Undergraduate Catalog

Media Studies List of Undergraduate Courses (all are 3 credits unless otherwise specified)

MDST 2000 Introduction to Media Studies

This course is a survey introduction to the complex and increasingly pervasive impact of mass media in the U.S. and around the world. It provides a foundation for helping you to understand how mass media – as a business, as well as a set of texts – operates. The course also explores contextual issues – how media texts and businesses are received by audiences and by regulatory bodies. It is offered in the regular school year with a discussion group as a 4-credit class. When offered in the summer session, the class is three credits. Required Course for all Media Studies majors and prerequisite for declaring the major.

MDST 2200 Introduction to Film

We tend to take movies for granted. They are there for our entertainment. But movies are made by people in specific ways for specific purposes, and this course examines how films are made to elicit an emotional or intellectual response. We will investigate film structure—how meaning is created—and how this structure can be read and understood. What is the act of interpretation? How do we understand what we see on the screen? We will study film genres, the specific stories films tell us, and the ways films and their audience are part of the larger structure of the culture in which they exist. Film Concentration Core.

MDST 2305  Podcasting, Radio and Sound Production

Students will learn the practical components of radio production including:  story development, script writing, interview techniques, audio recording, editing of sound, mixing, and final production for broadcast. In addition, students will critically analyze the components of radio/podcast features.  The course includes a lecture component and lab time where the instructor will consult with students about their projects. Practice of Media Elective Only.

MDST 2502 Special Topics in Film Genre

This course will offer historical and critical perspectives on a selected film genre each semester. Genres might include Noir, war, romance, musicals, gangster, New Wave, etc. This introductory course does not count toward the Media Studies major.

MDST 2508 Topics in Media Practice

This course will provide practice-based learning opportunities for students in various forms of media, including video, podcasting, film, etc. Practice of Media Elective Only (unless otherwise noted).

- The Art of the Video Essay In this course, students will learn both the theory and mechanics of critical video essays. Lectures will explore various methodologies of video criticism, and a required lab section will include exercises involving video editing, sound mixing for video, special effects, voiceover, and the use of text. In the latter half of the course, lab time will be used to work on and consult the instructor about individual projects.

- Digital Storytelling Critics complain that our increasing engagement with digital media has shortened our collective attention spans and diminished literacy when we need it most. While these may be some of the effects of the digital in our everyday lives, it’s also the case that we’re in an unprecedented age of being able to tell our own stories, enriched by those very images and sounds we so often hold accountable for the weaknesses of digital media. Beginning from the position that digital storytelling offers us new and productive ways of telling our stories and engaging with audiences, this course explores various ways of approaching narrative in the context of digital storytelling. Throughout the semester, we will develop our skills in accessible writing, image capture and editing, audio recording, audiovisual editing and design to tell stories through video essays, podcasts, and on storytelling platforms such as StoryMapJS. In addition to exercises designed to develop our familiarity with the techniques of digital storytelling, we will complete one collaborative project and one individual project by the end of the course.

- Feature Writing This active-learning practice course will teach students to research, organize, and write compelling fact-based feature articles for newspapers, magazines, and online media. Students will develop interviewing and observation skills, and apply journalistic techniques for focusing, structuring, and editing accurate stories.

- Introduction to Filmmaking Do you want to make a film? Are you interested in discovering how a movie gets made? Through a series of lectures, demonstrations, and exercises, students will become familiar with the many tools used in physical production, with the goal of fostering their creative vision in a safe and inspiring workplace that is both professional and productive. The class together or in small groups will make a film at the end of the class. Practice of Film.

- Sports Media Production In conjunction with UVA's Athletic Foundation and the new ESPN/ACC Production studio inside JPJ, students in this course will participate in all roles associated with sports television production. From writing scripts to working as on-air broadcasters, students will rotate through experiential positions essential to real sports TV production. The class will meet weekly; written assignments will also be required.

MDST 2559 New Course in Media Studies

This course provides the opportunity to offer a new course in the subject of Media Studies. If offered, topics will be listed on the course offerings page for the particular semester. These classes DO NOT count as electives in the Media Studies major. Where indicated, individual topics fulfill the Practice of Media class.

MDST 2660 The Internet Is Another Country: Community, Power, and Social Media

Explores the concepts of community, nationalism, the public sphere, and social action in the context of the Internet and social media. Begins with a cultural history of the Internet and virtual community and then explores several ethnographic case studies of communities and social movements from around the world. Concludes with a consideration of the Internet as a political economic system. Students blog and conduct collaborative research.

MDST 2690 Sports Journalism  

This course will cover all manner of media as it relates to sports journalism.Students will analyze published work across various mediums, learn the tools for reporting and writing different types of coverage, including features, profiles, long-form, game stories and more. Students will write articles, interview subjects, analyze sports journalism, participate in peer reviews and hear from some of the most prominent figures in sports journalism. Practice of Media Only. Satisfies second writing requirement.

MDST 2700 News Writing [cross-listed with ENWR 2700]

This course focuses on the development of basic writing skills, with craftsmanship the emphasis. We will study, discuss, and rewrite old and new newspaper stories in a workshop setting. Readings will be taken from texts and various other sources. Progress from short hard-news pieces through speech stories, legislative and political coverage, the use of narrative and on to other news features. Repeated writing drills. Fair to good typing or word processing skills required. It will be essential to follow current events as well. Practice of Media Only. Satisfies second writing requirement.

MDST 2710 Screenwriting 

An introduction to the art and craft of screenwriting through the writing and discussion of short scripts. Will involve study of screenplays and films, and focus on the basic elements of screenwriting, including story structure, creation of character, and formatting.

MDST 2810 Cinema as an Art Form [cross-listed with DRAM 2810]

This course also includes mandatory screening section. A course in visual thinking; introduces film criticism, concentrating on classic and current American and non-American films. 

MDST 2870 Writing Film Criticism for Popular Consumption

Non-academic, journalistic film criticism intended for mass media audiences has become an important and ubiquitous part of our contemporary discourse. Critics like Pauline Kael, Roger Ebert, David Edelstein, Janet Maslin Johnathan Rosenbaum, Monohla Dargis and Wesley Morris have not only helped to shape the way consumers of media look at film, they often, and at their best, locate individual films in the context of the culture and politics that surrounds them in real time and in a format that rewards a lively, cogent, expressive, and informal writing style. Writing about film or television for newspapers, magazines, online and in other media provides a platform to both engender and enter into a cultural and aesthetic dialog by way of an experience nearly every one of us shares on a daily or weekly basis: watching and responding to the filmed narratives all around us. In this course, we'll explore what's required for thoughtful, informed and engaging non-academic film criticism, including the obligation to understand both the historical and contemporary landscape of film, to write well and develop an individual voice, and even to entertain and connect with a readership. Practice of Media Only.

MDST 3000 Theory & Criticism of Media

How can we think productively about the media – the industries that produce it, the audiences that receive it, and the social, cultural and political impact mass media have on the contemporary social order? This course provides students with conceptual and analytical tools for understanding how and why “media matters”. Using a broadly historical lens, we will explore the dominant “schools” of media and mass communication thought as they have developed over the 20th and 21st centuries, looking at how these different schools’ dialogue with each other as well as how they provide different ways to think about the phenomenon of mass media. This is a required course for all Distinguished Majors.

MDST 3050 History of Media

This is a hands-on introduction to global media history for undergraduate students majoring in media studies. The course takes a thematic approach to the study of media change over time, and situates media technologies, industries, texts and programs in the context of major social, cultural, and political changes through the 20th and early 21st centuries. In addition to studying a range of media artifacts and events, students are introduced to the practice of historical research and writing. With the support of UVA Library staff, they acquire basic competencies in historical research: developing research questions, evaluating secondary sources, identifying appropriate archives, querying databases, managing notes, citing sources, and sharing resources as a team. The semester culminates in a public-facing exhibition of student research. Required Course for all Media Studies majors. Restricted to 3rd year Media Studies majors.

MDST 3102 Copyright, Culture, and Commerce

In this course, we will discuss one of the most powerful social, cultural, economic and political institutions of our day: intellectual property (IP). How did we arrive at the notion that creative works and ideas can be owned, bought and sold like tangible commodities? What impact does this concept have on the way we view the world? How does it help us achieve our social goals, and how does it present obstacles to reaching those goals? Media Policy and Ethics Concentration.

