Friday, January 7, 2011

Megan Schmidt on Interning at the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect

Draper student Megan Schmidt recently took an internship with the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) and has written about the experience for us.

As many students and recent graduates are finding out, internships are increasingly becoming the new entry level job. This can be frustrating for those of us who end up with an internship position that doesn’t warrant too much energy. Luckily for me, I have found an internship position that is both rewarding and is preparing me for my future employment endeavors. This position is with the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) as the Coalition’s Research Intern. I would highly recommend this position to anyone interested in human rights specifically relating to the field of mass atrocity crimes.

The Responsibility to Protect is an international norm established at the United Nations 2005 World Summit which calls on governments to protect their citizens from genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. In the event that a state cannot or does not aid its people, the international community is responsible to intervene through humanitarian means and, if necessary, coercive measures if collectively authorized by the UN Security Council.

At NYU I have focused my classes on human rights and international relations, so in searching for an internship I wanted to find a placement that allowed me to continue in this area of study. I was drawn to this internship because my specific area of interest and research is in human rights and genocide studies, making ICRtoP an ideal place to learn about issues and developments in these fields. I began interning with ICRtoP in September 2010. Working with the project requires focus and dedication as the position and the subject matter are substantial and intense. My work for the organization has included theoretical research on RtoP as well as focus on ongoing conflicts and crises.

What is also great about working with ICRtoP is that I have the opportunity to attend events and meetings (Security Council, General Assembly, etc.) at the UN. This requirement of the position is most exciting as I get to witness firsthand the actions and developments happening in this international forum.

ICRtoP is a project of the World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy, which has several other projects relating to the field of human rights and the UN such as Together for a Better Peace, Reform the UN, and the Coalition for the International Criminal Court. I recommend that anyone interested in these areas visit the Institute’s website as internship positions are often available.

For more information on ICRtoP please visit the Coalition’s website at:

-Megan Schmidt

Spring 2011 Welcome Back Party and Graduation Celebration

Please join Draper faculty and staff for our spring 2011 welcome back party and graduation celebration. We will be welcoming back current students, and for fete-ing our recent graduates with food, wine, and good cheer.

Friday, January 28th
5:00 p.m.
Draper Map Room

RSVPs are appreciated; please email to let us know if you will be joining us.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

CFP: Raw Material interdisciplinary conference at Northeastern. Due 1/14

The Northeastern University English Graduate Student Association is pleased to announce our 5th annual interdisciplinary graduate student conference:


Keynote Speaker: Dr. Ann Laura Stoler, Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies at The New School For Social Research

Faculty Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth Britt, Northeastern University

March 19-20, 2011

We invite papers that explore the concept of “Raw Material” in literature, theory, drama, history, film, composition, and art. Raw Material is that which can be found, extracted, altered, worked, manipulated, manufactured, produced, and consumed. It is the subject of human labor and the element out of which “things” are made. The quest for raw material continues to drive the exploration of both real and imaginary worlds. As scholars, it leads us to the archives, marketplaces, printers’ shops, cutting-room floors, and classrooms in which “materials” undergo processes of alteration, transformation, and manipulation—materials that could be understood as the productive elements of texts, subjects and selves, bodies, empires, and nations.

While “materiality” has held a rooted place in scholarship, we are particularly interested in examining the concept of the “raw” and “raw material.” The term itself embodies the tensions inherent in projects of creative, cultural, financial, and national enterprise. Raw material is, as Marx writes, “the fish which we catch and take from their element, water, timber which we fell in the virgin forest, and ores which we extract from their veins.” It is the matter of labor and empire, and evokes both images of creation and potential, as well as processes of destruction, exploitation, and misappropriation. We invite papers that may explore the dynamics of labor processes; that may consider the significance of raw material to creative, cultural, financial, and national projects; that may examine raw material as physical, tangible, and corporeal, as well as imaginative and ephemeral; and finally that may map the discursive processes through which the raw material of human experience is shaped, produced, exchanged and deployed.

200-word abstracts may be sent to by January 14. Please include your name and university affiliation.

Spring Courses of Interest in Steinhardt's Media, Culture, and Communication Dept.

