HUM 200: Reading the Media

HUM 200: Reading the Media
Fall Quarter 2012 North Seattle Community College
HUM 2001.01
MWF 12:00-1:20pm
Classroom IB 3315
Bradley Lane
Office: IB 2312A
Office Hours: 10:00am-12:00 noon daily and other times by appointment
Office Telephone: (206) 934-4536
Email: [email protected]
Required Texts:
Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. NY: Penguin, 2009. ISBN 014103579X
Thornham, Sue, Caroline Bassett and Paul Marris, eds. Media Studies: A Reader. 3rd Edition.
Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2009. ISBN 0748637842,
Note: You need the 3rd edition of the Media Studies Reader. It is available on Amazon for
around $25.00 in paperback.
Required Materials:
3-Ring Binder (at least 1” -- try to find one with pockets)
Loose Leaf Paper or Notebook
Writing implements for writing in class
Flash Drive for saving word-processed assignments
Description :
HUM 200 examines the way that cultural identities are constructed by and represented by
contemporary media such as film, television, news and digital media.
In particular, the Reading the Media courses surveys the making and meaning of race, gender,
class, sexuality and identity in popular culture. Emphasizing ways in which the form and
technology of popular culture have changed during the twentieth century, the course explores
contexts as fiction, theater, cinema, music, television, journalism and other mass media. Issues
interrogated may include the power of the image; theories of representation; critical approaches to
analyzing and interpreting media texts; audiences and spectatorship; and the politics and economy
of US media.
Approximate Reading Load: 800 pages of college-level reading for the quarter. (There will
occasionally be a reading load of up to 40 pages a night).
Approximate Writing Load: 15 pages for the Quarter.
This course is an interdisciplinary college level class. Your enrollment in this class requires that
you been placed into ENGL 101. In order to succeed at HUM 200, it is strongly recommended
that you have taken ENGL 101 and passed with a 2.0 (C). Please see your instructor if you have
concerns about your placement in this class.
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Course Outcomes:
Upon successfully completing this course,
1. You will learn how our cultural identities are constructed through media representation.
2. You will learn to read and analyze media products as texts through methodologies grounded in
cultural studies and media theory.
3. You will read and apply relevant theoretical texts to your analysis of course media.
4. You will learn to read culture as a text.
5. You will acquire a working vocabulary for discussing culture at work.
6. You will expand your understanding of how knowledge itself is constructed.
7. You will improve information literacy skills, especially those related to the critical use of
media sources related to identity and culture.
8. You will articulate the intent/effect of images and representation across US cultural groups,
such as through stereotype or subversion of stereotype.
9. You will recognize the diversity of identities in America in terms of race, gender, class,
ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, etc.
10. You will recognize American/Judeo-Christian/Western cultural values and attitudes as
disseminated in media.
11. You will demonstrate awareness of bias as presented in both written and visual languages.
By meeting these outcomes, you fulfill many requirements for the A.A. degree here at North, as
well as our College’s institutional learning outcomes.
For instance, this course fulfills credit for the Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts [VLPA]
category of the A.A degree, which requires you to take at least 15 credits in the Humanities (Art,
Language, English, Communication, Drama, Music) from two different disciplines.
This course also fulfills US Cultures requirement for the AA degree, which requires you to
examine the relationship between US ideals and realities and to compare the experiences of
diverse US cultural groups.
This course fulfills the Communication requirement for the AA degree as well, by making use of
small group processes in order for students to gain experience working collaboratively. In this
class, small groups will be used to 1) explore primary texts in class sometimes without instructor
leadership; 2) research, rehearse and present some aspect of the course to their classmates; and 3)
produce some creative project of their own design.
Finally, this course satisfies multiple institutional learning outcomes that North Seattle
Community College wants every student to master before leaving the college. These include
Critical thinking and problem-solving
Communication and self-expression
Information literacy
Intercultural knowledge and competence
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Course Policies:
 Attend daily. The importance of attending regularly cannot be overestimated. Please
arrive at class on time and expect to remain until class is over. Your attendance and
participation will figure into your final grade in two ways: in the form of points
deliberately assigned for participation, as well as in the form of seminar papers that may
be submitted on their due date only. Seminar papers are not accepted late, with no
exceptions. If you are absent on a day that a Seminar Paper is due, you cannot make this
work up or turn it in later. In order to protect your grade from suffering from a rare,
unavoidable absence, I will count only 4 of the 5 required Seminar Papers. Therefore, if
you turned in all the other seminar papers but missed one seminar day, missing that one
Seminar Papers wouldn’t count against your final grade. Alternately, if you attended all
seminar days and submitted all 5 Seminar Papers, you would have some extra points left
 Assignments must be typed. All assignments should be typed, double-spaced, using 12
point Times New Roman font. I will not accept handwritten drafts.
