Media Criticism

Schools of Public Engagement: Media Studies

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Graduate Course

Majors Only

Media Criticism

Spring 2022

Taught By: Deborah Levitt

Section: A

CRN: 10752

Credits: 3

Today—and for good reason—"the media” is a magnet for debate. Denunciations and defenses span the political spectrum in ongoing disputes over fake news, alternative facts, and filter bubbles. In academic and art worlds, the ethics and politics of documentation and display and of CGI and other types of synthetic images are central concerns. Debates around (mis)representations of gender, race, class, ability, and so on rebound across disciplines and platforms while cultural desires and anxieties about the force of algorithms, machine learning, and AI cross all these domains. Undoubtedly, these topics call urgently for our attention, analysis, and criticism, but it is also easy to get lost in the day-to-day crises of how our worlds comport themselves. This class is going to take another approach. Rather than learn how to be “media critics” (which we all know how to do, at least in the vernacular), we’re going to ask how and why “media” works the way it does and ask what it might look like to develop a constructive critique of media in the twenty-first century? We will use world-making as our foundation to address critical questions: What power structures organize the production and distribution of media objects? What does the work of representation in media do to communities and people who do or don’t see themselves (mis-)represented on their screens? What sorts of habits and “images of common sense,” to use Kara Keeling’s term, does media circulate? How can we make sense of a media ecosystem that breaks down distinctions between producers and consumers? We will also use world-making as our methodology, reading classic texts of media studies and the discourses of popular critique as indicators of what worlds we want—and don’t want—to bring into being. Course materials include readings in anthropology, philosophy, and literature, a series of sci-fi films and music videos, one contemporary art exhibition, and two world making games. Students will submit weekly assignments. The model is a 2-3 page response paper, but some responses will include still photos, video, and audio. No required assignments will demand more tech than a smart phone, but there will opportunities for trainings in 360 video/VR/AR.

Media Studies courses are open to all graduate students. Undergraduate Juniors and Seniors with permission from the instructor and BA/MA Media studies students should email mediastudiesadvising@newschool.edu for access.

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: Media Studies (NMDS)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 15

Add/Drop Deadline: February 6, 2022 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 17, 2022 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Open*

* Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 7:38pm 12/8/2021 EST

Meeting Info:

Days: Monday

Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm

Building: TBD

Room: TBD

Date Range: 1/24/2022 - 5/16/2022