Dear Students-

Professors in Steinhardt's department of Media, Culture, and Communication have asked for the following spring course offerings to be shared with Draper students. If you are interested in enrolling in one of the courses below, you can contact the department directly. Please keep in mind, however, that credits earned in Steinhardt courses will count as transfer credits towards your Draper degree, and that GSAS will only allow a maximum of eight credits to be transferred. Before you enroll in one of the courses below, please contact Robert Dimit for approval at


Media, Culture, and Communication
Spring 2011 Graduate Courses

See the department’s website for sample syllabi. Contact with questions.

E58.2030 Architecture as Media
Erica Robles
Wednesday 7:15 - 9:25 pm
Call number: 43154

This class reads architecture and the built environment through the lenses of media, communication, and culture. Through analyses of a range of spaces - from Gothic Cathedrals to suburban shopping malls to homes, factories, skyscrapers and digital cities - students will acquire a vocabulary for relating representations and practices, symbols and structures, and for identifying the ideological and aesthetic positions that produce settings for everyday life. 4 credits.

E58.2100 Seminar in Media Criticism I
Mark Crispin Miller
Monday 4:55 - 7:05 pm
Call number: 43155

Analysis of the media environment from a variety of critical perspectives. Emphasis on writing as well as reading media criticism. 4 credits.

E58.2129 New Media Research Studio
Jonah Brucker-Cohen
Tuesday 4:55 - 7:05 pm
Call number: 43471

This course is devoted to the research of new communication channels that evolved with the rise of information technology and digital connectivity. These new tools develop new practices, ethics and power relations and require us to approach them from a different angle. Since the pace of digital media adoption is constantly increasing we will try to develop a more experimental research practice, in which we will act as participating agents within the explored new media environments. In that sense students should expect to be ‘embedded' and ‘report from' deep within social networking sites, multi-player online immersive environments, the blogosphere, the open source movement, internet based media art, cell phone networks, and more. The practice would resemble field journalism and will encounter the similar anthropological conflicts of the researcher's role in its subject of research. Projects will be executed both in groups and individually and will be using an assortment of collaborative web tools to conduct and document the research online. In addition to the individual researches each week will feature a theme and will be discussed through assigned reading, listening and viewing materials. 4 credits.

E58.2140 Issues in Organizational Communication
Deborah Borisoff
Wednesday 4:55 - 7:05 pm
Call number: 43156

Students examine major concepts and issues related to organizational communication including: 1) types of organizational cultures; 2) dimensions of organizational entry (e.g. the interview process); assimilation (e.g., fitting in); and factors that influence this process (e.g., gender, culture, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation; 3) examination of how employees and work are valued; 4) transformations in leadership (e.g., how it is defined; enacted); 5) diverse channels of communication (e.g., face-to-face; working in teams; the impact of technology; 6) effective strategies for dealing with conflict in organizational settings (e.g., communication strategies; work/life challenges). 4 credits

E58.2165 Transnational Communities and Media Cultures
Radha Hegde
Monday 2:00 - 4:10 pm
Call number: 43472

This course examines the emergence of transnational communities, recent patterns of migration, and the role of media forms and practices in redefining culture and national belonging. We will explore how media practices define culture and identity for diasporic groups within the landscape of global cities. What role do media play in the (re)imagining of cultural politics, nationalism, and everyday life in the context of global relocations? How do technology and media enable new configurations of cultural resistance and identification within (and between) different immigrant groups? What does this mean in terms of negotiating the global and local in various aspects of immigrant lives? 4 credits.

