Humanities 270/History 200C               Theories of the Media             Spring 2002, Tues 1-4 pm, HIB 341


Professors John Carlos Rowe and Mark Poster


Texts to be Purchased:

     Course Reader available at the Clone Factory

     Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media (MIT Press)

     Mark Poster, ed., Jean Baudrillard: Selected Writings (Stanford UP)

     Michael Bull, Sounding Out the City (Berg)

     Anna McCarthy, Ambient Television (Duke UP)

     James Der Derian, The Virilio Reader (Blackwell)

     Mark Poster, What’s the Matter with the Internet? (Minnesota UP)

     Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Harvard UP)

     Raymond Williams, Television (Routledge UK)



Readings and Topics:    


Week 1 (April 2): Introduction to Media Theory (Poster)


Week 2 (April 9): Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media (Rowe) chapters 1, 2, 4, 6, 20, 21, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33


Week 3 (April 16): The Frankfurt School (Poster)

            Bertold Brecht, “On Radio”

            Theodor Adorno & Max Horkheimer, “The Culture Industry” and “The Culture Industry Revisited”

            Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”


Week 4 (April 23): Raymond Williams, Television (Rowe)


Week 5 (April 30): Stuart Hall (in Reader) (Rowe)

               Stuart Hall and Paddy Whannel, "Popular Art and Mass Culture," from The Popular Arts (1964)

Stuart Hall, "Introduction to Media Studies at the Centre," "Encoding/Decoding," and "Recent Developments in Theories of Language and Ideology: A Critical Note," from Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972-1979 (1980)

Stuart Hall, "The Meaning of New Times," from New Times: The Changing Face of Politics in the 1990s (1989).

               Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”

 Lisa Nakamura, “The Race in/for Cyberspace” (online at click on the “History 182: The Internet” button and you will find it)


Week 6 (May 7): Michael Bull, Sounding Out the City (Poster) pp. 1-16, 115-195 Also skim Part II

               Anna McCarthy, Ambient Television (Rowe) pp. 1-62, 117-153, 225-251


Week 7 (May 14): Jean Baudrillard: Selected Writings (Poster) Chapters 1, 2, 7, 9, 11


Week 8 (May 21): The Virilio Reader (Poster) – Chapters 1, 4, 7, 9, 10, 12   


Week 9 (May 28): Mark Poster, What’s the Matter with the Internet? (Poster and Rowe) – 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9


Week 10 (June 4): Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Rowe) – 1.1, 2.5, 2.6, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4


Student Assignments:

1.       Students will be responsible for the discussion part of each class, the last hour or so after the break. In groups, students will lead the discussion of the text and the instructor’s presentation, preparing questions in advance as necessary.

2.       In the fourth week of the quarter, each student will turn in a two page paper proposal, indicating the argument and the content of their project along with a list of 10 references, either articles or books.

3.       On the basis of the proposal, each student will write a 20 page paper that relates material from the course to their own research project. The papers will be due early in finals week.