Wed, Jan 21, 2004 -- syllabus
Media Ecology E38.2097
Communication Policy and the Culture Industries
Wednesdays 6:45 p.m.-8:25 p.m.
Dr. Siva Vaidhyanathan

This course is a graduate research course for students in Media Ecology and other programs. It takes a variety of theoretical approaches to the cultural, social, and political effects of film, video, music, television, radio, and digital ?content producers? in post-industrial economies. It will consider the interactions among the legal, technological, and regulatory matrixes that support and regulate these industries. It will also consider a variety of methodological approaches to documenting and analyzing these industries. Students will break into groups to prepare presentations on the various assigned texts and will aim to generate discussion. Students will do one short review essay of a book from beyond the assigned texts. And there will be a substantial research paper due at the end of the term.


? Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas Kellner, eds., Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks (Blackwell)

? Pierre Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production (Columbia UP)

? David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity (Blackwell)

? Nick Couldry and James Curren, Contesting Media Power (Rowman and Littlefield)

? Arvind Rajagopal, Politics After Television (Cambridge UP)

? Peter Manuel, Cassette Culture (U of Chicago Press)

? Greg Downey, Telegraph Messenger Boys (Routledge)

? Christopher May, The Information Society (Polity)

? Justin Lewis and Toby Miller, eds., Critical Cultural Policy Studies

? Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class (Basic Books)

? Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture (Penguin)

? Siva Vaidhyanathan, The Anarchist in the Library (Basic Books)

Electronic resources:

Students should become familiar with electronic databases and Lexis/Nexis searches. In addition, students should feel free to read my Weblog at


Each student will write one 8-12 page review essay that explains the relevance of one outside book in the field of media industries, cultural policy, or culture industries. The review essay will count for 25 percent of the final grade. And each student will produce a 20-page research paper at the end of the semester that refers to secondary texts and employs primary research. The final paper will count for 50 percent of the final grade. In addition, class participation will count for 25 percent of the final grade. Therefore, attendance is mandatory at all sessions.


In the first (Jan.21) session, I might select particular people to run the class discussion on a particular day for a particular text. There are 13 presentation slots and 17 students. So some books will have to be double-teamed. The simplest way to run a class discussion is to generate a series of questions that might generate debate and dialogue among your peers. However, don?t hesitate to offer a more formal presentation of the book in question. It?s a good idea to read articles and reviews that refer to the ideas in the assigned text and incorporate them into your presentation.


Jan 21 introduction ? Wilco film

Jan 28 ? Hesmondalgh

4 Feb ? Durham and Kellner sec. 1

11 Feb -- Bourdieu

18 Feb -- Harvey

25 Feb -- Downey

3 March ? Lewis and Miller, chs. 1,2,6,7,8,21

10 March ? Rajagopal

17 March ? Spring Break

24 March ? Lewis and Miller, chs. 18,19,20,22,23,26

31 March -- Manuel

7 April -- May

14 April -- Florida

21 April -- Lessig

28 April -- Vaidhyanathan

12 May ? Final papers are due in my mailbox on the seventh floor of East Building.