College of Communication > Academics > Undergraduate Majors > Media and Cinema Studies (BA) > Spring 2018 Class Detail

Spring 2018 Class Detail

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CMN 102: Introduction to Mass Communication

This course offers students a broad overview of the mass media (print, film, video, recorded music, radio, television and the internet) with a particular focus on how these media impact our everyday lives. Students will develop critical frameworks for understanding how power operates across the media spheres of production, circulation, representation and reception. Attention is placed on how the social categories of race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age and nationality inform each of these media spheres. The course also considers how recent developments in digital technologies, media convergence and globalization have transformed our media culture.

​LOOP ​MW ​11:50-1:20 ​Bruce Evensen
​LOOP ​MW ​10:10-11:40 ​Robin Hoecker
​LOOP ​TU/Th ​10:10-11:40 ​Nathanael Bassett
​LPC ​MW ​9:40-11:10 ​Jason Sperb
​LPC ​MW ​2:40-4:10 ​Jason Sperb
​LPC ​TU/Th ​11:20-12:50 ​Scott Vyverman
​LPC ​TU/Th ​1:00-2:30 ​Peter Forster
​ONLINE ​Carolyn Bronstein

MCS 209: History of Cinema III, 1975 - present

This final course in the film history sequence is designed to introduce students to a sense of modern film history and the multiple permutations of cinema around the modern film history and the multiple permutations of cinema around the globe. It presents film history from a global perspective, concentrating primarily on the development of new national and transnational cinemas. The course continues to chart the development of the American studios since the mid-1970s while examining the effects of media consolidation and convergence. Moreover, the course seeks to examine how global cinemas have reacted to and dealt with the formal influence and economic domination of Hollywood filmmaking on international audiences. Class lectures, screenings, and discussions will consider how cinema has changed from a primarily national phenomenon to a transnational form of communication in the 21st century.
​LOOP ​MW ​1:30-3:00 ​Matthew Hauske
​LPC ​TU/TH ​11:20-12:50 ​Stephen Babish

MCS 260: Transmedia Storytelling: Building a Narrative World

Transmedia storytelling, or the distribution of narrative content across multiple technologies and media, is rapidly becoming a common trend in contemporary media making. Whether it's television series sharing content with video games, films? narratives continued (or begun) in graphic novels, or media systems in which no one medium takes precedence in telling the story, transmediation can take many forms. This class will introduce the concept of transmedia from a media studies viewpoint, will examine transmedia's history, contemporary usage, and creation, and will have students work together to construct a transmediated narrative. This course counts for the Arts and Literature Learning Domain.
​LOOP (Hybrid) ​TU ​1:30-30:00 ​Paul Booth

MCS 271: Media and Cultural Studies

The central assumption of this course is that popular culture matters. We will be analyzing films, television shows, music videos, and other media products that very often are treated as if they are trivial and inconsequential at best. But these objects matter because people watch them, find meaning in them, and make meaning from them. Over the course of the quarter we will examine the numerous ways in which meaning can be made from media texts and the various lenses through which we can approach the supposedly disposable objects of popular culture.

LOOP​ ​TU/TH 10:10-11:40​ Dan Bashara​
​LPC ​MW ​11:20-12:50 Dan Bashara
​LPC ​MW ​1:00-2:300 Dan Bashara

MCS 273: Storytelling and Style in Cinema

​Course covers basic concepts and terminology of film and video as forms of art and mass culture. This course covers the aesthetic elements that constitute film and video texts: plot structures, sets, costumes and makeup, acting, lighting, cinematography, editing, and sound. By performing extensive textual analyses, students learn how the interaction of these elements produces meaning. Students also gain basics of how these concepts are practiced in film production. After mastering the aesthetic concepts, students also examine their use in three different modes of film: fiction, documentary, and the avant-garde. (Formerly Film/Video Analysis.)
LOOP​ ​MW ​11:50-1:20 ​Benjamin Aspray
​LPC ​TU/TH ​1:00-2:30 ​Stephen Babish
​ONLINE ​Blair Davis

