The Media, Society & the Arts BA Program | Academic Requirements | Student Learning Outcomes | Minor in Media, Society & the Arts | Courses | Faculty

The Media, Society, and the Arts Program: Courses

1000–2999 (lower level, freshman–sophomore)
3000–4999 (upper level, junior–senior)

1000–2999:

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.

Art and Outsiderness
SOC 2105
Refer to Sociology Courses (School of Natural and Social Sciences) for description.

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

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

Media Institutions and Forms
MSA 2200
/ 3 credits / Spring
An examination of media forms (e.g., postcards, radio, TV, Internet, mobile media technologies) and media institutions (e.g., movie studios, marketing and advertising companies, regulatory agencies) within historical and cultural contexts. Students explore the multiple ways that human engagements with the world are mediated and how media forms contribute to the production of social norms, practices, and senses of identity and community.
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.
Prerequisite: MSA 1050 or SOC 1500, or permission of instructor

Film and Anthropology
ANT 2250
Refer to Anthropology Courses (School of Natural and Social Sciences) for description.

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

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

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

Sounds of Protest
MSA 2450
/ 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Protest movements around the world are on the rise. Students explore the “sounds of protest”—the music, noises, chants, songs, speeches, soundtracks, music videos, and dances that form an essential component of modern political struggles. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to music theory and practice, students complete historical and theoretical surveys, case studies, and creative projects.

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

Magic, Witchcraft, and Modernity
ANT 2555
Refer to Anthropology Courses (School of Natural and Social Sciences) for description.

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

New Black Ethnographies
ANT 2730
Refer to Anthropology Courses (School of Natural and Social Sciences) for description.

Philosophy of Art: From Plato to Postmodernism
PHI 2780
Refer to Philosophy Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

3000–4999:

Cinema and Revolution
CIN 3000
Refer to Cinema Studies Courses for description.

Feminism, Art, and Performance
SOC 3005
Refer to Sociology Courses (School of Natural and Social Sciences) for description.

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

Documentary Film and Theory
CIN 3030
Refer to Cinema Studies Courses for description.

Cult Cinema
CIN 3060
Refer to Cinema Studies Courses for description.

Television Studies
CIN 3070
Refer to Cinema Studies 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.

Gameplay and Performance
THP 3120
Refer to Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description.

Transmedia and Performance
THP 3130
Refer to Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description.

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.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

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

Film, Media, and War Machines
CIN 3200
Refer to Cinema Studies Courses for description.

Theories of Drama and Performance
THP 3250
Refer to Theatre and Performance Courses (Conservatory of Theatre Arts) for description.

Light and Truth: Film, Photography, and Reality
PHI 3275
Refer to Philosophy Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

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

Media and Performance in Africa
ANT 3345
Refer to Anthropology Courses (School of Natural and Social Sciences) for description.

Myth, Ritual, and Performance
ANT 3350
Refer to Anthropology Courses (School of Natural and Social Sciences) 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.

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

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

Critical Perspectives on Media, Society, and the Arts
MSA 3400
/ 4 credits / Fall
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: A minimum grade of C in MSA 1050 and 2200, and permission of instructor

Anthropology of Art and Aesthetics
ANT 3410
Refer to Anthropology Courses (School of Natural and Social Sciences) for description.

Anthropology of Sound and Listening
ANT 3415
Refer to Anthropology Courses (School of Natural and Social Sciences) for description.

Research Methods in Media, Society, and the Arts
MSA 3450
/ 4 credits / Spring
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 everyday interactions with media within broader theoretical, historical, and cultural contexts.
Prerequisite: MSA 1050 and 2200; or MSA 1050 and an elective in media, society, and the arts

Cinema in the Internet Age
CIN 3500
Refer to Cinema Studies Courses for description.

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

Queer Cinema
CIN 3540
Refer to Cinema Studies Courses for description.

Frankfurt School Critical Theory
PHI 3610
Refer to Philosophy Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Philosophy and Film
PHI 3716
Refer to Philosophy Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Art and Morality
PHI 3785
Refer to Philosophy Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Internship in Media, Society, and the Arts
MSA 3995
/ 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.

Alternative 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.
Prerequisite: MSA 1050 or ANT 1500, and permission of instructor

Lively Geographies
MSA 4110
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
In recent years, anthropologists, physical and cultural geographers, biologists, and media theorists have tried to account for the more-than-human world in order to emplace humans in a general ecology of liveliness. Using methods from multiple disciplines, students explore the animacy of ordinary and extraordinary places. Topics include landscape as a contingent process, geological time, energetics, dwelling, regenerative design, and industrial-chemical ecologies.
Prerequisite: A minimum grade of C in MSA 1050 or ANT 1500, and in one of the following courses—MSA 3120, 3150, 3160, 3350; ANT 3070, 3175, 3185, 3190, 3215, 3255, 3275, 3345, 3350, 3380, 3390, 3410, 3415, 3540, 3600, 3610; CIN 3330; ENV 3800; JST 3455, 3456, 3457

Material Cultures
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”?
Prerequisite: A minimum grade of C in MSA 1050 or ANT 1500, and in one of the following courses—MSA 3120, 3150, 3160, 3350; ANT 3070, 3175, 3185, 3190, 3215, 3255, 3275, 3345, 3350, 3380, 3390, 3410, 3415, 3540, 3600, 3610; CIN 3330; ENV 3800; JST 3455, 3456, 3457

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 I and II
SPJ 4990
and 4991 / 4 credits (per semester) / Every year
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).

Updated May 3, 2016

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