 Save your work. It is your responsibility to keep an extra copy of all assignments that
you turn in.
 Complete course assignments on time. An assignment is counted late if you do not
submit it at the beginning of class on the date it is due. For each class period a major
assignment is late, your grade on that assignment will be reduced by ten points. If an
assignment is turned in even 1 minute after class time on the day it is due, it will be
counted as late. Absolutely no late work will be accepted after Friday, December 7. If
you know will be absent on the date an assignment is due, make a plan with your
instructor ahead of time so that you can submit your assignment without any points
 Work that is due should be brought to class in paper form. Only in a documented
emergency will I accept assignments via email. It is a good survival policy for you to
locate several possible printer locations on campus where you could print out your work
if your home printer is not working. A printer not working is not a valid excuse for
missing the due date of a piece of written work and does not allow you to turn that work
in late. Moreover, plan to have your assignment printed before the start of class. If you
arrive to class with your assignment after class has already begun, both you and your
assignment are counted as late.
 Classroom etiquette items:
o I’m happy to allow beverages in class, as well as food that is not overly pungent
or disruptive to eat. You are also welcome to bring food to share. I only also ask
that you be sure to take your cans, bottles, and food cartons with you at the end
of class and not leave them on your desk or the floor.
o Students who wish to use laptops, tablets, or e-readers during class should sit in
the first few rows and commit themselves to using their computers only for work
directly associated with this course during class time.
o Lateness is actively discouraged: chronic lateness is disruptive, rude, and
damaging to your academic success; therefore I will personally counsel students I
observe to be habitually late to find a course that better fits their schedules.
o Finally, I insist that you silence your cell phones while you are in the classroom
and that you do not send or receive text messages during class.
 In the event of a cancelled class session, please visit the course ANGEL page for
updates about assignments, homework, or due dates.
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If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to seek a trustworthy classmate to provide you with
notes on class discussion and lecture material, information about assignments, handouts, and
announcements. Extra copies of all handouts will be in the box outside my office door, IB2312A.
Please stop by there before returning to class after an absence so that you will have the material
you missed. While you are under no obligation to lend your notes to another student who is
absent, I encourage you to form study partnerships or study groups with friends from class and to
work with each other on course content.
While I cannot personally catch you up on material you missed simply because you were absent,
you are always encouraged to meet with me during office hours to discuss course readings, course
themes, or any material with which you need extra assistance or simply want to talk more about..
Please let me know as soon as possible if chronic health problems, a personal emergency, or
extraordinary circumstances threaten to interfere with your regular and timely attendance so that
we can decide the best course of action for you.
Your grade will be based on a variety of projects and assignments, including in-class and out of
class writing assignments and a midterm. Grades are posted on the course ANGEL page.
Maximum points possible under each category are as follows:
Seminar Papers (4 x 30 pts each)
Media Journal (10 entries x 10 pts each)
Media Report Presentation
Final Project
Class Participation
120 points (can earn 150/120)
100 points
80 points
100 points
100 points
100 points
You can earn up to 600 points in this class. In order to calculate your final grade, you will add up
the total number of points you have and divide it by the total number of points possible, which is
600. This is your overall percentage, which corresponds to a GPA score in the chart below.
96% -100%
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The grade given at the end of the quarter will be based on a 4.0 scale. Scores below 65%/D/1.0
are recorded as F/0.0. No grades of I (“incomplete”) or NC (“no credit”) will be granted except
in the most extreme circumstances. If you do not feel you will be able to complete the course to
your satisfaction, it is your responsibility to drop/withdraw from the course. For more information
regarding withdrawing and other registration related questions, see the following:
The specific point value assigned to any assignment or exercise will correspond to how well you
meet the terms of the assignment. Grading criteria for assignments include organization;
providing support from the class texts and lecture material for your ideas; the use of Standard
English grammar, spelling, and sentence structure; and meeting the requirements of the particular
Your active participation in class is expected. You should be ready to ask and to answer
questions about the readings, and to make thoughtful contributions to group discussions in class.
Occasionally, I may ask you write a brief response to a question ahead of time, write a question or
set of questions in anticipation of class ahead of time, or write a brief response to a question in
class. These written products will be collected and included in the assessment of your
participation. Excellent and poor levels of participation will impact your participation grade alike.
If you have any questions or concerns about your level of class participation as the quarter
proceeds, please see me. Around midterm, I will give you a preliminary participation grade and
inform you if your class participation could be improved.
Classroom Diversity Statement:
Respect for diversity is a core value of this classroom. Our college community fosters an optimal
learning climate and an environment of mutual respect. We, the college community, recognize
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individual differences and value them; therefore, everyone in class is responsible for the content
and tone of her or his statements and everyone should strive to be empathetic listeners and
speakers both.
