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CMS 300A

Introduction to Cultural Studies

Fall 2014

Thursdays 6:30 - 9:15 pm

David Denny, John Urang


Course Description:
Cultural studies employs an interdisciplinary approach to understand the complex social, ethical and political phenomena of contemporary life and past experiences. Students will examine the effect race, class, gender, nation and ideology have on the construction of meaning and identity in the contemporary global setting.


CMS 305E
New Media and Digital Culture
Fall 2014
Online 9/29 - 12/14
John Urang

Computers have transformed our interactions with each other and the world all around us. At time conspicuously, at times invisibly, digital technology influences how we work and relax, wage war and make art. The information age has reconfigured our sense of identity as individuals, as communities, and as human beings. By focusing our attention on the ways in which information technologies meditate experience, this course aims to make the role of digital culture in our lives more visible and legible.

This class will explore a variety of topics in digital culture, including the shifting boundaries between human and machine, the possibilities (and pitfalls) of collective intelligence and crowdsourcing, the aesthetic questions raised by computer-mediated art and music, the societal effects of the explosive growth of computer gaming and social media, and the changing landscapes of law, finance, and war in the information age. Course materials are intended to be accessible to students with no prior academic study of media theory or cultural studies. The readings, however, can be quite extensive (students are strongly encouraged to plan accordingly).

Required Readings: All readings will be available for download from moodle. A detailed list of the assigned texts begins on page 3 of this syllabus. There are no books to buy for this course.


CMS 324A
Minorities In The United States
Fall 2014
October 10-12 (9-5)
Masoud Kheirabadi

America is known to be a "melting pot society". In this seminar we will examine this concept and study the US minorities in a socio-cultural context. We will study the perceptive, experience, and positions of minority nationalities including those of Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, and Middle Easterners.
REQUIRED BOOKS
Richard T. Schaefer, Racial and Ethnic Groups, Pearson, 2010 (ISBN-13: 9780205683666)
R. L'Heureux Lewis-McCoy, Inequality in the Promised Land: Race, Resources, and Suburban Schooling, Stanford University Press, 2014 (ISBN-13: 978-0804792134)


CMS 354E
Environment, Culture, Food
Fall 2014
Online 9/29 - 12/14
Nancy Thompson

In this class we will explore the relationships between environment, culture and food. We will study how culture has affected our eating habits and how in turn these choices have shaped landscape and water supply. We will study the problem of hunger throughout the world as well as the role that big food industry interests play in determining formal governmental food choice recommendations.

We will study the history of changing culture (for example more women participating in the workforce along with the fact that more people are working more hours) and how this has affected the choices of how and what we eat, and how in turn these food choices have affected economy, landscape, and water supply. Naturally we will consider how the new culinary landscape is affecting health (and weight). We will look at agricultural practices including animal husbandry, aquaculture and pesticide use and consider their historical impact on the environment as well as on remaining wilderness areas and wildlife. We will also look at the impact that big food industry interests have in determining the form and content of the USDA food pyramid. Finally we will consider why so many people are overfed to the point of suffering health problems caused by obesity while so many others suffer from malnutrition and an absence of safe drinking water.

Texts:

Food in History by Reay Tannahill, Three Rivers, 0517884046

Enough:Why the World's Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty by Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman, Public Affairs, 1586485113


CMS 373E
Film Studies: The Horror Film
Fall 2014
Online 9/29 - 12/14
Reagan Ross

This course will examine the horror genre in film. In particular, we will examine the notion of the "return of the repressed" and Julia Kristeva's theory of "abjection," two theories that get at what Robin Wood calls the horror genre's "revolutionary" potential. More specifically, we will explore some of the dominant issues and currents that run through its history, such as gender, class, and identity issues, sexual anxiety currents, and the subversive potential of horror to interrogate and disrupt cultural and ideological norms. CMS 373 is a topical course that examines various genres in film, such as The Horror Film, The Documentary, The Western, The French New Wave, Film Noir, and more.

Required Texts:
Course Packet.


HST 325A
HISTORY OF FILM
Fall 2014
Tuesdays ~ 3:15 - 6:00 pm
Bob Sitton

This course concentrates on nine phases in the history of film between 1898 and 1970: cinema pre-history, D.W. Griffith and the development of film technique, Soviet montage theory, early documentary, German Expressionism, French Realism, Italian Neo-realism, film noir, and the French New Wave. By studying and writing about these milestones of film history, students may become more fully conversant with the nature and aesthetics of film today.

The history of film is an ongoing, international dialogue among filmmakers communicating through the medium of moving images. At its core is the question, "What is film?" and in the answers lie a variety of styles and approaches to a developing art form, one which has been called the "liveliest". This course is an exploration of those styles and approaches. By studying and writing about the milestones of film history, we may become more fully conversant with the nature and aesthetics of film today.

The overall goal of this course is to hone one's skills as an observer and writer about films, to understand films in terms of their historical and aesthetic contexts, and to develop an appreciation of the various ways motion pictures can be analyzed and understood. This is done through attentive viewing, careful note taking, participation in class discussions, and clear and defined writing distilling ideas. The course involves listening, speaking, viewing, and writing skills.

Texts

(Required)
David A. Cook, A History of Narrative Film (1996), the most comprehensive review of the history of film in print.

(Recommended)
Ephraim Katz, The Film Encyclopedia (1998), an indispensable research tool.

 


 

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