Seminar in Media Criticism 1

E38.2007, Fall 2003

Dept. of Culture and Communication, NYU

Class Time: Tues 4:55pm – 6:35pm Professor: Alexander R. Galloway, Ph.D.
Class Location: Goddard Hall, C Email:
Office Hours: Tues and Thurs, 12pm-2pm Office: 239 Greene Street, 7th floor

The goal of this graduate seminar is to examine the media environment from a variety of critical perspectives. The “media environment” refers both to mass media such as film, television, and the Internet, but also to all types of representational culture such as architecture, art, performance, and everyday social practices.

September 2 Course introduction

New Media/Old Media

September 9 NO CLASS -- Read: Armand Mattelart, Networking the World

September 16 Roland Barthes, Mythologies

Semiotics & Cultural Theory

September 23 Stuart Hall, “Encoding/decoding,” (Reader).

Stuart Hall, “Notes on Deconstructing ‘The Popular,’” (Reader).

Raymond Williams, “The Technology and the Society,” (Reader).

September 30 make up class—12pm-1:40pm, Cult+Comm Conference Room (239 Greene, 7th Floor)

September 30 Friedrich Kittler, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, (pp. 1-114, 183-263).

October 7 Bertolt Brecht, “The Radio as an Apparatus of Communication,” (Reader).

Hans Magnus Enzensberger, "Constituents of a Theory of the Media," (Reader).

Jean Baudrillard, "Requiem for the Media," (Reader).

October 14 Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” (Reader).

Louis Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,” (Reader).

Meaning and Interpretation

October 21 Michel Foucault, "Of Other Spaces," (Reader).

Robert Venturi, Learning From Las Vegas

October 28 Janice Radway, “From Reading the Romance,” (Reader).

Fredric Jameson, “Class and Allegory in Contemporary Mass Culture,” (Reader).

Fredric Jameson, “Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture,” (Reader).

The Society of Control

November 4 James Beniger, The Control Revolution

November 11 Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on Control Societies,” (Reader).

Michael Hardt, “The Global Society of Control,” (Reader).

Hardt & Negri, Empire (excerpt), (Reader).

November 18 Donna Haraway, “Gene: Maps and Portraits of Life Itself,” (Reader).

Critical Art Ensemble, The Molecular Invasion

New Media

November 25 Sherry Turkle, Life on the Screen

December 2 Bolter & Grusin, Remediation

Papers due: Friday, December 12.

Course Requirements:

Reading: Thorough coverage of the week’s required reading in advance of class is of utmost importance. Readings should be brought to class for discussion.

Writing: Each student should write a total of 20 pages for the semester, either in a single final paper or split into two shorter papers of ten pages each. Suggested paper topics will be provided, but students are also encouraged to create their own topics. All papers should demonstrate a close reading of the required texts and exhibit a method of critical analysis.

Course Materials:

Course Reader

Roland Barthes, Mythologies

James Beniger, The Control Revolution

Bolter & Grusin, Remediation

Critical Art Ensemble, The Molecular Invasion

Friedrich Kittler, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter

Armand Mattelart, Networking the World

Sherry Turkle, Life on the Screen

Robert Venturi, Learning From Las Vegas