Behavior Statement:
Students should always conduct themselves in a respectful manner. No conduct will be tolerated
that might endanger or threaten anyone in the class. Disruptive behavior, substance abuse,
downgrading or disparaging remarks, and any behavior that shows a lack of respect for the
instructor or other students will not be tolerated. At my discretion, a student who causes problems
may be asked to leave class for the session. If a student persists in causing problems, further
disciplinary action may be taken, up to and including dismissal from the class and/or college,
according to the policies outlined in the Student Handbook, available for download at
Academic Honesty Statement:
To take the words or ideas of someone else and present them as your own is plagiarism and is
unacceptable in academic life. The nature and causes of plagiarism may cover a range from the
accidental to the dishonest. Examples of plagiarism encountered in academic writing may include
the following:
- incorporating into your own writing, without proper and complete acknowledgement,
words and sentences from a print, electronic, or oral source
- inserting longer passages (such as four or five consecutive sentences or whole
paragraphs) of somebody else’s writing into your own without complete
- paraphrasing so closely or so extensively from a source that sentences or ideas really
belong to the original writer
- submitting as your own entire assignments written by another person or taken from a
printed source or off the internet
- receiving so much help from another person that the work could not honestly be called
your own.
Students, by their attendance here, agree to adhere to the Student Code of Conduct, which states,
in part, that “academic dishonesty, to include cheating, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false
information to the college” may bring disciplinary action. I exercise my professional judgment as
to the nature and cause of each case of suspected or proven plagiarism and respond in a manner
suited to the case. Responses may include the following:
- requiring that a piece of writing be revised to eliminate the plagiarism
- denying credit for a piece of writing in which the plagiarism has been found
- recording a ‘0’ grade in the student’s class record for the project, thereby lowering the
student’s final grade.
Note: When I have encountered plagiarized assignments in the past, my policy has been to record
0 points on that assignment and to file a formal report with the college requesting disciplinary
action. ‘Warnings’ are typically not given for first offenses. In the extremely rare occasion in
which I have encountered more than one plagiarized assignment from the same student, I
typically have advocated that the student receive 0.0 for a final course grade.
Americans with Disabilities Statement:
If you need course adaptations or accommodation in the classroom because of a disability or
special need, please contact Disability Services at 527-3697 (2nd floor of the College Center near
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Registration). Disability Services can assist individuals with both physical and learning/academic
disabilities. If you have emergency medical information to share with your instructor, or if you
need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please inform your instructor
at once.
Copyright Statement:
Students shall adhere to the laws governing the use of copyrighted materials. You must insure
that your activities comply with fair use and in no way infringe on the copyright or other
proprietary rights of others. When viewing media outside of class is required for completion of
course assignments, please refrain from viewing, downloading, or distributing pirated media.
Moreover, please cite the original source for all visual sources, including illustrations, clips, and
images that you may include in course assignments, just as you would cite the original source for
quotations of printed material.
The Loft Language Lab: The Loft is the campus language lab/writing center, located on the top
floor of the library. One of the primary attributes of The Loft is the free tutoring! The tutoring
sessions last 30 minutes, are held on a first-come first served basis, and can help you with
reading, writing, grammar, listening and speaking. Although you are not required to use the
services of the Loft in order to be successful in this class, many students have found their services
helpful. For more information, call (206) 526-0078 or visit
Instructions for Logging in to Course ANGEL page:
Although this is not an online or hybrid class, we will be using ANGEL to post class updates,
grades, handouts, relevant links, and readings not in the required texts. To access our online
course, go to Your username is your 9-digit NSCC student ID
number and your password is the first five letters of your last name. For example, if your student
ID number is 955-55-4411 and your last name is Johnson, then your username would be
955554411 and your password would be johns. If you have trouble logging on, please check the
Distance Learning office's troubleshooting information at
If you can't solve the problem that way, contact the Distance Learning office help desk: (206)
934-3738 or email them at [email protected]
Conferences with Your Instructor:
You are encouraged to visit your instructor during office hours to discuss any aspect of the
course. I am always happy to receive feedback about the course or simply get to know you a bit
better, help you wrestle with difficult texts or concepts, address any concerns you may have, or
chat about ideas.
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Please come to class having completed the previous night’s homework assignment (HW), with
annotated copies of necessary readings, ready to participate actively in class. The schedule is
tentative and I reserve the right to adjust deadlines and add or remove readings as needed. ‘MS’ in
parentheses after a reading denotes its page number in Thornham’s Media Studies reader.
Readings marked with an asterisk (*) are available in the folder marked ‘Articles for Class’ under
the Lessons tab of the HUM 200 course in which you are automatically enrolled after logging
onto ANGEL at See the previous page for log in instructions if you
have questions.
Introduction to Media and Cultural Studies
M Sept 24: Course Introduction and Expectations
HW: Get course textbooks, log into ANGEL shell.