MDST 3104 Making (and Faking) the News

The course uses theories of social construction to examine the relationship between news and reality. With this as our framework, we apply various critical perspectives to examine the way news “reality” is constructed, from the discursive and semiotic frameworks used to present current events as “stories,” to how journalists make decisions about what is news, to the factors that structure news form and content. Media Policy and Ethics Concentration.

MDST 3105 Latina/o Media Studies

This course is designed to introduce students to critical analyses of media texts, media industries, and media audiences that help explain the social, political, economic, and cultural locations of Latinas/os in America.

MDST 3106 History of American Radio & Television 

This course examines U.S. broadcasting in historical perspective, not only as an industry, but also as a vital component of American culture and everyday life. We will examine the technological, social, political, industrial and cultural forces influencing the development of broadcast media and we will link these forces to the programs created and the audiences served. Students will complete this class with a better understanding of the many economic, regulatory, social and cultural factors that led to the development of radio and television in the US, as well as the role that broadcasting has played in the shaping of American culture. Media Policy and Ethics Concentration.

MDST 3107 Evolution of Media in Italy: From Unification to the Present [cross-listed with ITTR 3107]

The course will explore the specific features of Italian mass media from the Unification to the present, considering how the press, cinema, radio, television and the Internet have affected and shaped Italian society.  It will trace the evolution of Italian media in relation to key events such as the Risorgimento, Fascism, both World Wars, reconstruction and industrialization, and the political rise of media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi.

MDST 3108 Media Law  

This course uses audio, video, and text to explore the basics of media law: copyright; privacy; libel and defamation; and free speech. Students will be able to describe the tension between efforts to sustain an informed public and protect rights of expression; identify legal agents in the global system; identify powers and responsibilities of agents; grasp the basics of the 1st Amendment; and prepare for deeper analysis of these areas of law. Media Policy and Ethics Concentration.

MDST 3111 Food Media & Popular Culture 

Media representations of food across time and place offer a lens through which we can understand the cultural politics of food production, preparation, consumption and commercialization. Studying a range of food media genres, this course explores media storytelling around food, along with the racial, ethnic, gendered, class, and trans/national complexities that characterize our food narratives. A word of advice-do not to come to our class hungry! Diversity & Inclusion Elective.

MDST 3115 Breaking Bad: Once Upon a Time with the Pests  

The course explores Breaking Bad through study of the show's narrative, characters, and formal design. Topics examined include: socio-economic anxieties and spiritual longings in contemporary America; the political and religious implications of addiction to speed (technological and pharmacutical); the show as revisionary Puritan narrative and revisionary Western; the problem of being bugged; the desire to get away with it; the poetry of W.W.

MDST 3120 Global Media & Cybersecurity 

This course will use cases from around the world to examine the relationship betweeen media and cybersecurity. The course will analyze criminal hacks of media production companies, how cybercrimes are represented in popular media, and how media use exposes users to risk of cybercrimes. Media Policy and Ethics Concentration.

MDST 3140 Mass Media and American Politics  [cross-listed with PLAP 3140]

Examines the role of mass media in the political process including such topics as print and broadcast news, media and election campaigns, political advertising, and media effects on public opinion and political participation. Media Policy and Ethics Concentration.

MDST 3201 New German Cinema 

Examines German art cinema from the 1960s-1980s, focusing on modernist aesthetics and filmic responses to major historical events in post-war Germany. Films by Fassbinder, Herzog, Wenders, Kluge, Sander, von Trotta, and others.

MDST 3205 New Latin American Cinema

This course provides a historical and critical perspective on Latin American Cinema (LAC), with an emphasis on LAC's relationship to Third Cinema, revolutionary cinema, and contemporary progressive filmic cinematic forms and traditions.

MDST 3206 Documentary Film 

When do we call a film documentary? Why? How do these expectations and definitions guide (or trouble) documentary filmmakers? In this course, we will answer these questions and discuss the different ways that documentary films (and filmmakers) have attempted to represent reality. Starting with recent debates about documentary, we will discuss how we define documentary film as distinct from fiction and why. To do so, we will investigate the origins of documentary (in photography and anthropology) and the development of various techniques and modes of documentary film. Throughout, we will be conscious of the particular truth claims of documentary and the ethical issues involved in filming real people. We will also pay close attention to the historical origins of different modes of documentary and how each mode deals with issues of truth-telling and ethics. You will leave the class with a better understanding of the history and cultural role of documentary and with the ability to identify different “modes” of documentary, and an understanding of the different ways documentaries claim representational authority.

MDST 3207 Experimental Ethnography and Film 

This course explores film and other experimental modes of research to consider the multiplicities of knowledge and being in the world. We work with ethnography, anthropology’s mode of investigation, to consider the capacity for experimentation to engage with the diverse range of human and non-human experiences and materialities, in nuanced, dynamic and imaginative ways. In addition to film, we will also consider and work with other creative modes. Diversity & Inclusion, Film Elective.

MDST 3230 Basic Multimedia Reporting

Students in this course will research, write and edit original, real time news stories for posting on student journalism websites. Multimedia means that students interested in print reporting will also learn camera skills, while students interested in video and on camera reporting will start with writing and research skills. An affiliation with a student run journalism outlet is strongly suggested. Practice of Media Or Elective.

MDST 3281 Reimagining the News 

In this course, we will explore the obstacles confronting the news industry – disinformation, declining trust in institutions, eroding business models, inequitable practices – but we won’t dwell on what’s gone wrong. Instead, we’ll focus on what can be done about it. We’ll define the role of journalism in society, we’ll examine emerging models of solutions-based journalism, and we’ll envision new models for community-minded news-sharing.

MDST 3306 Sexuality, Gender, Class and Race in the Teen Film

In this course we will examine a series of extremely popular teen films which form the common culture for many of the University of Virginia students. We will briefly examine the history of the teen film genre, contextualizing this in a discussion of adolescence and the history of this term in American cultural discourse. We will then examine in-depth the texts of a series of the most popular, and most loved, teen films, focusing on their treatment of gender, social class, and racial difference in their depiction of teen culture in the U.S. Students will draw from their own experience in viewing these texts as they learn some of the tools of film and genre analysis, and of cultural media "effects" analysis. The course will be an intensive writing and discussion-based class.

MDST 3307 Animated Media

This course considers how animation and cartoons have historically been translated into the media of cinema and television. Focal points will be: Disney in traditional cinema animation, Hanna-Barbera in the broadcast television cartoon, Nickelodeon in cable television cartoons, and Pixar in digital cinema animation. Students will also practice creative and technical processes involved in making animation, individually and collectively. Pre-requisite: MDST 2000. Film Concentration Elective.

MDST 3375 History of Music and Broadcasting in the US

The history of popular music in the U.S. is intimately intertwined with broadcasting. The relationship between “radio and records” has been one of mutual dependence and abiding antagonism. Students will learn how this relationship developed historically, and will consider its continuing evolution. Our narrative will include the effects of legal decisions and technological innovations on music-making; on broadcasting; and on music consumption.

MDST 3402 War and the Media  

This course examines media coverage of American wars from World War I through current military conflicts.  From the 20th century on, the experience of war came to most Americans mainly through the electronic media – from newsreels to Hollywood feature films to television to the internet – rather than through direct experience. As a result, our understanding of America’s military conflicts has been heavily shaped by the way war has been portrayed in the media. Careful study of the evolution in media coverage of war provides an ideal vantage point for understanding the changing nature of warfare in the 20th and 21st centuries, war’s impact on American society, and the ways in which political elites have attempted to mobilize public support for a number of very different foreign conflicts. Course requirements include viewing a wide range of media treatments of various foreign conflicts and reading pertinent theoretical and historical essays. Media Policy and Ethics Concentration.

MDST 3404 Democratic Politics in the New Media Environment

This course examines the ways a changing media system is altering the dynamics of public discourse and democratic politics in the United States. Throughout the course we will critically analyze the ways in which scholars from a wide range of disciplines have studied the connection between media and politics, the methods they have employed, and the validity of their findings and approaches in the new media environment in which we now live. Prerequisite: MDST 2000 or instructor permission. Media Policy and Ethics Concentration.

MDST 3406 The Wire: Understanding Urban America Through Television at its Best

This class explores HBO’s The Wire as an examination of race, class, and economic change in urban America. We examine the series as a creative work which balances a commitment to realism with the demands of television drama. Students will view episodes of The Wire and read material on urban America, the changing contours of television, and the series itself.

