Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Steinhardt Courses Open to Draper Students

Steinhardt's Department of Media, Culture and Communication has opened up the following spring 2012 courses to all graduate students.

If you are interested, you must first email to obtain approval from Robert Dimit. Please also note that these are non-GSAS credits, of which Draper students are only allowed a total of eight.


The following courses in the Department of Media, Culture and Communication are now open to all graduate students in Spring 2012 and seats are still available. We encourage you to read through the course details below. Should you need any assistance with registration, please contact Mary Taylor via email at


MCC-GE 2184 Comparative Media Systems
Rodney Benson
Tuesday 7:15 – 9:25 PM
Class#: 3060 (4 credits)

How does journalism differ around the world? And to the extent that it does, why? 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). Adequately sorting out the factors that shape our media environment can best be accomplished via comparative research. This course offers a conceptual roadmap to such a project as well as a close empirical look at the news media in a variety of national contexts. 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: surveys, ethnographies, news content analyses, etc., and (2) national and comparative case studies, representing the major types of Western European journalistic 'models' as well as some important non-European variants.

[MA Area of Study: Global and Transcultural Communication & Persuasion and Politics + MA Research Course]


MCC-GE 2284 Religion and Media
Arvind Rajagopal
Tuesday 2:00 – 4:10 PM
Class#: 13735 (4 credits)

In this course, we will begin with an overview of some of the problems in thinking about religion in the context of what Derrida has identified as ‘globalatinization.’ We will consider the extent to which many of our ideas about religion are shaped not only by historical legacies, but as well by material cultural practices and conditions, and techiques of mediation that are irreducible accompaniments and constituents of the beliefs in question. We will consider how the narrative arc of the Enlightenment sought to place religion, in ways that shifted over time. An influential self-conception about the European Enlightenment was that it expressed the triumph of secular reason over the ancien regime, and the defeat of inherited privilege of all kinds. the relegation of religion to the private sphere was in effect to declare religion to be free from politics; such a gesture could only be a prelude to a new form of politicization. We will observe the playing out of an interesting set of contradictions: religion is widely present, but understood in terms that fail to grapple with what is properly religious, due variously to Enlightenment conceits, imperial reasoning, nationalist self-fashioning, and the deification of technology. No definitive statement or argument can be attempted on religion as a result, although we will read authors who essay authoritative definitions.

We will consider early modern mobilizations of religious identity, and oppositions between Jewish and Christian, Christian and Islamic, and religious and secular identities, and assess how religious beliefs and practices can be rendered into a historical telos, racialized and/or nationalized. We will also examine how religious identities can be mapped onto language, and onto technology. Last but not least, we will conside how what was recently hailed as the End of History soon led to a theological display of power with Operation Shock and Awe, and a global war against Evil, a.k.a. “Islamic fascism.” We will conclude by examining the sacralization of democracy, and the profane quality of the terror it opposes itself to, and what appears in their wake as a serious challenge to Enlightenment conceits about the separation of church and state, and about the ability of reason to defend itself by purely reasonable means.

[MA Area of Study: Visual Culture and Cultural Studies & Global and Transcultural Communication]


MCC-GE 2344 The Social Life of Paper
Lisa Gitelman
Monday 4:55 – 7:05 PM
Class#: 13617 (4 credits)

What is the cultural work performed by or with the technology of paper? How can a history of paper supplement and enrich recent histories of printing technology and printed artifacts like "the book"? What would it mean to imagine a paperless future? Organized around discussions of readings in common, this course considers the history, production, circulation and use of paper in the social production of knowledge, the shared imagination of value, and the mutual relations of consumers and commodities.

[MA Area of Study: Technology and Society & Visual Culture and Cultural Studies]


MCC-GE 3100 Special Topics in Visual Culture and Cultural Studies: Fundamentals of Moving Images
Susan Murray
Wednesday 2:00 - 4:10 PM
Class#: 13736 (4 credits)

This course will examine the history of moving images, focusing primarily on the ways that institutional, technological, and social/cultural factors contributed to the aesthetics and form of film and television during the 20th century in the U.S.. Moving from early silent cinema to the early days of digital cinema, students will read key texts in film/media theory and history, view a selection of films and programs in out-of-class screenings, and consider both in relation to specific historical movements and developments. Reading will likely include works by: Tom Gunning, Jonathan Crary, Phillip Rosen, Mary Ann Doane, Raymond Williams, Samuel Weber, John T. Caldwell, Lisa Parks, Anna McCarthy, D.N Rodowick, Brian Winston, Vivian Sobchack, Lev Manovich and more.


MCC-GE 2400 Topics in Visual Culture: Politics of Visual Display
Olga Kopenkina
Wednesday 2:00 – 4:10 PM
Class#: 13622 (4 credits)

Taking the exhibition and museum site as an object of study, this course examines the modern history of visual display. The artistic avant-garde radically altered the way we look at visual display by eliminating the separation between image and audience. Nevertheless, this visual “rupture” has been echoed in the contemporary discussion about public art and the role of cultural institutions. Since the 1920s, political regimes in Russia and Europe intervened in exhibition techniques connecting avant-garde with totalitarian art – a fact that reinforced the ideological function of the museum. How do museums and contemporary art institutions use the ideological function of the museum display now? How do they create the ideology, which as Guy Debord, theorist of the spectacle noted, conceals the truth of the society that produces it? Does the notion “public art” adequately express the avant-garde desire for the full integration of viewers in the process of exhibiting the artwork? Is there a space for resistance to the ideology of “spectacle,” and corporate economy around art inside the modern museum?

[MA Area of Study: Visual Culture and Cultural Studies]

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