MCS 342: History of Television and Radio

A history of radio, television, and cable that engages with elements such as programming, economics, industrial structures, audiences, government and industry policies, and social effects. The course includes viewing, analysis, and criticism of a wide variety of American programming.
​LOOP ​MW ​10:10-11:40 ​Alex Thimons
​LOOP ​TU/TH ​1:30-3:00 ​Molly Schneider
​LPC ​MW ​1:00-2:30 ​Andrew Owens
​LPC ​MW ​2:30-4:10 ​Alex Thimons
​LPC ​TH/TH ​9:40-11:10 ​Molly Schneider
​ONLINE ​Kelly Kessler

MCS 343: Media Ethics

Entertainment and social media dominate popular culture today in a way that begins to completely define American culture. In what ways do entertainment media impact society? As creators of media, what special responsibilities do we have? And as creators of entertainment media how can we use these ethical theories in our daily practice? This course will examine the underlying ethical theories used when we try to arrive at ethical judgments about right and wrong. This course will concentrate on analyzing the impact of digital entertainment on an individual and society. The issue of balancing individual creativity vs. cultural impact, particularly on children, will be addressed. The course will culminate with the formulation of elements of an ethical code of conduct for every electronic (social) media, television professional and movie creator.

LOOP​ MW​ ​1:30-3:00 Peter Forster​
​LPC ​MW ​9:40-11:10 ​Annie Sullivan
​LPC ​TU/TH ​2:40-4:10 Peter Forster

MCS 344: The Sexual Revolution: Hollywood in the 1960s

The late 1960s are often described as a time of "Sexual Revolution" in America, with loosening standards and attitudes about sex and sexual practices. But was this period as "liberated" as it has appeared to be? Who was liberated by these new attitudes, and from what? How do attitudes about sexuality in the 1960s compare to our attitudes now? This course uses the study of American cultural history to examine perspectives of sexuality in the 1960s, and it focuses upon the films that Hollywood produced to represent this "new" sexuality. In the process, the course examines shifting definitions of gender and sexuality with which American culture was contending during this revolutionary time.

​TU 6:00-9:30​ ​Michael DeAngelis

​MCS 349: Topics in Film Studies: Brand Recognition: Authorship in Cinema

Auteur Theory represents one of the longest running debates in film studies. With the large numbers of people involved in making a movie, should one person really be credited as the “author” of the film? Traditionally, the director has been deemed the auteur, but cases have also been made for the screenwriter, the producer, and even the studio system itself. Is authorship a question of how much control a particular individual has over the actual making a movie, or is it better thought of as a way critically to group specific films which share demonstrable thematic, stylistic, and narrative patterns? While the auteur theory originally gained prominence in postwar France as a way to both analyze and validate popular American movies, the idea has increasingly gained traction in Hollywood itself, where powerful individuals have a great deal of power over which films they make and how they make them. And increasingly, authorship has become another form of branding which allows studios to sell movies to the public. This course will provide an overview of some of the major debates over the years regarding whether one person should, or should not, be considered the author of a movie. It will also be a historical survey of some of the major filmmakers past and present—everyone from Alfred Hitchcock to Christopher Nolan, from Billy Wilder to Kathryn Bigelow, from Spike Lee to Paul Thomas Anderson. The grade will be based on short writing assignments, a research essay, discussion leader roles, and participation. The textbook will be Barry Keith Grant’s anthology, Auteurs and Authorship.

5:45-9:00​ ​Jason Sperb

​MCS 350:  Topics in Global Cinema: Mexican Cinema from the Golden Age to Guillermo del Toro

Mexican cinema has historically been one of the most important in the Spanish-speaking world. While Hollywood created the musical, Mexican audiences were watching comedias rancheras. This course will be a historical and critical survey of Mexican cinema, from the internationally acclaimed films of the Golden Age, to the global success of filmmakers like Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro G. Iñárritu. We will study the industrial and aesthetic connections between Hollywood and the Mexican film industry, as much as how this national cinema has fared within the Latin American region.