MDST 3407 Racial Borders & American Cinema

The history of American cinema is inextricably—and controversially—tied to the racial politics of the U.S. This course will explore how images of racial and ethnic minorities such as African Americans, Jews, Asians, Native Americans and Latino/as are reflected on screen and the ways that minorities in the entertainment industry have responded to often limiting representations. Diversity & Inclusion Elective. Film Concentration Elective.

MDST 3409 LGBTQ Issues in the Media

This course will explore the complex cultural dynamics of LGBTQ media visibility, along with its social, political, and psychological implications for LGBTQ audiences. It explores four domains: (1) the question of LGBT media visibility (2) the complex processes of inclusion, normalization, and assimilation in popular culture (3) media industries and the LGBT market (4) the relationship between digital media, LGBT audiences, and everyday life.

MDST 3410 Media Ethics

This course provides students a familiarity with the terrain of moral philosophy, improves students' awareness of the complex ethical issues and dilemmas in journalism and other areas of mass media, and engages students in the process of critical thinking, moral reasoning and problem solving in media communications. Prerequisite: MDST 2000 or instructor permission. Media Policy and Ethics Concentration.

MDST 3420 Media and Power in Iran 

Successive Iranian leaders have struggled to navigate the fraught political-cultural space of media in the Islamic Republic, skirting the line between embracing Western communications technologies & rejecting them, between condemning social networking sites & promoting themselves on Facebook. What is the role of media in political power construction in Iran? This class will consider this question through a number of inflection points in history.

MDST 3430 AI & Cinema

This course examines film renderings of artificial intelligence to foster critical perspectives on AI’s entanglement with human experiences (e.g., of identity, work, privacy, sex, aging, memory, death). Issues raised will include: the political economics of computational culture; the ethics of algorithmic tracking systems; the religious underpinnings of AI’s promise to deliver efficient transport (of information, services, goods, passengers). Film Concentration Elective.

MDST 3490 Just Kiddin': Comedy and Humor in Popular Culture 

This course explores comedic texts and performances across a variety of media forms as a way of understanding popular American culture. We will explore comedy’s several contexts from staged public performance to private joking. A slightly heavier focus will be on the increasing role of comedians doing stand-up and sketch comedy as public critics and cultural commentators. We begin by understanding theories of comedy and the logic of jokes alongside histories of comedians and humorous tropes and aesthetics. We try to understand why we laugh more at some jokes and not others and how humor relates to power and/or powerlessness. Examining a variety of content from stand-up comedy to sketches, physical comedy to political satire, the TV sitcom to memes and GIFs, we will discover how American comedy offers a rich relationship between creative expression and sociopolitical critique across different media genres.

MDST 3500 Topics in the History of Media

Topics have historical breadth and cover the historical development of media institutions, technology, or forms in areas of television, journalism, graphic media, film, print and publication history, digital media or other relevant areas. These courses may be repeated for credit if course content is sufficiently distinct to merit. Decision about repeated credit is at the discretion of the Chair of Media Studies. Prerequisite: MDST 2000 or instructor permission.

- Advertising and Consumer Culture  An exploration of advertising and American culture. We cover industry concepts, including branding, marketing, and segmentation. But we critique appeals made to us as consumers, and discuss identity, climate, democracy, and the broader media landscape. Advertising’s cultural history in print, radio, and TV aids in understanding today’s complex market logic of digital devices and platforms. Collectively, students will also create their own ads.

- Comparative Histories of the Internet  Students will learn how computer networks became a medium for interpersonal communication & community. We will "reverse engineer" the technologies & technical cultures that gave rise to the global information infrastructure. Students will explore unfinished systems, abandoned experiments, & other historical "dead ends." This is a hands-on approach to media history & the technical concepts that make the internet possible.

MDST 3501 Special Topics in Directors and Auteurs

This course will offer historical, comparative, and critical perspectives on a selected major directors and auteurs each semester. Directors might include Hitchcock, Welles, Heckerling, Ray, Spielberg, Renoir, Truffaut, etc. Film Concentration Elective.

- The Films of Alfred Hitchcock This course will explore selected films directed by Alfred Hitchcock, along with related other media. We will interrogate his status as an "auteur," investigate formal languages of film seen in his work, track the evolution of the genre of "suspense," study Hitchcock's practices of film adaptation, and wrestle with the challenging legacy of this influential filmmaker.

- Films of Hitchcock and Sirk This course examines the work of 2 of the most important auteurs of 20th century cinema, Alfred Hitchcock & Douglas Sirk; compares each director's treatment of gender and gendered experience, sexuality, and family. We will focus on Sirk’s famous 1950's melodramas & investigate Hitchcock’s portrayal of gendered power relations, the consequences of their reversals, & the exposure of subterranean malevolence of everyday American culture.

- Sociology of American Film This course offers a sociological analysis of the both the institutions that produce the Hollywood film and of Hollywood film itself from a sociological perspective. The course will include analysis of the studio system, the narrative and other techniques that produce the “classical Hollywood cinema,” the gender, racial and religious biases of popular cinema, and the sociological implications of classical Hollywood cinema.

MDST 3502 Special Topics in Film Genre 

This course will offer historical and critical perspectives on a selected film genre each semester. Genres might include Noir, war, romance, musicals, gangster, New Wave, etc.

- Children’s Film & the Child Consumer In this course we will examine the children’s film from the golden age of the child star of the 1930s to the contemporary family blockbuster. We will focus on how the genre gave birth to children’s consumer culture and how it changed the meaning of childhood. To explore these issues we will apply a range of critical, textual, institutional and cultural perspectives to a selection of live action and animated feature films. Restricted to Permission of Instructor.

- The Comedy Film The Comedy Film is a survey of the development of the comedy genre studying its major styles and personalities from the Silent period until today. We will analyze the unifying characteristics that connect comedy films and see how they reflect and influence popular culture. Our central question is what makes us laugh? What are the precise combinations of elements that cause laughter? Think of Comedy films as having specific genetic codes. Your task will be to look for evidence of comedy DNA in all the films you study and trace the influence of each film in subsequent films. Students will learn to identify the various types of comedy, such as slapstick, farce, deadpan, absurdist, screwball, romantic comedy, parody, satire, dark comedy, and mockumentary and study the formal and contextual conventions of the genre. We will look at how these comedy films reflect and influence societal attitudes and consider how we determine comedy's boundaries.

- Cult Cinema In this section, we will explore the loose genre of "cult cinema," or films that have devoted, passionate fanbases that can develop dedicated fanbases. We will survey the existing literature on "cult cinema" as well as multiple films often labeled as "cult films."

- The Horror Film The Horror Film is a survey of the development of the horror genre in cinema, studying its major styles and periods from the silent to the modern era. In addition, the course will explore several critical approaches to the genre including formalism, psychoanalysis, and feminism and discuss both the public attraction and critical reception to the genre. Students will learn to identify the conventions of the genre and how filmmakers have conformed to or varied those conventions over time.

MDST 3503 Special Topics - Issues and Controversies in Media

The study of structural transformation of the media industry, with its many associated controversial issues. The issues fall into 3 general categories. 1) Economic issues such as the regulation of ownership rules and the future of print journalism. 2) Political issues associated with the function of the press as Fourth Estate in a participatory democracy. 3) Ideological issues having to do with the relationship between values and mass media. Media Policy and Ethics Concentration.

MDST 3504 Topics in Global Media 

This course offers historical, comparative, critical, and media industry perspectives on global media. It explores how capital, geopolitics, new technologies and forms of production and consumption impact global media flows. Topics include studies of media systems, textual traditions, media circulation, globalization, the role of media technologies in international affairs, and the role of transnationalism in national and international affairs. Required Course for all Media Studies majors.

- Cinema, Politics, and Society in South Asia  This course will use a collection of assorted films to study the contours of politics and society in India, and greater South Asia, since Independence from colonial rule. The course will investigate important questions on economic development, inequality, ethnicity, conflict, terrorism and political development in South Asia guided by critically celebrated films, and supported by academic readings from multiple disciplines. Film Concentration Elective.

- Comparative Histories of the Internet  Examines the dynamic global transformations in print, broadcast, and digital media in an international and comparative context. Considers historical, institutional, and textual factors that impact media in local and global contexts. Examines the critical role of media in the long history of globalization and focuses on a number of cultural, technological, and economic issues addressed by media and globalization at the turn of the 21st century. 

