MAC 244 Topics in Media Representation

This intermediate topical course of varying emphases focuses on representations of difference, while underscoring the connections between race, class, gender, and sexual identity. Through screenings, and key texts from film and media studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and visual culture studies, students will learn critical methodologies for analyzing a range of media forms and the complex relationship between authors and spectators.

Cultures of Protest. The English word protest– “to declare publicly” – derives from a Latin verb meaning “to testify, give witness.” In this course we will explore a variety of films from different geopolitical regions and of different genres and different historical contexts that might be interpreted as speaking to all kinds of modalities of protest: protests against nationalisms, against ethnic cleansings, against xenophobia, racism, and homophobia, against national violence and against gender purity. We will engage with different understandings of the concept of protest and focus on its relation to migration, foreignness, national identity, racial, gender, and sexual politics, border politics, globalization, and various philosophical discussions (about difference, multiculturalism and diversity). The course is discussion-based, encouraging critical thinking, writing, and presentation skills.  Expect theoretical readings and that will guide our explorations.

From Cyborgs to Siri: Gender, Technology and Media. In this course, we will examine the fembots, cyborgs, and female AIs imagined in film, television, and advertising, as well as the dialogue between these fictional creations and their real-life counterparts, from historical automata to the current development of robotic and virtual companions. How does techno-fantasy inform scientific reality, and vice versa, in the construction of these figures? What roles do we ask them to play in both realms? What might they reveal about our cultural hopes and fears around love, sex, and relationships? What social, cultural and historical conditions give rise to, and shape, their appearance? Why are they, simultaneously, so disturbing and fascinating for us? In answering these questions, we will examine issues around gender, sexuality, and race, while drawing from a wide range of critical discourses, including cyborg feminism, post-humanism, and afrofuturism. Screenings will include Metropolis (1927), Stepford Wives (1927), Ghost in the Shell (2003), Her (2013), and Ex Machina (2015).

Credits

4 units