E58.2184 Comparative Media Systems
Rodney Benson
Tuesday 4:55 - 7:05 pm
Call number: 40827

How are news media similar or different around the world? Beyond the personal idiosyncrasies of individual journalists and media owners, which factors play the greatest role in shaping "national news cultures": professional values and traditions, level and type of commercialism, government regulations, bureaucratic pressures or organizational dynamics, and/or audiences? Too much of our media criticism proceeds from hunches and assumptions, rather than real evidence, for the simple reason that it limits itself to a single national context (and often a single time period). International comparative research allows us to "see" in new ways, test existing theories, and develop new ones. This course offers a conceptual and methodological guide (drawing on theories of Habermas, Bourdieu, Castells, and the latest work in the sociologies of culture, news, and globalization) to mapping the world's increasingly complex and inter-connected media environments. After a general consideration of the factors that structure news media systems and the roles that media play in democratic societies, the course incorporates (1) a survey of comparative methodologies: ethnography, in-depth interviewing, surveys, discourse and image analyses, etc., and (2) national, trans-national, and comparative case studies, representing the major types of Western European journalistic "models" as well as some important non-European variants. 4 credits.

E58.2200 Media Events and Spectacle
Salvatore Fallica
Wednesday 7:15 - 9:25 pm
Call number: 40828

The focus of this course is the analysis of our contemporary image- based mass culture. The mass mind is a metaphor that describes the various sources that have produced these artifacts of contemporary culture. So, the "what" of the mass mind is located in and around the culture industries that develop, produce and distribute the images, narratives, sounds and events that create the fabric of everyday life. Two major questions dominate the semester: How have we tried to understand this mass culture in the past? And, how do modern scholars try to explain this culture today? In past versions of this course we have studied the sitcom and the various sub-genres of television including advertising. We have studied the Superbowl and other forms of media events, standup comedy, talk show culture, nineteenth and twentieth century minstrelsy, men's and women's magazine culture, Shakespeare in popular culture, and, of course, contemporary music - from Bing Crosby to Ludacris.

Some possible texts include: Philip Auslander, 1999. Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture. New York: Routledge; Nick Couldry, 2003. Media Rituals: A Critical Approach. New York: Routledge; Daniel Dayan and Elihu Katz, 1992. Media Events: The Live Broadcasting of History. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; Joli Jensen, 2002. Is Art Good for Us? Beliefs About High Culture in American Life. New York, Rowman & Littlefield; McNair, Brian. 2002. Striptease Culture: Sex, Media and the Democratization of Desire. New York, Routledge; Susan Murray and Laurie Ouellette, 2004. Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture. New York, New York University Press. 4 credits.

E58.2201 Mediating the Biopolitical Body
Allen Feldman
Monday 4:55 - 7:05 pm
Call number: 43157

This seminar will engage the political philosophy and media ethnography of human and nonhuman bodies. We will explore the body and animality as political media through Foucault, Derrida, Agamben, Esposito, Lacan, Hegel, Heidegger, Arendt and Merleau-Ponty. Today's wars on terror, refugees, migrant labor, minorities and the immune compromised are campaigns of inhumanization that condition what counts and does not count as human through inoculating images of humanity's alters, and antagonists; all those bodies which lack humanity and signify the human in that lack. Emblematic visions of the monstrous, grotesque and disfigured do not mask and distort a determining political reality lying behind such images but are in themselves formative and structuring forces by which an order of bodies-human and unhuman-- is crafted in acts of political speciation. The political is today poised between a sovereign humanitas and a bestial, monstrous and creaturely inhumanitas comprised of communicating, excommunicated and communicable bodies. Is animality the negated and yet necessary staging ground of the political? Is the creaturely the inadequate name for what cannot be mastered by the anthropological machine? Is biopower condemned to visualizing its exception and what exceeds it as bestial life? The animal/ human faultline in Western metaphysical thought and practice can be remapped as zoopolitics where animality as political species navigates times and spaces of violent exposure, disappearance and abandonment but where animal embodiment is also a zoo-anarchism that trespasses across the thresholds of anthropologizing biopower. 4 credits.

E58.2286 Young People and Media Cultures

Joellen Fisherkeller
Tuesday 4:55 - 7:05 pm
Call number: 40833

What roles do popular media play in society and culture, and in particular the experiences, thinking and values of young people? How should we address the issues raised by the contemporary communication environment, and by the reality of young people's interactions with popular media? In this course, we will consider these questions. We will focus on debates and issues raised by various media environments that now characterize contemporary existence and young people's growth and experiences. Most importantly, we will investigate how young people actually use, value, and find meaning in multiple media in different social contexts, and discuss the social, cultural, and political implications of these situations. Finally, we will propose some ways to deal with the issues raised by the course.