- East Asian Transnational Media   This course explores East Asian transcultural media from regional film and television co-production and transmedia franchises to the transnational and transcultural circulation of East Asia-originating media. It looks at geopolitical frictions that inflect the circulation and consumption of media between China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan and the intersection of consumer desire and national identity in a pan-East Asian media context. 

- Films that Sell Films that Sell explores non-theatrical films as instruments of persuasion, education, and business, their impact on society and the film industry, and includes case studies on their use for surveillance and market research. Film Concentration Elective.

- Global Media This course examines the dynamic global transformations in print, broadcast, and digital media in an international and comparative context. Considers historical, institutional, and textual factors that impact media in local and global contexts. Examines the critical role of media in the long history of globalization and focuses on a number of cultural, technological, and economic issues addressed by media and globalization at the turn of the 21st century. Media Policy and Ethics Concentration.

- Hollywood Goes to Asia Film production between Asian and Euro-American companies is rapidly on the rise. The fundamental objective of the course is to cultivate a rigorous theoretical understanding of the media industries within a global Asian network. We will ask: What are the cultural, political and economic implications of transnational co-productions both for global and domestic film markets? Film Concentration Elective.

- Hong Kong Film and Cultural Identity Recent upheavals in the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong have foregrounded differences between local Hong Kong and Chinese ethnic identities. This course explores how Hong Kong film and media reflect and inform local cultural identity. We’ll focus on both familiar works and on those less well known outside Hong Kong, as a means of better grasping ongoing struggles over political and cultural autonomy in the SAR.

- Immigrant Narratives in Italian Cinema This course explores immigrant narratives and representation of migrants in Italian cinema from 1989 to the present day. As we locate the Italian immigration phenomenon within the current political debate about migration, we will discuss the negotiation of identities and cultures in post-colonial Italy. Among the topics we will explore: the nexus migrant/work, human rights, violence and detention, the refugee crisis, and the notion of asylum. Diversity & Inclusion/Film Concentration Elective.

- International Communications An overview of the economic, political, social, cultural and historical contexts that work together to construct the contemporary framework of international communications and foreign policymaking. Media Policy and Ethics Concentration

- Italian Mafia in Film and Television In this course, we look at the history of the Italian mafia and discuss its representation in Italian cinema and television series from the 1960s until today. Among the topics we explore: the relationship between organized crime and politics and the attack on the Italian state, anti-mafia films as cinema d’impegno, mafia films as entertainment, Gomorrah and globalized crime, the glamorization of Italian mafiosi in contemporary Italian tv shows. Film Concentration Elective.

- Japanese Cinema In this course, we will chronologically trace the various intersections of Japanese cinema with industries and filmmakers in Europe, the United States, and East Asia. We will put Japanese film and filmmakers squarely in the context of global film, as one participant in a transnational conversation about film style, narrative, and industries that has continued since the earliest days of cinema. Film Concentration Elective.

- Mexican Cinema This course takes a critical historical approach to investigate Mexico’s film from its inception to the present. Topics covered include major films, stars, filmmakers, and the rise of the Mexican film industry; and it aims to introduce students to doing historical research and criticism. Film Concentration Elective.

- Sound and Cinema This is a cinema history class that will proceed roughly chronologically from the dawn of the sound era to the early 1970s. This course will look at and listen to the ways that sound technologies shaped global filmmaking in this period, while also introducing students to various theoretical and critical perspectives on the relationship between the visual and the aural.

MDST 3505 Special Topics in Diversity and Identity in Media 

This course will offer historical, comparative, and critical perspectives on issues of diversity and identity in media studies. Topics may include the relationship between media and underrepresented groups, media use in identity construction, masculinity and feminine role models in media, media power, etc.

- Asian American Media Cultures  This course examines the diverse production by and representations of Asian Americans and their influences on U.S. media cultures that include film, television, literature, and social media platforms. We explore how Asian Americans shape and intersect with discussions about race, gender, nationality, migration and technology and the evolution of media stereotypes that range from the “model minority” and “the tiger mother” to the “techno-geek”.

Intersectionality and the Media  Rooted in the scholarship of women of color and utilizing critical cultural studies, media studies, feminist and queer studies, and critical race theory, this class explores the various ways in which intersectional identity both is and is not reflected in U.S. media texts. The goal of the course is to help articulate how identity functions for people living in a media society.

Introduction to Media Fandom  This course will explore the phenomenon of media fandom in historical and contemporary, domestic US and international contexts, investigating what meanings it holds for fans, how it is performed or otherwise enacted by fans, and how it informs everyday lives and identities. The emphasis in this introductory course will be specifically on media fandom, although students are welcome to think about what we discuss in the context of other kinds of fandom (sports, etc.).

- The Children’s Film  In this course we will examine the children’s film from the golden age of the child star of the 1930s to the contemporary family blockbuster. We will focus on how the genre gave birth to children’s consumer culture and how it changed the meaning of childhood. To explore these issues we will apply a range of critical, textual, institutional and cultural perspectives to a selection of live action and animated feature films.

- Gender, Society, Film  This course assumes an historical perspective on the representation of gender and sexuality throughout the history of popular US film, in conjunction with the important historical events of each era examined. Film Concentration Elective.

- Stars, Celebrities, and Fame  This course explores stardom, celebrity, and fame as it is produced, circulated, and consumed. Through covering a broad range of topics and modes of analysis, this course examines the ways in which celebrity is conceived, constructed, performed, and discussed. Stars, Celebrities, and Fame introduces students to the history of mediated celebrity in the United States, analysis of celebrity images/texts, relationship between celebrity and ideology.

MDST 3508 Advanced Topics in Media Practice

This practice-based course will build on previous knowledge and/or experience in various forms of media, including video, podcasting, film, etc. 

- Advanced Sports Journalism This course will build upon the knowledge, critical thinking and understanding established in Sports Journalism as we analyze, examine and produce narrative, non-fiction, multi-platform sports storytelling. Students will critically analyze published work across mediums while producing their own in-depth work demonstrating a strong understanding of journalistic practices and ethos. Practice of Media Only (does not count as a 3000-level elective).

- Documentary Media Production This course is designed to give students an introduction to the practical aspects of making a documentary, from research and development to production and postproduction. Through workshops, screenings, discussion, and hands-on production projects, this course emphasizes the art and technology of single-camera field production skills in the context of relevant ethical and social issues. Practice of Media or 3000-level elective.

MDST 3510 Topics in Media Research

This hands-on course prepares students to read, evaluate, and design research in media studies. Drawing on critical, historical, administrative, and industrial traditions in the field, students will learn to assess the validity and anticipate the ethical requirements of various methods & data collection procedures. Following a theme selected by the instructor, the course culminates with each student proposing a new, original research study. Required Course for all Media Studies majors. Restricted to 3rd year Media Studies majors or by instructor permission. This course may serve as an MDST elective for majors who have already fulfilled the research requirement.

- Communities and Cultures of Media Fandom This course explores media fandom through the dual lenses of communities of shared interest and sometimes-clashing cultures within the broader context of “contact zones.” In particular, we’ll explore how the material artifacts of fan cultures - fanzines, fanfiction archives, convention websites, promotional parataxis, etc. - both reflect and contribute to fans’ sense of community belonging (or lack thereof).

- Digital Media and the Environment Our digital worlds are made from hard stuff: wires, metal, and plastics etc. This course explores an environmental history of digital media from the telegraph to artificial intelligence. Students will learn how analyze the hidden supply chains of digital devices and evaluate policy solutions to address the global issue of e-waste. We will also consider the potential for digital media to be a tool for environmental activism.

- Doing Film History In this course, students will learn and experience hands-on various ways of conducting film history, including textual and paratextual analysis, archival research, and ethnographic research. We will also discuss such issues as ethics and inclusion in historical film research. The course will culminate in an original group research project. Film Concentration Elective

- Fake News: Truth, Misinformation, & Public Trust Fake news has captured the attention of politicians, the media, and the general public since 2016. But the concept is hardly new; it has existed in some form for centuries. In this course, we will explore the history of fake news in different media, culminating in an examination of the modern phenomenon of fake news around the world. We will learn information literacy techniques for evaluating news sources.

