The Media, Society, and the Arts Program: Courses


Note: Students who have taken MSA 1530/Introduction to Media, Society, and the Arts (discontinued in Fall 2012) will have satisfied a prerequisite of MSA 1050.


Introduction to Media Studies
MSA 1050
/ 3 credits / Every year
An introduction to theories of the media, visual, and performing arts. Using semiotics as a point of departure, students explore the language and iconography of visual communication. The course focuses on works of art, advertising, television, and the Web as social contexts of cultural production and analyses the role that ordinary people play in the production of media. Also offered as NME 1050.

Language, Culture, and Society
MSA 2175
Refer to ANT 2175 in Anthropology Courses (School of Natural & Social Sciences) for description.

Italian-American Literature and Popular Culture
MSA 2195
Refer to LIT 2195 in Literature Courses: 1000–2999 (School of Humanities) for description.

Media Institutions and Forms
MSA 2200
/ 3 credits / Fall
A historical overview of media institutions and forms, focusing on key theories and trends in the study and production of media technologies and arts. Also offered as NME 2200.
Prerequisite: MSA 1050

Computers and Culture
MSA 2235
/ 3 credits / Fall
Examines the connections between computers and culture, with a critical look at how computers may be changing and shaping culture, and how culture affects people’s use and understanding of computers. The course focuses in particular on the ways in which gender, race, and class affect people’s experiences with and understanding of computers. Both work and leisure uses of computers are considered. Offered as NME 2235 for new media majors.
Prerequisite: MSA 1050 or SOC 1500 or permission of instructor

Art and Technology
MSA 2250
Refer to NME 2250 in New Media Courses for description.

Performing Arts in Cross-Cultural Perspective
MSA 2320
Refer to ANT 2320 in Anthropology Courses (School of Natural & Social Sciences) for description.

Drugs, Bodies, Design
MSA 2340
Refer to ANT 2340 in Anthropology Courses (School of Natural & Social Sciences) for description.

Museum Anthropology
MSA 2470
Refer to ANT 2470 in Anthropology Courses (School of Natural & Social Sciences) for description.

Introduction to Ethnomusicology
MSA 2610
Refer to ANT 2610 in Anthropology Courses (School of Natural & Social Sciences) for description.

Locative Media: Place and Mobility
MSA 2700
/ 3 credits / Alternate years
Histories of media technologies are explored as histories of location and movement. The first half of the course provides a historical overview of media technologies and industries. The second half focuses on contemporary mobile media—especially handheld computational devices, cloud computing, and social media—and the ways in which they are shaping cultural beliefs and practices. Also offered as NME 2700.
Prerequisite: MSA 1050, ANT 1500, or permission of instructor

Cross-Cultural Video Production
MSA 3010
Refer to NME 3010 in New Media Courses for description.

Riot Grrls and Radical Women
MSA 3120
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
This interdisciplinary course underscores the linkage between feminist theoretical paradigms and genres of feminist art. Feminist theory is considered, from Betty Friedan to bell hooks, as well as diverse artists and art forms, including Judy Chicago, Karen Finley, the Riot Grrl movement, and feminist zines. Sexuality, reproductive rights, women’s work, pornography, race, violence, and activism are key themes that direct the analysis. Also offered as GND 3120.
Prerequisite: MSA 1050

Outsider Art
MSA 3150
/ 4 credits / Every year
Examines the social construction of outsider art as an aesthetic category, focusing on such genres as folk art, prison art, primitive art, asylum art, and street art. Students explore how the creation and reception of art, along with the perceived inherent cultural value of aesthetic objects, intersect the categories of gender, ethnicity, and social class.

Queer Media Convergence
MSA 3160
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Media convergence refers to large-scale changes in the ownership and production of media content, as well as the role that audiences and consumers have in its development. This course examines media convergence from the perspectives of queer theory and history, and asks how queer identities, sensibilities, styles, and practices both shape and are shaped by media convergence. Also offered as NME 3160 and GND 3160.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Media Representations and Identity
MSA 3175
Refer to ANT 3175 in Anthropology Courses (School of Natural & Social Sciences) for description.

Global Media, Local Cultures
MSA 3185
Refer to ANT 3185 in Anthropology Courses (School of Natural & Social Sciences) for description.