Readings include: Buckingham, David. After the Death of Childhood: Growing up in the Age of Electronic Media (Polity Press, 2000); Fisherkeller, JoEllen Growing Up with Television: Everyday Learning among Young Adolescents (Temple University Press, 2002); Packet of Readings that focus on children and youth in media cultures. 4 credits.

E58.2304 Global Media and International Law
Ted Magder
Tuesday 2:00 - 4:10 pm
Call number: 43329

This course examines the history and role of international law and international regulatory instruments as they pertain to global media governance. It provides an historical overview of the various institutions and actors involved in global media governance, and assesses the various principles and practices that constitute the regime of global media governance, including the regulation of broadcasting, telecommunications, the Internet, and trade in media products. Students will undertake original research in a selected area of global media governance with careful attention to original documents in the field. 4 credits.

E58.2310 Sound Studies
Martin Scherzinger
Tuesday 7:15 - 9:25 pm
Call number: 43160

This course examines central themes in the emerging field of "Sound Studies". We explore a range of histories, archaeologies and ethnographies of sound and listening, as it intersects with topics in media studies, metaphysics, science and technology studies, political economy and musicology. How has our experience of sound changed as we move from the piano to the personal computer, from the phonoautograph to the mp3? How have political, commercial, and cultural forces shaped what we are able to listen to, and how we listen to it? Finally, how have performers, physiologists, architects, acousticians, engineers and philosophers worked to understand this radical transformation of the senses? 4 credits.

E58.2382 Topics in Globalization: International Development
Helga Tawil-Souri
Wednesday 2:00 - 4:10 pm
Call number: 43202

This course introduces students to theoretical foundations in historical and contemporary issues in communication and international development. Topics include state-building, modernization, dependency and globalization, as they concern the ‘Third World.'

Part One of the course focuses on mainstream development, its proponents (such as the UN, the World Bank and international non-profit organizations) and its application and practice. Part Two will delve into the critiques of development and its connections to longer historical, political and economic inequalities, such as imperialism, colonialism and globalization. In Part Three, each class will be devoted to a particular topic or problem and relevant case studies from they key regions (Latin America/Carribean; Africa; Middle East; Asia; "The Fourth World") that students will present on.

This is an inter-disciplinary course that draws on readings in political science, economics, history, sociology, communications and media research, and public policy. Topics of discussion are international in scope, and encourage cross-linkages between different theoretical concepts and geographical locations. Keeping up with global affairs, gaining familiarity with economic terms, looking up historical events, etc. are of utmost importance. 4 credits.

E58.2405 Topics in Visual and Cultural Studies: Communism and the Cold War
Nicholas Mirzoeff
Thursday 2:00 - 4:10 pm
Call number: 43410

In the era of the permanent memorial, it is noticeable that Communism and the Cold War are being increasingly marginalized in accounts of present-day crises. This class offers a counterpoint by examining the legacies of these experiences in visual and cultural studies. It suggests a different history of the present than is usually told, with particular regard to visuality in film, art and performance. Each participant will undertake a research project using materials in the Tamiment Library (and elsewhere if needed) and will present the results in a mini-conference at the end of the semester. 4 credits.

Larissa Kyzer
Program Administrator
John W. Draper Master's Program
New York University
Graduate School of Arts and Science
14 University Place
New York, NY 10003
ph: (212) 998-8678
fax: (212) 995-4691

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Call for Papers: Producing History through Mad Men (Invisible Culture E-Journal, U Rochester)

Please distribute widely

“Where Do You Want Me to Start?” Producing History through Mad Men
Guest Editors: Amanda Graham and Erin Leary

The television network AMC’s historical drama Mad Men, set in 1960-64, premiered in 2007. While the program was slowly accepted by audiences, at least as slowly as its methodical narrative structures, it clearly struck a chord among a cross-generational body of viewers, tripling in size from the first season. In order to engage with the show more fully, fans paraded in Mad Men-inspired costumes during Banana Republic-sponsored events in 2009 and 2010 in Times Square, “Mad Men-ed” themselves online, participated in the series’ Facebook page or the network’s online portals, downloaded period music, or simply watched each episode. The show is a pervasive cultural force within the media landscape, but why does this program—which is situated several decades in the past—have such saliency today? How and why do viewers relate to these characters? How does Mad Men impact our understanding of current socio-cultural environment? How does our contemporary cultural landscape inform how we read Mad Men?