​LPC MW​ 11:20-12:50​ ​Luisela Alvaray

MCS 351: Topics in Television Studies: Television and American Politics: 1968/2018

This class explores the complex relationships among the media, activism, electoral politics, and civic life, considering contemporary issues in the context of the tumultuous events of 1968. In the United States (to say nothing of other countries), 1968 was marked by unprecedented cultural upheaval, due to political assassinations, student movements, racial uprisings, the Tet Offensive and the domestic responses it provoked, and the events surrounding the Democratic National Convention. Television helped to shape these events, contributing to shifts in Americans’ understanding of their national identity, and becoming an essential tool in conflicts between competing ideologies. In 2018, intergenerational conflicts, activist movements, and political polarization all reflect 1968's continued resonance. This class will view contemporary media culture through the lens of these important events of fifty years ago, tracing continuities from the past to the present, while exploring ways in which industrial and technological changes have altered the way individuals interact with the media, politicians, and civic institutions.

LPC​ MW​ 1:00-2:30​ ​Alex Thimons

​MCS 352: Topics in New Media: Entrepreneurship in the Digital Economy

In this course, students analyze the rise of entrepreneurship as a “dream job” in the digital economy. We begin by considering what work means, both practically and philosophically, and how it became so central to both American and digital culture. Students next explore the intersection of digital entrepreneurship with identity and socio-economic position, analyzing the lives and media portrayals of notable entrepreneurs, from Steve Jobs to Brownie Wise to Dr. Dre. Finally, we consider the politics and possibilities of digital platforms for entrepreneurship, such as Patreon, Kickstarter, eBay, and Etsy. Throughout the course, students will connect what they’re studying to their own lives by considering themselves as potential entrepreneurs, playing through simulations, and visiting various sites, organizations, and individuals connected to digital entrepreneurship in Chicago.

​LOOP TU/TH​ 11:50-1:20​ Samantha Close​

​MCS 358: Topics in Comics Studies: Comics and Cinema

This course examines the history of how comic books and strips have been adapted to film, from early 1900s newspaper strips, through numerous serials and feature films from the 1930s and 40s, through the sporadic efforts of the 1960s ,70s and 80s, into the modern era of franchises and transmedia spin-offs which currently sees numerous adaptations per year. We will also examine how movies themselves were adapted into comics throughout the 20th century, and how movie stars became comic book heroes. Students will analyze the differences in how each medium constructs its imagery and consider whether specific adaptive strategies are beneficial and/or detrimental in bringing comics to the screen, and bringing movies to the comics page.

ONLINE​ Blair Davis​

​MCS 362: Color TV: Blackness in U.S. Television

Throughout the history of US television African American performers have been part of America's small screen entertainment. From the earliest days of Amos and Andy to 1970s Black sitcoms such as Good Times and That's My Mama and the 80s runaway hit The Cosby Show to contemporary network hits, black lives, stories, and performances have helped to paint an often skewed picture of America. This class will explore the position of Blackness and African American performers, creators, and executives throughout the history of American television.

​LOOP MW​ ​11:50-1:20 Kelly Kessler​

​MCS 383: Talking about Film: Theory and Criticism

This course is to familiarize students with a wide range of disciplines (film, art history, philosophy, psychology, etc.) and how these ideas both inflected the development of classical film theories as well as the evolution of cinema. Moreover, the scope of the course seeks to examine the overall process whereby theoretical discourse develops historically.

LOOP​ ​MW ​3:10-4:40 ​Benjamin Aspray

​MCS 385: Semiotics, Storytelling, and Film Form

This course will provide an in-depth exploration of how filmmakers create various types of meaning through film form and style. Methods of analysis will include semiotics (the analysis of signs and symbols that produce meaning), genre studies, and celebrity studies. We will pay specific attention to how meaning emerges from in-vogue or director-specific stylistic choices (for example, Spike Lee's dolly shot, bullet time post-Matrix, and the popularity of still photography in film of the late 1960s) and new technologies that emerge at various times (for example, special effects that allow for the production of different images, and advances in control over layered sound that change aural impact).

​LOOP MW​ 10:10-11:40​ Matthew Hauske​