- Games Research  In this course, we will chronologically trace the various intersections of Japanese cinema with industries and filmmakers in Europe, the United States, and East Asia. We will put Japanese film and filmmakers squarely in the context of global film, as one participant in a transnational conversation about film style, narrative, and industries that has continued since the earliest days of cinema.

- Marketing Media: Theory, History & Critique  Contemporary digital media is increasingly promotional marketing content, designed to deliver desired products and services to targeted consumers. In this research methods course, we will explore theoretical concepts about the role of marketing and media in capitalism, study the history of consumer society, and critique the targeted appeals we receive in our everyday lives.- Media Policy This course offers an overview of media policy and regulation from a critical perspective. Through this lens we interrogate the regulatory systems that administer and interpret media policies, and the public policy apparatus those relationships create. Our goal is to assess American media policy in light of “the public interest.” The course provides students with the tools necessary to critique legal and policy decisions and offer new proposals.

Media Bodies  Increasingly, we use media to better understand our bodies - MRIs, fitness trackers, bluetooth hearing aids, and other media help to construct bodily health, ability, and gender. We will study a range of tech that mediate bodies, and also consider how media representations of "normal" bodies effect social life and mental health. 

- Media and Power: Critical Political Economy Approaches This course takes a critical approach towards media industries as situated within larger national and international power relations. From traditional news and entertainment media to digital outlets and social media, we will study how power operates through structures—including ownership, profit imperatives, advertising and public relations—and ideologies, discourses and government policies that sustain these arrangements.

- Race and Digital Media Studies What does race have to do with technology & internet culture? Do digital surveillance, AI & algorithms perpetuate or create new forms of racial violence? Is Silicon Valley a racial capitalist project? This course explores the myriad ways that race has shaped our digital world—from infrastructure & tech policies to algorithms & data collection, from interfaces that shape engagement to communities of color who resist the status quo, expand the digital public sphere, & invent new ways to express their creativity, joy, & desire. Diversity & Inclusion Elective.

- Race and Media In this course, we explore the landscape of media cultures in the U.S. along the axes of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality with particular emphasis on the construction of race. We explore issues related to white supremacy, anti-blackness, mixed-race, settler colonialism, immigrant and transqueer phobia, and the production of racial difference. 

- True Crime and Social Justice In this course, we analyze true crime through a social justice lens. From the 1979 feminist manifesto “Who Is Killing Us?” to the podcast Serial, we consider how true crime exposes the imperfections and fallacies of the American justice system. This course invites you to challenge the construction of race, class, and gender in true crime mainstream narratives, while offering a counter-narrative based on rigorous research and proper evidence. Diversity & Inclusion/Film Concentration Elective.

MDST 3559 New Course in Media Studies

This course provides the opportunity to offer a new course in the subject of Media Studies. If offered, topics will be listed on the course offerings page for the particular semester.

- Better Call Saul This course examines how the television show Better Call Saul employs innovative visual and written storytelling to explore crucial aspects of contemporary American life: the influence of media technologies (e.g., telephone; film; advertisement; document); the epidemic of loneliness; social class division; the power of charismatic authority; the business of conning; the allure and limits of self-reinvention; the precarity of the rule of law. Film Concentration Elective (spring 2024)

- Friday Night Lights This course will explore the TV show Friday Night Lights through study and analysis of the show's narrative, characters, themes, filming style and techniques and the media's response. Through episodic and script examinations, students will explore topics including: the concept of 'team' versus individual, the role of coach as mentor and father, race relations and gender explorations through sport, socioeconomic and class structures as seen through sport (in this case, high school football), rivalry, adaptations of bestselling books to television series, familial impact, the significance of high school football in America--including from a media perspective, and the media's role/influence in sports storytelling in small town America. Diversity & Inclusion Elective (spring 2024)

MDST 3600 Women and Television

Examines how television addresses women, how it represents women, and how women respond to the medium. Explores the relationship between the female audience and television by focusing on both contemporary and historical issues. Areas of particular concern include: how women have responded to television as technology; how specific genres have targeted women; how female-focused specialty channels have addressed women; and how specific programming and genres have mediated the changing status of women from the 1950s to the present. Prerequisite: MDST 2000.

MDST 3602 Television, New Media, and Society 

For the last 60 years, TV has been one of the most important cultural forms in the American mediascape. Mindful of this past, this course will emplore contemporary issues in television studies as we enter the digital age. How does time-shifting technology fundamentally alter our conceptions of TV? What does Hulu mean for the television industry? What does the emergence of 'quality TV' imply about TV's rich past as a shared cultural product? 

MDST 3610 Film Under Fascism: Ideology and Entertainment 

The cinema of the fascist dictatorships of the 1930s and 40s stands as the primary historical example of the application of mass media to the ends of mass manipulation. The propagandistic strategies of fascist cinema were often subtle, however, and the workings of fascist ideologies were hidden from spectators under the surface appearance of  “pure entertainment” or of informative documentary. This course will examine the ideological content and the formal structure of fascist films, focusing primarily on cinema in the Third Reich, but also considering the cinemas of fascist Italy and Spain. Among the topics we will address are the way in which a militarist and nationalist spirit was supported by fascist popular films, their participation in racist worldviews, and their treatment of gender issues. We will also investigate definitions of  “fascist aesthetics,” the often complex modes of address to spectators of Nazi films, and the relationship between fascist cinema and the classical cinema of Hollywood.

MDST 3630 Screening Terrorism

This course examines contemporary cinematic & televisual representations of terrorism. It aims to do the following: to promote critical awareness of the ways in which terrorism is depicted on screen, particularly in the post-9/11 world; to encourage exploration of the complex ways in which real acts of terror involve performance & theatics; to address the ethics and responsibilities of film and TV in re-creating acts of terror on screen. Film Concentration Elective.

MDST 3640 American Gangster Films  

This course offers in-depth examination of an enduring, flexible genre in American cinema: the gangster film. The aim of this course is to trace the genre’s development from the early silent film period to the present as a means of exploring artistic and technological achievements marking the history of American film; to explore the extensive influence the genre has had on the nature of the American film industry; and to explore how the representation of gangster life on screen articulates crucial anxieties, frustrations, and desires circulating in American society at the time of the film’s creation. To pursue this last aim, students will consider carefully a number of issues dramatized in and/or raised by the films studied, including the following: the dream of social mobility; the myth of self-reinvention; the politics of cultural assimilation; the thematics of consumer culture’s investments in style; the psychology of codes of masculinity; the dynamics of the law’s dependence on violence; the romance of the nuclear family; the underworld family as model of corporate enterprise; the increasing interface of bodies and machines and the impact of technology on the sense of self. Film Concentration Elective.

MDST 3650 Shooting the Western  

This course will provide an overview of the enduring genre of the American Western in its classic and revised forms. The course will address the social and historical contexts informing the films. Students will be asked to perform both cultural and formal analysis of the cinematic texts. Film Concentration Elective.

MDST 3661 Media Bodies

Increasingly, we use media to better understand out bodies - MRIs, fitness trackers, bluetooth hearing aids, and other media help to construct bodily health, ability, and gender. We will study a range of tech that mediate bodies, and also consider how media representations of "normal" bodies effect social life and mential health. Prerequisite: MDST 2000.

MDST 3662 Disability and Media 

Disability is a pervasive, yet little studied, dimension of popular media. This class considers the stereotypes, interventions, and politics of on-screen images of disability as well as the ways in which disability affects the production and reception of media texts and technologies. Thus, we will watch a range of disability media, engage with disability cultures, and consider necessary additions to media experience (such as close captioning). 

MDST 3665 Digital Media Accessibility 

Accessibility--building digital technologies that they can be used by people with disabilities--involves specific technological, critical, and interpersonal skills. This teaches practical web development skills alongside theoretical questions about the meanings of access, disability, design and the ethics of technological innovation. Practice of Media or 3000-level elective.

MDST 3670 Sports, Media, and Society
This course will explore the role that sports have played in the development of media and society, primarily but not exclusively in the United States. It will consider such issues as amateurism, labor, performance-enhancing drugs, race, gender, sexuality, body image, and the role of sports within American universities.

MDST 3680 The News Media

This course studies the changing quality of news as it evolves in the digital era. How do you know what you are getting? What’s good and bad about news online, news shared on social media, news on Facebook, or news filtered through the satire of Colbert and Oliver? Should we fear the collapse of the newspaper? And—is the news you consume strong enough to prep you as citizens and future leaders?

