Mass Media and Culture

Instructors:  Briana Smith and Morgan Day Frank
Meeting time: Wednesday, 3:00-5:45

Syllabus

Mass Media and CultureHow have mass media technologies shaped the lived experience of modern and postmodern life from the 19th century to today? How are understandings of race, gender, and sexuality reflected in objects of mass consumption and challenged by mass cultural practices? This sophomore tutorial will engage these questions through the close examination of historical documents, photographs, films, literature, and scholarly sources related to the rise of mass media and culture, while providing a concrete set of skills and strategies for future work as a History & Literature concentrator. We will be analyzing products of mass culture alongside the writings of its greatest theoreticians and historians. Readings include fiction by Edgar Allan Poe and Agatha Christie; movies like Black Panther and Jaws; journalism by Ida Tarbell and Ida B. Wells; and essays by Charles Baudelaire, Thorstein Veblen, Guy Debord, Jia Tolentino, and Hari Kunzru. Through these sources, we will seek to uncover the origins of mass cultures in Europe and the US in the nineteenth century and track their development over the past 150 years.