9: Media Audiences and Fan Culture, November 17

  • Read Lawrence Grossberg, “The Affective Sensibility of Fandom,” 50–65.
  • Read Mizuko Ito, “Japanese Media Mixes and Amateur Cultural Exchange.”
  • Watch Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Fans of My Little Pony (Laurent Malaquais, 2012), available on Google Classroom.
  • Join the Live Discussion Session, today from 7:00–8:00 PM ET, on Google Meet.
Presentations
  • Allyson De Las Cuevas on Grossberg
  • Laura Restrepo on Grossberg
  • Nia Lassiter on Ito
  • Clint Bahadur on Ito

Module 10: Media, Citizenship, and the Public Sphere, November 24

Presentations
  • Damian Zajac on Dahlgren
  • Catherine Goodheart on Cunningham

Module 11: Media and Cultural Citizenship, December 1

  • Read Lauren Berlant, “The Theory of Infantile Citizenship.”
  • Watch The Simpsons, “Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington,” September 26, 1991.
  • Join the Live Discussion Session, today from 7:00–8:00 PM ET, on Google Meet.
Presentation
  • Michelle Brown on Berlant
  • Luke Weiner on Berlant

Module 12: Media and Governmentality, December 8

Presentations
  • Andre Almonte on Ouellette and Hay
  • Jazmin Cardenas Ortiz on Ouellette and Hay
  • Antonio Raul Carrasquillo on Torres
  • Fatimah Sarwar on Torres

Final Exam, December 15

  • Complete the final exam, available on Google Classroom, by today, 11:59 PM.
  • There is no live discussion session today.