Media Ethnographies
MSA 3200
/ 4 credits / Fall
Ethnography, one of the key methodological innovations of anthropology, is used in this course to examine life in a media-saturated world. Focusing on an emergent ethnographic literature that examines the relationships between mass media, popular culture, and social and technological networking, the course situates ordinary and everyday interactions with media within broader theoretical, historical, and cultural contexts.
Prerequisite: MSA 1050 and MSA 2200; or MSA 1050 and an elective in media, society, and the arts

Los Angeles/Mumbai: Cinematic City Cross-Culturally
MSA 3275
Refer to ANT 3275 in Anthropology Courses (School of Natural & Social Sciences) for description.

Genres of Affect
MSA 3330
Refer to CIN 3330 in Cinema Studies Courses for description.

The Body: Medium and Message
MSA 3350
/ 4 credits / Every year
An examination of the body as medium and media within larger social and cultural landscapes. The body is located in relationship to systems of power within the context of modernity/postmodernity, mass media, and art worlds. Topics include exercise and bodybuilding, beauty and consumption, 20th-century disease, body art, extreme body modification, plastic surgery, and subversive body play.
Prerequisite: MSA 1050 and permission of instructor

Avant-Garde Cultures and Everyday Life
MSA 3380
Refer to ANT 3380 in Anthropology Courses (School of Natural & Social Sciences) for description.

Critical Perspectives on Language and Culture
MSA 3390
Refer to ANT 3390 in Anthropology Courses (School of Natural & Social Sciences) for description.

Critical Perspectives on Media, Society, and the Arts
MSA 3400
/ 4 credits / Spring
An intensive examination of critical and theoretical work on media, society, and the arts. Classic and contemporary theories (e.g., Marxism, structuralism, organizational and cultural production, various cultural studies approaches) and topics (e.g., hegemony, cultural capital, high vs. low culture, elite and commercialized culture) are explored.
Prerequisite: MSA 1050 and 2200

Visual/Social Analysis: A Practicum
MSA 3410
/ 4 credits / Spring
A hands-on introduction to the use of visual methods to study social phenomena. Each student designs a project within the medium of his or her choice: photography, video, or film. Selected problems of method and ethics are examined, and cross-cultural examples are provided. No previous working background in photography or other visual media is required.
Prerequisite: MSA 1050 and 2200; or MSA 1050 and an elective in media, society, and the arts

Anthropology of Music and Sound
MSA 3415
Refer to ANT 3415 in Anthropology Courses (School of Natural & Social Sciences) for description.

Sensing and Knowing in Anthropology, Psychology, and the Arts
MSA 3540
Refer to ANT 3540 in Anthropology Courses (School of Natural & Social Sciences) for description.

Internship in Media, Society, and the Arts
MSA 3980
/ 4 credits / Every semester
A supervised work experience in an art- and/or media-related environment, including television studios, film production companies, art galleries, book and magazine publishing companies, and public relations firms.

Informal Economies
MSA 4100
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Students look at forms of production and exchange in various contexts throughout the world that are alternatives to dominant, formal economies. These include trash picking and trash art-making, piracy and counterfeiting, independent farming, and alternative banking. Students consider the notion of value in a variety of ways and trace how production, exchange, circulation, and consumption elaborate new forms of social life. Also offered as ANT 4100.
Prerequisite: MSA 1050 or ANT 1500, and permission of instructor

Material Culture
MSA 4160
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Students examine the material dimension of cultural life and explore how beliefs, sensibilities, and ways of relating to people and the environment get distilled in cultural matter. Matters include rocks, body matter, waste, water, houses, consumer commodities, and currency. Other questions explored are: How does matter become meaningful and acquire value? How do matters of the natural world become “cultural”? Also offered as ANT 4160.
Prerequisite: MSA 1050 or ANT 1500, and permission of instructor

Special Topics in Media, Society, and the Arts
MSA 4750
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
The topics, which vary, are selected from among the special interests of faculty.
Prerequisite: MSA 1050 and permission of instructor

Senior Project in Media, Society, and the Arts
MSA 4990
/ 4 credits (per semester) / Every semester
The senior project, which is developed in consultation with advisors, can take a variety of forms, from an exploration of social phenomena or a creative effort, using a range of media (e.g., photography, video, film, performance), to a research project based on library and/or empirical research. In the second semester of their junior year, students are encouraged to consult with a member of the board of study to determine appropriate topics and research strategies. Must be taken for two semesters (8 credits total).


For updates during 2013–2015, please visit www.purchase.edu/departments/AcademicPrograms/LAS/FilmMediaStudies/MSA/courses.aspx.

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