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, about how to think intelligently about the media: what 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:
1) Susan Douglas, Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media, Three Rivers Press (March 28, 1995); ISBN-10: 0812925300; ISBN-13: 978-0812925302
2) Tim Wu, The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, (Borzoi Books) [Hardcover], Knopf (November 2, 2010), ISBN-10: 0307269930; ISBN-13: 978-0307269935
3) Zizi Papacharissi (Editor), A Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites [Paperback], Routledge (August 1, 2010) ISBN-10: 0415801818; ISBN-13: 978-0415801812
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 (~20%), and write a research paper with multiple components (~65%). 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.