When Mad Men entered into American living rooms, viewers’ lives were characterized by prosperity. One year later, in 2008, America’s nightmares were realized: widespread bankruptcy and home foreclosures occurred, unidentifiable villains and incomprehensible wars became the norm, rhetorics of socialism and communism were brandished by various political factions, racial tensions resurfaced, and technological angst became a part of citizens’ everyday realities and prompted them to question the American dream. These anxieties mirror those of the postwar era in which Mad Men is set and traverse the spacio-temporal boundaries demarcating one period from the other.

Simultaneously, Mad Men asks the viewer to question social progress. When Don Draper and his family leave trash from a family picnic on park grounds, viewers may feel momentarily superior. When Peggy Olson is embarrassed to declare her pregnancy in the workplace, viewers could experience a sense of self-congratulatory modernity. Yet, self-reflective viewers are as likely to wonder if much has actually changed. Highlighting these disjunctures and the functions of history encourages viewers to realize the wisdom of Don’s assertion that, “Change isn’t good or bad. It just happens.”

Why are fans so obsessed with Mad Men? Why this particular show? What does it mean to want to live in Mad Men or be in Mad Men? Do the parallels between the nineteen-sixties (as interpreted by Mad Men) and the events of our contemporary moment serve to enhance our understandings of either era? Does the show’s depiction of the postwar period function as a site of nostalgia by virtue of its status as a present-day consumer product? Or does it perform the productive functions of the outmoded? Are these categories fruitful modes of analysis? How do they position this particular object for a multi-generational audience?

Possible avenues for evaluation include, but are not limited to:

Considering the literary content of Mad Men—books, poems, etc. featured in conjunction with character development;
The symbolism in the music of Mad Men;
Influences of Hitchcock and the imagery of the falling man;
Relationships to other television programs, films, art works, and political events in our contemporary media/culturalscape

Parallels in the relationships between the modern subject and consumption; baby boom, postwar affluence – industry related to death of industry economy – outsourced labor?
Design, broadly encompassed to include architecture, fashion, interiors, graphic design;
Product placement, historical and contemporary;
Advertising analysis;
Viewer reception;
Technology (as reflected in the show, and as a mechanism for the show’s distribution)

Political consciousness and sexual awakening/promiscuity (male/female, gay/straight, pre/extra-marital);
Playing Yourself: Alter egos and virtuality;
class passing narratives;
The representation of homosexuality on screen and historically;
Motherhood; fatherhood
Infertility and class;
Questions of nationalism;
Character/actor “metatext” crossover to other shows/news

We solicit articles from a wide array of disciplines, including communication studies and anthropology, film and media studies, women’s studies, literary criticism, music theory and history, as well as critical race studies and cultural studies generally defined.

Please send inquiries and completed papers (MLA style) of between 2,500 and 5,000 words to Amanda Graham (agraham9[at]mail[dot]rochester[dot]edu) and Erin Leary (eleary2[at]mail[dot]rochester[dot]edu) by March 1, 2011.

Invisible Culture is also currently seeking submissions for book and exhibition reviews (600-1000 words). To submit book or exhibition review proposals, please email ivcbookreviews[at]gmail[dot]com. For a list of reviewable titles, see:

Invisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to explorations of the material and political dimensions of cultural practices: the means by which cultural objects and communities are produced, the historical contexts in which they emerge, and the regimes of knowledge or modes of social interaction to which they contribute.

Happy 2011!

NYU is back open for business, even if students aren't returning to classes until January 24th. Draper will also be completing spring 2011 academic advisement over January 11th and 12th, so if you haven't scheduled an appointment, please contact us to do so: 212.998.8070.

Cheers for the New Year!