W Sept 26: Background lecture on Cultural Studies
Journal 1
HW: Read Ways of Seeing 1-81
F Sept 28: Seminars and Seminar Prep
In-class: Ways of Seeing videos
HW: Read Ways of Seeing 83-155
Seminar Paper 1 for Monday
M Oct 1: Seminar 1
HW: Dyer, “The Role of Stereotypes” (MS 206-212); Hall, “Encoding/Decoding” (MS
W Oct 3: Theories of Representation
HW: Hall, “New Ethnicities” (MS 269-276); hooks, “The Oppositional Gaze” (462-470)
Textual Analysis and The Politics of Representation
F Oct 5: Oppositional Gazes
Media Report Assignment Out
HW: Journal 2
M Oct 8: Oppositional Gazes, con’t
In-class: Ethnic Notions + Discussion
HW: Kuhn, “The Power of Images” (MS 39-44); Bordo, “Reading the Slender Body”
(MS 330-340)
W Oct 10: Feminist Readings
HW: Journal 3
F Oct 12: In-class: Miss Representation
HW: McRobbie, “Post-Feminism and Popular Culture” (MS 350-361)
M Oct 15: Feminist Readings, con’t
Discussion of Miss Representation and McRobbie
One Media Report in Class
HW: Seminar Paper 2 for Friday
W Oct 17: Seminar 2
HW: Said, Introduction to Orientalism (MS, 111-123); Lutz and Collins, “The
Photograph as an Intersection of Gazes: Reading National Geographic”**
F Oct 19: Orientalism and Postcolonial Readings
One Media Report in Class
Background on Colonialism and Photography
HW: Journal 4
M Oct 22: Sexuality and Queer Readings: The Celluloid Closet
HW: Doty, “There’s Something Queer Here” (MS 471-480)
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W Oct 24: Queer Readings
Discussing Doty and The Celluloid Closet
One Media Report in Class
HW: Review for Midterm
F Oct 26: Midterm in class
M Oct 29: Background on Psychoanalysis
One Media Report in Class
HW: Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” **
Journal 5
W Oct 31: Mulvey, the Gaze, and the Apparatus
One Media Report in Class
HW: Clover, “Her Body/Himself”**; Williams, “Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, Excess”**
F Nov 2: Psychoanalytic film theory, con’t
One Media Report in Class
HW: Seminar Prep 3
M Nov 5: Seminar 3
HW: Jenkins, “Reception Theory and Audience Research”** + Ahead as necessary
Audiences and Reception:
W Nov 7: Introduction to Audiences and Reception—the case of Psycho
One Media Report in Class
HW: Read all of ‘Effects Debates’ (MS 379-429)
Journal 6
F Nov 9: Media Effects Debates
One Media Report in Class
HW: Radway, “Reading the Romance” (MS 440-450); Ang, “Wanted: Audiences” (451461); Brundson, “The Role of the Soap Opera” (MS 341-349)
M Nov 12—No class: Veteran’s Day
W Nov 14: Audience Scholarship
One Media Report in Class
HW: Seminar Prep 4
Journal 7
F Nov 16: Seminar 4
HW: McLuhan, “The Medium is the Message” (MS 22-27)
Production and Political Economy
M Nov 19: Introduction to Political Economy
‘The Illusion of Choice’ in class
One Media Report in Class
HW: Williams, “Programming as Sequence or Flow” (MS 192-198); Ellis, “Broadcast
TV Narration” (MS 199-205); Spigel, “The Domestic Economy of Television Viewing in
Postwar America”**
Journal 8
W Nov 21: Television Production and Political Economy
One Media Report in Class
Final Project Assignment Out
HW: Williams, “Advertising: The Magic System” (MS 730-735); Nixon, “Advertising,
Magazine Culture, and the ‘New Man’” (MS 736-746); Wernick, “The Promotional
Condition of Contemporary Culture” (MS 763-771)
F Nov 23—No class: Thanksgiving
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M Nov 26: Advertising
One Media Report in Class
Journal 9
HW: Reality Television. Read MS 557-597
W Nov 28: Reality Television 1
One Media Report in Class
HW: Reality Television. Read MS 598-623
Journal 10
F Nov 30: Reality Television II
The Real World in class
One Media Report in Class
Seminar Prep 5
M Dec 3: Seminar 5
HW: “Unkind Unwind”**; “Is the Rating System Homophobic?”**
W Dec 5: This Film is Not Yet Rated
HW: Final Projects
F Dec 7:Discussion of This Film is Not Yet Rated
Course Wrap Up and Reflection
HW: Final Projects
Final Exam Time: Monday, December 10, 1:00-3:00 pm – In lieu of a final, we will have a
potluck and informal presentation of final projects by the class. Final Projects Due at this time.