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Media and Culture
EMS200 Introduction to Film, Literature and Media
This course helps students become more adept readers of cultural texts. When we read a text, we engage in a practice; this practice is shaped by the text and by the conditions of its production and reception. This course provides a basic foundation for understanding how a variety of textual forms and genres work in terms of style and form. Students will read, view, and listen for plot and pleasure as well as for the intricate processes of narrative, visual, and sonic construction that create meanings and affect audiences. This course asks students to think about how texts are made and to think about what practices we use to critically read cultural texts.
EMS201 Introduction to Cultural Studies
Note: Formerly run as LIT 397 under special topics
This course considers culture as an arena of social and political struggle. This course looks at how cultural texts change meaning and significance as they become increasingly “popular.” Is what we consider “popular” completely evacuated of substantive meaning? Is it a matter of generational and disciplinary differences? If we are considering subcultural formations, do you have to be “in” the culture to be able to “read” the texts produced by that culture? What does it mean to read from outside? This class gives students a vocabulary to enter debates about the meanings of cultural texts.
MC200 Introduction to Media Theory
Media impact our lives on a daily basis, often in ways we don’t think about. Whether we are concerned with content — television shows, films, recorded music, news, advertisements, video games; with who produces it — professionals or consumers; with how we use it — for entertainment, for surveillance, to gather and distribute information; or even with the means with which media content reaches us — traditional broadcast, the Internet or mobile devices — the range of questions we can ask about media are vast. This course looks at the ways we can make sense of media through theory — its production, distribution, audiences, effects, uses, and meanings — in order to help students become both more media literate as well as become sophisticated analysts and producers of media.
MC220 Introduction to Media Production
Serving as a foundation to media practice, this course offers students a broad introduction to media production through hands-on exercises involving digital photography, video, and audio production, as well as graphic and sound design. Students will have the opportunity to explore various media formats and methods of distribution through the course's emphasis on the fundamentals of visual language and the creative process. The overarching framework for a study of media is provided in the course: analysis and synthesis are emphasized as projects evolve throughout the process of conceptualization, visualization, production, and reception.
MC222 Digital Photography
Photography has permeated our world within the last century. Billboards and advertising, personal snapshots, and the limitless Web - seeing the world photographically and learning to interpret these images is a contemporary imperative. Within the last decade, digitally-based imaging has taken center stage in photography. This course is focused on communicating effectively and visually through digital imagery. Students examine three important facets of visual communication in the rapidly expanding digital world: the art of photography, image manipulation, and finally, applications for these images. Students will shoot and edit their own digital photographs using their own cameras, provide written responses to topic questions, and can create a Web-based portfolio of their work.
MC224 Video Production
This course highlights the creative process and serves as a foundation for students to learn the technical and artistic aspects of digital video production. The fundamentals of screenwriting, visual conceptualization, cameras, lighting techniques, sound recording, and nonlinear editing are covered.
MC250 Principles of Globalization and the Media I
This course looks at international media industries, products and audiences to provide an introduction to a multinational and multiethnic culture. In addition to providing a strong general grasp of how international media are structured, the course focuses on how cultural and media products impact democracy internationally. Students consider the elements, interaction, and impact of media culture and mass communication in national and international arenas, with special attention to questions of ideology, political economy and global democracy.
MC260 The Television Industry
Radio and television broadcasting are major parts of the U.S. economy, national identity, and contemporary culture, yet their pervasiveness is rarely matched by critical scrutiny of how media become meaningful to audiences and to American society. Drawing on an integrated approach where the textual, industrial, policy, social, and audience dimensions of broadcasting are considered, this course guides students through a survey of American broadcasting style, regulation, and content. Readings, screenings, and class discussions address the roles that American radio and television have played in constructing dominant and marginalized cultures. By examining the intersection of art and commerce in American radio and television, students analyze the ways that broadcasting content has evolved and how media industries have responded to social and regulatory change.
MC300 Selected Topics in Media Studies
Note: Allows repetition for credit.
Examines a different film, television and new media theme or themes each semester. Recent topics include: Imagining the Culture Industries; Storytelling & the Studio System; Theory of Gaming & New Media, and Media & Democracy.
MC320 Selected Topics in Advanced Production
Develops the basic techniques covered in Introduction to Video Production, concentrating on more conceptual and advanced approaches to image and sound creation. Emphasizes specialization in a particular area of professional production. Allows repetition for credit.
MC321 Audio Production and Sound Design
Effective sound design can greatly expand visual elements in all forms of media. Digital audio technologies have enhanced traditional media, such as film and television, and continue to develop in new forms, such as interactive cinema environments and mobile technologies. Yet, sound design is no longer reliant on the production of a definitive image but can produce what is known as synesthesia – in this case, aural stimulation producing involuntary cognitive abilities to create visuals. In the realm of new media, the relationship between sound and image has intensified in that equal weight is given to the approach and creation of the sound design to its visual representations. The fundamentals of microphones, digital recording techniques, sound effects, and post‐production audio mixing will be covered through hands‐on demonstrations and individual and collaborative audio projects.
