This course looks at fans as authors, and their fan works as transformative contributions to media culture — work that is creative, meaningful, and community building. Fans are no longer the psychologically fraught “fanatic” obsessing about the object(s) of their devotion, but creative producers of media content that critique, expand, and even replace the content which inspires them. When this happens, fans become authors, and their works become transformative, creative contributions of their fandom community, and the larger culture. This class is devoted to understanding the relationships between fans, their media texts, and the creative works they produced.
We will examine the conceptualizations of fans within larger culture and within fandom subculture. We will analyze fan-created art, including cosplay, fan fiction, podcasting, fan art, and fan videos. Each week students will read a combination of theoretical work on fan studies and a complimentary fan produced transformative work.
History of Motion Pictures (PDF)
This course surveys a broad history and evolution of the moving pictures from the 1890s to the present. We will focus on the technological, institutional, and social progression of film in the 20th century, paying special attention to how these factors influenced the aesthetics of film. Our primary emphasis will be on the narrative fiction film; some major movements of film history will be examined accordingly.
Art of Animation (PDF)
Animation is an art form that brings fanciful imaginings to vivid realization. This survey course will introduce students to the world’s animators, including but not limited to: Windsor McKay, Lotte Reiniger, Chuck Jones, Hayao Miyazaki, and Ray Harryhausen. We will examine animation styles, techniques, and social influence; including cel, claymation, shadow, and digital animation.
Students will learn about the various international styles and production around the world, including: Japan, France, Canada, Germany, U.K. and Cuba, among others. Additionally, we’ll look at independent animation including documentary animation, avant-garde animation, and mass collaborative animation. In this class, we will look at a variety of animation techniques, the social characterizations presented in popular cartoons, and the artistic brilliance of animators from around the world.
Ethnography of Anime (PDF)
This course is an introduction to Japanese anime and manga as a cultural form to be analyzed and critiqued as we would traditional expressions of art; to better understand Japanese culture and the American subculture that has developed around it. Along with looking at anime in a cultural context, this course will focus on anime fandom in the U.S. culminating in a field study at Anime Boston, April 3rd-5th, 2015, where students will complete first hand ethnographic research (via artifacts, observation, and interviews) that will contribute towards their semester long research paper.
Foundations of Media Studies (PDF)
This course explores the evolving field of media studies. A number of key theories and ideas will be explained to help the student understand the media in theory and practice. One of these is exploring the “narrative” and its application to institutions, the media business, audiences and ideologies. We will also examine how we use media in our research and how new technologies are transforming traditional media and impacting on our use of those media. Textbook readings will be supplemented with films, the internet, You Tube, writing (response and research papers) and classroom oral presentations on the subject matter covered in the book and in class discussion. The goal is to deepen the student’s understanding of the media and how it impacts on our everyday experience.
Multimedia Storytelling (PDF)
This course explores creative and critical thinking about storytelling and narrative across a range of media platforms. After considering the ways in which media industries are continually strategizing how narrative (from news stories to film franchises) might work simultaneously via numerous mediated channels of communication, the primary focus will be on crafting student stories via audio, video, and web-based media.
This class will focus on social activism using multimedia storytelling. Each student will select a movement, topic, or cause that they either feel strongly about or would like to investigate further to pursue during the semester. Each assignment will focus on presenting a story, narrative, or information that relates to their selected topic. By the end of the semester each student will have a mini-portfolio of multi-media projects highlighting their cause/topic, that they can then share online with the activist community.
TV & US Culture (PDF)
“Television & US Culture” surveys the three major eras of U.S. television with attention to each era’s key programs, technology, and cultural connections to audience: broadcast television era: television in the home (1950s and 1960s), a “window on the world” and a “vast wasteland”; cable-satellite era: diversity in cable & satellite television content, the expanding boundaries of broadcast television (1970s,1980s, and 1990s); transmedia era: television in the 21st century, television converges with digital platforms; cult television.
Media Literacy (PDF)
This course offers both a cultural contextualization of mass, computer, and electronically mediated communication and the tools by which students can access, analyze, evaluate, use and create media forms and content. An emphasis is placed on fostering the critical analysis and interpretation skills that contribute to the development of well informed, independent thinking citizens.