Soc. 243, (# 15260), Spring 2016, Wednesday, 4:05 - 7:05 pm, Room 100 Sociology, 31 So. Prospect St.
This course is about the mass media’s role in society. It is scholarly; we will mostly read original scholarly research. As a senior seminar, this course is intended to teach students something about serious scholarship, and about how to think intelligently about the media: what media scholarship is, what questions it asks, how it tries to answer them, how to make sense of it in general.The mass media is controversial and complex; there are no certain or easy answers about it. So this course does more to teach you how to think intelligently about the media than it provides you with one or another viewpoint on it.
Three books have been ordered for the course through UVM’s bookstore:
- Todd Gitlin, The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left (Univ. of California Press, 1980/2003 with a New Preface)
- danah boyd, It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (Yale University Press, 2014).
- Natasha Dow Schüll. Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas (Princeton University Press, 2014).
Ebook (e.g., Kindle) versions of these books, if available, are acceptable, as long as you bring a device for reading the book to class when the book is under discussion. Additional required readings can be accessed via the schedule of assignments.
Assignments: class participation (including demonstrating that you’ve done assigned readings), is required and counts for 15% of your grade. You will also present an author overview to the class (15%), write a semiotic analysis (10%), and write a research paper with multiple components (60%). There are likely to be other short assignments during the semester as well. I am usually happy to be flexible with deadlines if you notify me one week in advance; if you notify me later than that, I won't be. All assignments must be completed to pass the course.