May 7, 2010 11:02 AM Subscribe
Rounding out my summer syllabus: Favorite studies, statistics, theories, essays, short stories, comics, poetry and other short readings about television?
posted by gerryblog to Education (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm finishing up the syllabus for my summer course (called "Watching Television") and I thought it might be good to mine the hive mind for any particularly good readings on the subject I might still be missing. While I'm in a Literature department, the course is cross-listed with the film and new media departments -- but I'm also trying to cast my net fairly wide and sample approaches from multiple disciplines. So please don't hold anything back for fear of lack of interest; a scientific study could be as interesting to me as a good poem.
Something like a whole book, on the other hand, would be much too long; there's not that much space left in the syllabus given what I already have planned. A chapter from a book could be okay.
Here is the official course description:
According to a study from Nielsen Media Research, as of 2006 the average American home had more television sets than people. Over 98% of American households have at least one TV, and Americans watch an average of almost five hours per day, not only in their homes but also in their workplaces, restaurants, schools, stadiums, and even in their cars. Television has become so omnipresent that it is now almost invisible; watching TV is understood as a default state, synonymous somehow with doing nothing at all. This course will consider what it is to watch television, both as consumer and as cultural critic. We will begin with critical theories about television viewing, contrasting Theodor Adorno's deep suspicion of television as a medium of passive stupification against Marshall McLuhan's utopian vision of a "global village" retribalized by shared televisual experience. In the second half of the course we will turn to a sustained study of such key genres of television viewing as soap opera, sitcom, science fiction, police procedural, cable news, reality, and sport, analyzing how the unique properties of the medium have been used at various historical moments to achieve specific aesthetic, political, and economic effects in diverse audiences. In addition to selected theoretical and critical readings, the course will include academic consideration of such programs as The Twilight Zone, I Love Lucy, St. Elsewhere, Sesame Street, Star Trek, The Simpsons, The Sopranos, The Daily Show, and Lost. We will also consider international television productions from nations such as France and Japan.