MDST 3700 Newswriting II

This advanced newswriting course trains students to practice ‘point-of-view’ journalism, and to understand it as a controversial but credible alternative to the dominant model of ‘objectivity’ on the part of the news media. Prerequisite: Basic newswriting course and/or experience working on college newspaper (or equivalent) or literary maga- or e-zine. Practice of Media Only (this course does not count as a 3000-level elective).

MDST 3701 New Media Culture (3 credits)

As a result of digitization, the rise of new media has forced scholars to reconsider the relationship between individuals and the texts that compose their cultural worlds. The theoretical implications of niche audience, niche content, and niche marketing strategies remain contested intellectual terrain. If new media has indeed fractured contemporary audiences, will common culture become merely a relic within American collective memory? Did this common culture ever exist at all? To answer such questions, this course will use a variety of theoretical approaches from media studies, cultural studies, and sociology to help students develop critical thinking and writing skills. Assessment will be based on four papers assigned throughout the term.


MDST 3702 Computers and Languages (3 credits)

Issues in the use of computers to study, model, create, and process language. Sustained but not exclusive attention to methods and approaches in Computational Linguistics. Discussion of programming methods; support for computer science students wanting to experiment with language projects. The use of computers in linguistics and impact of computers on language. Primarily taught via lecture with discussion. Short papers and a final project.


MDST 3703 Introduction to Digital Liberal Arts (3 credits) Practice of Media OR Elective

Students will gain a practical and critical introduction to key technologies that are shaping research, innovation, and critical thinking across the liberal arts curriculum: specific technologies, including a programming language, that will empower them to better envision and develop technology-mediated projects in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Students will reflect on the history and discourse in these areas.


MDST 3704 Games and Play (3 credits)

This course is an introduction to game studies, surveying theories of play and research on contemporary videogames to “folk games” to sports/e-sports. Historic tensions and debates in game studies will form the foundation for the course, then students will engage with game studies as inherently interdisciplinary, developing novel research projects on games and play as well as interrogating their own play experiences.


MDST 3705 Code, Language, and Media (3 credits) Practice of Media OR Elective

Introduction to the theory and practice of the database as media form in the context of the digital liberal arts. Students review critical literature about databases, study examples of their use in projects from a variety of disciplines, and engage in the actual design of a database application as a course project. Topics include cross-cultural modes of classification, data models, big data, visualization, and building web-based databases.


MDST 3706 Media in China: Technology, Policy and Commerce (3 credits)  Media Policy and Ethics Concentration

The growth of media industries in China sits at the intersection between commerce, technology and policy. The objective of the course is to cultivate a rigorous understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of these three areas within the context of China's global expansion. Students will also be expected to develop fresh critical perspectives on the significance of analysis of industry practice as a means to critique media texts.


MDST 3710 Comics & Sequential Art (3 credits)

This course addresses the medium of comics, including comic books, graphic novels, la bande dessinée, fumetti, and manga. Addressing comics as media, we will investigate comics form, publishing, creative movements, and adaptations into televisual media. Students will engage with primary comics sources, comic studies scholarship, and each others’ creative work. 


MDST 3712 Interactive Storytelling (3 credits)

This course addresses the medium of comics, including comic books, graphic novels, la bande dessinée, fumetti, and manga. Addressing comics as media, we will investigate comics form, publishing, creative movements, and adaptations into televisual media. Students will engage with primary comics sources, comic studies scholarship, and each others’ creative work.


MDST 3720 Social Media and the Global South (3 credits) By request, this class can fulfill the MDST Global (3504) requirement.

This course addresses the medium of comics, including comic books, graphic novels, la bande dessinée, fumetti, and manga. Addressing comics as media, we will investigate comics form, publishing, creative movements, and adaptations into televisual media. Students will engage with primary comics sources, comic studies scholarship, and each others’ creative work.


MDST 3740 Cultures of Hip-Hop (3 credits)

This course explores the origins and impacts of American hip-hop as a cultural form in the last forty years, and maps the ways that a local subculture born of an urban underclass has risen to become arguably the dominant form of 21st-century global popular culture. While primarily focused on music, we will also explore how forms such as dance, visual art, film, and literarture have influenced and been influenced by hip-hop style and culture. 


MDST 3742 Athletes, Activism, and the Media (3 credits) Diversity & Inclusion Elective; Media Policy and Ethics Concentration

This course examines the history of athletes as activists and the media's coverage and understanding (and at times, misunderstanding?) of those movements. How did the media cover early protests and activism from athletes? How has that coverage changed in subsequent years? How have movements paralleled larger movements (MeToo, Black Lives Matter)? We will also look at political ties to athlete activism, examining how each sphere affects the other. 


MDST 3750 Money, Media, and Technology (3 credits)  Media Policy and Ethics Concentration

Money is one of the oldest media technologies in the world, but in recent years a variety of experiments from Venmo to Bitcoin have emerged, promising to reinvent the form of money itself. This class looks at the historical, social, and cultural dimensions of money as a media technology.


MDST 3751 Value, Values, Valuation (3 credits)  Media Policy and Ethics Concentration

Measuring "value" is an important feature of media industries and contemporary life more broadly. This class asks how value is determined, according to what value systems, through what systems of valuation. We will look at taste, metrics, reviews, awards, likes, retweets, and ratings, to try to understand how people answer the question, "What is valuable?"


MDST 3755 Social Media and Society (3 credits)

This class examines computer-mediated communication forms known as “social media." What makes these technologies "social" or "media"? From algorithms to selfies, most aspects of social media have been met with both moral panics and utopian pronouncements.


MDST 3757 Design, Technology, Media (3 credits) Practice of Media OR Elective

This course will introduce Media Studies students to, and also critique, the theory and practice of design thinking and research in media. There will be a strong practice component. No technical skills required.


MDST 3760 Reading Black Digital Media (3 credits) Diversity & Inclusion Elective

Using a mix of scholarly and popular-press readings and an examination of digital artifacts, we will analyze the creations and contributions of Black digital culture from the mid-90s to the present. Covering topics including the early Black blogosphere; the creation of niche content sites like BlackPlanet.com; the emergence of Black Twitter; the circulation of memes, and the use second-screening.


MDST 3800 Field Experience in Media Studies (1 credit) Restricted to instructor permission and Media Studies majors

Provides an opportunity for students to get credit for  field work, in the area of media studies. Students must put a proposal together for the project with a faculty sponsor, which must be approved by the add/drop deadlines. Restricted to Media Studies Majors.


MDST 3809 New Media in New York (3 credits)  Practice of Media OR Elective. Restricted to permission instructor, offered in J-term only.

Examines why New York City remains the center of global journalism. 


MDST 3811 History of American Broadcast News (3 credits)

This course traces the development and evolution of radio and television news from its origins in the 1920s to the current era. We’ll examine themes such as “sensationalism” versus “seriousness” in this journalistic form; the development of celebrity anchors; the convention of “breaking news;” debates over “consensus” news versus “liberal bias.” We’ll examine how radio and TV news has handled the coverage of war and crisis events; how presidents have attempted to bend the medium to their political advantage, and how social change movements, like the civil rights movement, have used the medium as a platform for their causes; how gender and race concerns have been handled by the medium historically, along with the fact that women and minority groups have long been underrepresented in radio and TV newsrooms. We’ll debate the extent to which broadcast journalism should be regulated; whether satire can be considered a form of journalism; if Americans would historically have been better served with a publicly-funded system rather than a commercially-run industry. Finally, we will also grapple with what is truly new and not new about our current “new media” environment. How can an understanding of the development of American broadcast news help us better understand, navigate, and intervene in our current news media system – as news media users and as (potentially) news media workers? 


MDST 3830 History of Film I (3 credits) Film Concentration Core OR Elective. Includes required screening sessions. [cross-listed with DRAM 3830]

Analyzes the development of the silent film, 1895 to 1928; emphasizes the technical and thematic links between national schools of cinema art and the contributions of individual directors. Includes weekly film screenings. 


MDST 3840 History of Film II (3 credits) Film Concentration Core OR Elective. Includes required screening sessions. Prerequisites: MDST/DRAM 2810 or 3830 or instructor permission. [cross-listed with DRAM 3840]

Analyzes the development of film art from the inception of sound to the 1950s. Includes weekly film screenings. 