MC322 Documentary Production
This course will teach the basic skills of documentary production, including hand-held camera techniques, interviewing methods, writing narration and historical research. In addition the course presents important issues in contemporary documentary such as copyright, grassroots distribution strategies and online exhibition. The course will include a brief history of the documentary and we will view a range of documentary genres with different stylistic and narrative approaches. Students will make their own 7-10 minute video documentary for exhibition at the end of the semester.
MC323 Animation Production and Motion Design
This course provides a focused study in design and visual effects for timebased media narratives, specifically in the areas of video and animation. Examples of time-based media approaches to be explored include animation, interactive comics, narrative film and video, videogames, and some forms of video art.
MC340 Producing Media: Industry Perspectives
How does an idea become a movie, television show, web series or any other finished media project? Before the cameras roll and the director yells "action!", the Producer must fill in all the practical blanks - including honing the idea, budgeting, acquiring funds, developing the creative team, making distribution deals and more - that will bring the project to life. This class will examine the role of The Producer in our current merging media landscape. Once students have a grasp of what a Producer is, they will become Producers themselves. Working in small teams, students will become Producers on actual Bentley media productions: creating schedules and budgets, acquiring key crew members, coordinating auditions and casting, securing locations, and developing a marketing and exhibition strategy. Over the course of the semester, guest professionals from Boston's media community will speak to the class and there will be a trip to a local production facility.
MC341 Creative Industries
We consume media every day, but we rarely think about the people and institutions responsible for the look and sound of what we see and hear. In its focus on the narratives through which the production cultures in different creative industries describe themselves, this course addresses not only what it means to be a director, writer, cinematographer, music supervisor, composer, and/or web/game/graphic/costume designer, but also how those definitions frame creative work as well as the relationship of production cultures to fans, consumers, and American and global cultures. In addition to analyzing how film, television, music, gaming, and new media firms construct corporate cultures via narrative and rhetorical strategies, the course considers how creative industries establish business models governing content production and distribution.
MC342 Media Industry Convergence
This course considers the changes to the structure and scope of Hollywood studio and TV network operations, especially in response to the emergence of new technologies, cross-media conglomerates, alternate content delivery systems (e.g., DVD, iPods, Hulu), and transnational patterns of circulation. Grounding its analysis of the millennial media industries in two case studies of midcentury studio systems, the course provides historical foundations for its examination of convergence culture'the technological, industrial, cultural and social changes in the way media circulates in and between cultures'and the impact of this intersection of media practices on how media industries pursue national and global audiences. Students learn both to analyze particular forms of visual communication and to understand the limitations of that communication given studio, network, and corporate practices and priorities as well as cultural, social, and technological constraints.
MC345 The Music Industry
This course examines changes in the structure of the music industry and the evolution of popular music forms and genres. Industrial topics include the rise and fall of various playback technologies, cultural anxieties surrounding genres such as jazz and rap, and intellectual property. This course provides an introduction to the organization and structure of the music industry through an examination of the activities and strategies of labels, publishers, performance rights organizations, startups, and subscription services. Students learn about how globalization and new technologies challenge production and distribution norms. Through course readings and listening sessions, students are introduced to debates about commerce and creativity in rock, pop, indie rock, hip hop, electronica, world, and remix music.
MC350 The Video Game Industry
This course focuses on the emergence of PC/console gaming as a medium of communication, an industrial sector, and a cultural arena. Class readings address game design and development strategies and processes, relationships between game publishers and developers, and controversies over authorship/ownership and compensation in the gaming industry. Class discussions examine the emergence of particular game genres, games in learning and media literacy, the evolution of gaming firms, and the emergence of games as a medium in which designers, marketers, and players construct and contest gender, race and sexual norms. Writing projects in the course include textual analysis, summarizing and critiquing academic and trade sources, evaluating video game criticism, and a final research paper that examines connections between game design/development, play, and cultural issues in gaming.
MC420 Capstone Project in Media and Culture
Prerequisite(s): Senior standing and approval of department chair.
Undertaken in the last year of coursework in Media and Culture, the final project requires students to write a media analysis or produce an original media text (for example, a video or website). If a student chooses to produce a creative work, he or she must also write an essay explaining how the project reflects his or her understanding of and engagement with key issues and categories of the study of Media and Culture.
MC421 Internship in Media and Culture
Prerequisite(s): Junior- or senior-level standing.
Corequisite(s): Internship coordinator's permission.
Introduces the student to some aspect of the media industry; emphasizes the particular operations of a media company by assigning a student to a professional in the field under whose supervision the intern undertakes tasks and participates in analyzing the practical applications of media theories. The intern's progress is monitored and evaluated jointly by the field supervisor and the faculty coordinator during the semester internship.