Jun 21, 2024  
College Catalog 2024-2025 
    
College Catalog 2024-2025

MCST 268 - On Television


This course is designed to be a critical look at an often-unexamined medium, television. We will approach TV as an industry, a medium or mode of culture, a sometimes-maligned object of discourse, and a site of textual, social, and political practices. Our guiding principle will be that TV matters. And we will ask not just what ideas and practices it produces, but, importantly, how it produces them and how they have changed over time. Starting in the postwar period, we will trace the emergence of television culture, mostly within the United States, and think about how this particular media institution shaped, and was shaped by, its social and historical context. Specifically, this portion will focus on how the television was constructed as a domestic appliance and was used as an instrument for producing and policing the ideal or normative family. Then, the course will examine the history and politics of racial representation on television, starting with the symbiotic relationship between the civil rights movement and television news institutions in the mid-20th century. We will follow this into the present, with particular emphasis on television’s role in molding ideas about policing, protest, and racism. Throughout, we will consider the distinct textual, aesthetic, and stylistic aspects of individual television programs as well as the larger discursive environment in which they operate. Screening these episodes along with theoretical, historical, and analytical readings, this course will use class discussion, lecture, and written assignments to develop critical frameworks for understanding TV. Every year. (4 Credits)