MDST 3850 History of Film III (3 credits) Film Concentration Core OR Elective. Includes required screening sessions. [cross-listed with DRAM 3850]

A history of narrative, documentary and experimental film, 1955-77. Developments in the aesthetics of film are examined in the context of socio-economic, political and cultural conditions specific to different historical moments.  Includes weekly film screenings. Prerequisite: MDST/DRAM 3830, 3840, or instructor permission. Cross-listed with DRAM 3850.


MDST 3883 Superhero Media (3 credits) Film Concentration Elective.

This course addresses the genre of the “superhero” across multiple media, looking at its roots in myth, its rise in print media and comics, its adaptation in television and film, and its current role as the driver of multi-billion-dollar transmedia franchises. This course addresses scholarly perspectives drawn from media industries research, transmedia storytelling, media representation, and other related media studies areas. 


MDST 3900 Specialized Field Experience in Media Studies (1-3 credits) Restricted to instructor permission and Media Studies majors

This course is reserved for Media Studies students interested in receiving credit for participation in student-led and UVA-affiliated enterprises that are media-related under the guidance of a faculty member or industry professional in the area of media studies. Students must put a proposal together for the project with a faculty sponsor, which must be approved by the add/drop deadlines.


MDST 3903 Media and Protest: The 1960s (3 credits)

Explores the protest movements of the 1960s through the lens of media coverage in the mainstream press of the day – newspapers, general interest newsmagazines, photojournalism, television, popular culture, as well as the Movement’s own underground press.  Purpose is to understand a fascinating and often misunderstood moment in American history but also to investigate what that period can tell us about our current moment of protest and activism.


MDST 3912 Adapting Media (3 credits)

In this course, we will focus on media adaptation across multiple media (film, games, comics, books) from multiple critical, industrial, and creative perspectives. Students will engage with existing Media Studies scholarship on media adaptation, dive into adaptations first-hand through watching/reading/playing multiple media, and finally develop, individually and in groups, critical understandings of media adaptation through writing.


MDST 4000 Media Theory and Methods (3 credits) Restricted to Media Studies Distinguished Majors

An introduction to research methods in media studies. Intended as a foundation for thesis and project work for students in the DMP program. Covers subjects such as research design, ethics, people-based methods (ethnography, surveys, interviews) and textual analysis. Prerequisite: MDST 3000. This course will not fulfill the capstone (4000 level) requirement.


MDST 4010 Distinguished Majors Thesis Writing or Research Project (3 credits) Restricted to Media Studies Distinguished Majors

Writing of a thesis or production or a project with appropriately researched documentation, under the supervision of the faculty DMP thesis readers or project supervisor.


MDST 4101 Privacy & Surveillance (3 credits) Satisfies second writing requirement. Media Policy and Ethics Concentration

Can we preserve dignity and privacy in the age of Facebook? This seminar will consider the history and current applications of technologies & cultures of surveillance. How & why did we get to the point where almost all of our activities leave a trace? What sorts of laws and policies do we need to protect our sense of personal integrity? Students will conduct two brief oral presentations (accompanied by a video) & produce a 20-page research paper.


MDST 4102 Qualitative Methods in Media Audience Research (3 credits) Satisfies second writing requirement

This course is designed to be a practical introduction to how to do audience research in the field of culturally-oriented communication study. The primary work students will be doing is to prepare research projects illustrating the in-depth application of one (or possibly multiple) methods of research employed in studying the cultural audience.


MDST 4105 Media and Citizenship (3 credits) Media Policy and Ethics Concentration. Satisfies second writing requirement. 

This course provides a critical perspective on the relationships of media to citizenship. It asks questions central to explaining the role of media in political and national life, including the following: What notions of national and political membership are forwarded by mainstream media? What media spaces are viable for the political agency of racial, sexual, and economic minorities and how do these spaces work?


MDST 4106 Media and the Kennedy Era (3 credits) Restricted to Permission of Instructor. Satisfies second writing requirement. 

The Kennedy era continues to live on powerfully in the American imagination over half a century following JFK's January 1961 inauguration. This course examines mass media – network television, journalism, photography, advertising, cinema – both during the Kennedy years and after to explore the impact, ideas, ideals, and iconography of this always fascinating presidency and its legacy. From the new phenomena of televised presidential debates and campaign advertising, to a president and First Lady as celebrities, to cultural anxieties about nuclear Armageddon, to conspiracy theories following JFK’s assassination, the Kennedy years and their aftermath present useful comparisons to our own time.


MDST 4107 Feminism and the Public Sphere (3 credits)

This class will examine the normative basis of the public sphere and critiques of its current structure and ask: What would a more inclusive vision of political participation and communication look like? In attempting to build an answer, we will examine a number of works on communication ethics, politics and media, with an emphasis on feminist and queer scholarship.


MDST 4108 Media, Drugs, and Violence in Latin America (3 credits) Satisfies second writing requirement

This course will give you a critical understanding of the complex relationships between social violence, drug cartels, media, and Latin American nations. Together we will wrestle with the way Mexican, Colombian, and Brazilian drug violence has impacted and shaped new artistic forms and media practices that confront or, complexly, support the violence.


MDST 4110 Gender Non-Conformity in Media Culture (3 credits) Satisfies second writing requirement

As one of the primary cultural drivers of common sense, shared values, and political ideology, media are certainly influential stroytellers. This course creates space for considering media's role in articulating and fashioning the limits and possibilities of gender identity. We will pay particular attention to representations of gender non-conformity in popular culture such as female masculinity, male femininity, and transgender subjectivity. 


MDST 4210 Global Environmental Media (3 credits)

From analysis of documentary, narrative film, animation, gaming, experimental video, and social media, the class will provide students with the tools to bridge the gap between media and scientific messages about environmental issues. Students will develop critical tools to understand the aesthetic, environmental and industrial characteristics of different media practices related to some of the most significant issues facing our world.


MDST 4211 Kungfu and Korean Dramas: Transnational Asian Media (3 credits)

Film production between Asian and Euro-American companies is rapidly on the rise. The fundamental objective of the course is to cultivate a rigorous theoretical understanding of the media industries within a global Asian network. We will ask: What are the cultural, political and economic implications of transnational co-productions both for global and domestic film markets?


MDST 4230 Advanced Multimedia Reporting (3 credits) Practice of Media OR Elective

This course will teach higher level reporting skills. Students in teams will research, write, shoot and edit 3 long form, TV-style news reports, each with a web posting. Content focuses on investigative, government related, or sports and business journalism, but creative reporting videos also encouraged. Many hours required outside of class for interviews and editing. Pre-reqs include Basic Multimedia, or student journalism or internships.


MDST 4251 Histories of Games (3 credits) Instructor permission required.

This course presents approaches to understanding multiple histories of games. Focusing on a central game series, franchise, or genre, students will engage with the history of game development, the impact of game play, and community practices around games. Students will engage with archival research, conducting individual research projects on game histories.


MDST 4310 Celebrity Studies (3 credits) Film Elective

This course explores celebrity, stardom, fame, and self-branding as it is produced, circulated, and consumed for and by people of color. Paying particular attention to how race and ethnicity intersect with the phenomenon of celebrity in the media, this highly student-driven class will investigate celebrities of color through both historical and analytical lenses.


MDST 4351 Aural Histories: Edison to Auto-Tune (3 credits) [cross-listed with AMST 4351]

This is a course about the role of technology and technological innovation in the production and consumption of 20th and 21st century music. We will begin with the invention of the phonograph and the birth of the recording industry and continue up through the present day. 


MDST 4380 Violence & Media (3 credits)

Violence in Media is a seminar in which we study different productions of the visual representation of violence in America. The course includes viewing films, looking at photographs, readings from social theory and philosophy, and writing a term paper. We raise questions around the ethics of creating and consuming representations of violence, both representations that show fictional violence, in movies, representations of real  violence.


MDST 4405  Internet Policy and Regulation (3 credits)  Prerequisite: MDST 3405. Media Policy and Ethics Concentration. Satisfies second writing requirement. 

This course is designed to give students an in-depth understanding of the policies and regulations that govern the Internet. Using critical, comparative and institutional approaches to policy and regulation, the primary focus will be on questions of access (rather than content), and the institutions and organizations that regulate the Internet both at home and abroad.


MDST 4411 Media Technologies and Free Speech (3 credits) Media Policy and Ethics Concentration

Should computer code and hyperlinks be considered speech, protected by the First Amendment? Silent film? These are just some of the questions that new communication technologies have spurred for US speech law. We will explore how different media are treated under the First Amendment and discuss key legal issues associated with communications media, including censorship, corporate speech, and conflicts between copyright and free expression.


MDST 4510 Capstone Topic

A capstone seminar, this course offers students a supervised opportunity to pursue original research in media studies. Related to a theme selected by the instructor, the project will entail design of a research question, extensive collection and analysis of literature and data, and completion of a 15-20 page paper that provides new, critical insight or information on the subject examined. Required Course for all Media Studies majors. Restricted to 4th year Media Studies majors.

- Celebrities of Color  Paying particular attention to how race and ethnicity intersect with the phenomenon of celebrity in the media, this highly student-driven class will investigate celebrities of color through both historical and analytical lenses. In examining the increasingly self-aware culture associated with celebrity, we will discuss the ways in which celebrity is conceived, constructed, performed, and discussed, as well as how it shapes notions of identity.

- Civil Rights Movement and the Media  Course examines the crucial relationship between the Civil Rights Movement and mass media from 1950s through early 1970s, looking at a variety of media forms: Hollywood cinema, network television, mainstream newspapers, photojournalism, the black press, and news as primary documents that can tell us something about American race relations during this period and how the nation responded to challenges posed by a powerful social change movement.

- Creative Labor and the Digital Media Economy   What does it mean to work as an influencer or a YouTuber? This course examines media/creative labor in the digital economy by thinking about aspirational/creative labor’s relationship to inequality and precarity, the rise of globalization and digital technologies, and the individualization of digital media labor. We also study these modes of labor through the tech industry’s impact on media work cultures. 

- Designing Play  This course provides students hands-on experiences designing play. Focusing on non-digital game design and text-based interactive fiction, students will develop design practices over the term in groups and individually, creating multiple “story games” and interactive narratives, critically evaluating the design of these media.

- Fandom & Identity   This capstone course is a deep dive into how media fandom, in particular, both intersects with and informs individual identity. Beginning with a consideration of the psychology of fannish attachments, the course explores how the multiple subjectivities (of race, gender, class, sexuality, nationality, and so on) that comprise one's identity may - or may not - find a 'home' in the affinity-based communities of fandom. Particular attention will be given to fandom communities as 'contact zones' - sites of struggle and negotiation informed by the identity cultures fans bring to them. Diversity & Inclusion Elective.

- Intensive Journalism  This capstone seminar explores the art and process of narrative non-fiction through an examination of the genres and forms of distribution like magazines, web sites, and podcasts. 

- Internet-Distributed TV in a Global Context  This course aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of television in the Internet era. Employing a global approach to television, we will contemplate and probe the recent rise of Internet portals, VOD, and SVOD services and the varied practices, incipient norms, and content associated with these. Film Concentration Elective

- Media and Modern Life in India  This advanced seminar offers a critical introduction to media, culture, and politics in postcolonial India. Film Concentration Elective

- Media, App, and Design The goal of Media, App, and Design is to solve real problems in the design and use of technology, making computer-based systems easier to use and more effective for people and organizations. Ease of use and effectiveness are critical to the success of people interacting with systems, including software systems, home, office and factory appliances, and web and phone applications.

- Memory, Media, & Justice  In this course, we draw on counter-narratives of digital divide perspectives to inform our study and creation of open, accessible, and interactive digital media projects using social media data related to social justice work. Our purpose to is to empower marginalized communities to preserve and tell their own stories through equitable digital archiving.

- Political Economy of Communication This survey course introduces students to the political economy of media. Central themes include political economy’s historical development, its usefulness to the study of media and communications, and its contemporary applications in scholarly research. Students will be introduced to the power dynamics and institutional forces that impact media institutions, industries, ownership, cultural production, consumption and distribution in the US and elsewhere.

- Qualitative Research Methods for Digital Media This course is a capstone seminar that offers students a supervised opportunity to pursue original research in media studies with a specific focus on digital media objects, social media communication, and internet cultures. Through the semester we will pay attention to several readings and case studies that integrate theory with practice and discuss the challenges and ethical issues that may confront digital media researchers using qualitative approaches in today’s convergent media environment. Students will learn to apply methods such as interviewing, focus groups, historical research, oral histories, ethnography and participant observation, textual analysis to study digital media texts and cultures. Their final research project will incorporate qualitative research questions, extensive collection and analysis of literature and data, and completion of a 15-20 page paper that provides new, critical insight or information in digital media studies.

- Science & Technology Studies This seminar introduces graduate and undergraduate students to the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and its major ideas and texts. Students will become familiar with the major questions and theories that have been debated by STS scholars and learn how the focus of the field has changed over time.

- Sex & Gender Go to the Movies This class looks at the history of the ways in which gender and sexuality have been represented over the decades of popular Hollywood sound cinema. We also consider the ways in which cinema has helped to define dominant cultural ideas about gender differences and the ways in which feminist scholars have responded to these definitions by criticizing existing media images and by creating some alternatives of their own. The course examines the notion that popular cinema has influenced our development as gendered individuals as posited by different forms of feminist and media theory. Film Concentration Elective.

MDST 4559 New Course in Media Studies 

This course provides the opportunity to offer a new course in the subject of Media Studies.  If offered, topics will be listed on the course offerings page for the particular semester.

MDST 4660 Watching the Detectives

This course examines a number of American detective films and how the portrait of the hard-boiled private eye dramatizes concerns about class, race, gender relations, urbanization, the rationalization of experience, the limits of self-knowledge, the blurring of boundaries between bodies and machines, and the collapse of distinction between private life and public life. Film Elective.

MDST 4670 White Out: Screening White Supremacy

The course will draw from multiple genres and time periods to present an overview of how cinematic projections of whiteness have served to reinforce white supremacy. Equally important, students will examine films that counter the medium’s terrifying consecration and preservation of white privilege, films that hold up whiteness for critical inspection. Film Elective. Satisfies second writing requirement.

MDST 4700 Theory of New Media 

A seminar on the theoretical study of new and/or digital media. Topics such as digital representations of history, culture, race, gender, identity, and language; the nature of new media; technological changes in media; hypertext as medium; online community. Some close readings of new media objects. Satisfies second writing requirement.

MDST 4701 Media and Everyday Life 

This course turns a critical eye towards media’s relationship to everyday life. It conceptualize media, such as cell phones, television, and YouTube for example, as central forces in representing, demarcating and franchising the ordinary. We will explore the construction of ordinariness in media as well as the ways in which audiences engage with media in daily life to achieve `taken for grantedness’. Satisfies second writing requirement.

MDST 4703 Technology and Media 

This class will explore various social, cultural, legal, and political issues that have arisen in recent years as a result of new communicative technologies. The two main technological changes that will concern us are the digitization of information and culture and the rise of networks within society and politics. Satisfies second writing requirement.

MDST 4705 Spanish Mass Media

This is an introductory course to Spanish mass media. The course gives students a critical understandings of the roles mass media plays in Spanish society, culture, and politics. The emphasis of the course is on sociological approaches to media, in particular studies of how radio and television participate in the making and remaking of modern Spain.

MDST 4712 Gaming the World

Through engagement with multiple academic disciplinary perspectives (media studies, game design, education, and social justice literatures) and professional (game development) discourses, students will develop critical understandings of these media and their potential social impact. Critical evaluation of the connections and tensions between media and the scholarly discourses around them will serve as the intellectual backbone for the course, aimed toward the "Critical Game" project, which serves as the bulk of the assessment for the course. Prerequisite: MDST 3704, 3712, or instructor permission.

MDST 4803 Computational Media 

Computers are universal media. Our intimacy with computers shapes how we think about ourselves, our communities, histories, cultures, and society. Learn to program these "thinking machines" as an act of philosophical inquiry and personal expression, challenging your beliefs about creativity, intelligence, randomness, and communication. Students with no previous experience are especially welcome! Practice of Media OR Elective.

MDST 4960 Advanced Independent Projects in Media Studies 

This course is designed to allow students to pursue independent research and study of a topic that is not contained within the course offerings of Media Studies. Restricted to Permission of Instructor.

MDST 4970 Distinguished Majors Thesis Writing or Research Project

Independent research, writing or production under the supervision of the faculty DMP thesis readers, toward the DMP thesis or project.