Sunday, February 27, 2011

Theories of Mass Media COM255

Lebanese International University
School of Arts and sciences
Communication Arts Department

SYLLABUS Spring, 2010 - 2011

Course Code: COMM255 (A) M.W. 9:30 – 10:45
Course Title: Theories of Mass Media (B) T. Th. 9:30 – 10:45
Instructor: H. Choubassi
Office Hours: MW: 11:00 – 12:30 TTh: 11:00 – 14:00

Course description:
This course examines the role of mass media in modern societies and the effects of media institutions and messages on individuals, communities and society. It is an introduction to the social responsibilities of the mass communicator in Lebanon, the Middle East, and the world. An examination of the mass media in terms of the social, political and economic forces which influence and shape them, the development, process, principles and effects of print, PR, advertising, radio, TV, film, satellite and computer assisted communication.

By the end of the course, Students will have an understanding of the important areas of mass communication research and theory, they will learn to be more sophisticated consumers of information and the media and gain an understanding of the structures and processes of mass communication: print, broadcast, online media, and advertising. Students are introduced to theories of mass communication and will experiment with the various media through introductory projects covering the basic media forms. They will be able to understand theories and research about media effects, analyze how media consumption habits affect thinking and behavior. They will apply theories and research about media effects to professional practice and they will critically evaluate the appropriateness of study designs and data analysis techniques used in media research studies.

-In this course, you must be prepared to read works of politics, literature and arts critically, intellectually, and analytically, be able to express these ideas both orally and in written forms.
-Attendance of all class sessions is mandatory as per university rules and regulations.
-Continuous classroom discussions and critique contributes greatly to the learning process of the whole class. Special attention will be paid to discussing how mass communication theories and researches can and is used by media practitioners in the real world.
-Research about a subject concerning mass communication; techniques, history or functionality, in the form of a written paper to be presented at the end of the semester
-In grading, emphasis is placed on seriousness of purpose, rate of progress, besides the degree of achievement of course objectives.

Exam I 15%
Projects & Presentations 15%
Midterm exam 20%
Final exam 25%
Research paper 15%
Attendance & participation 10%

Course Content:

I: Semiotics (semiology)
Introductory & basic concepts
Modernity and modernization
*Screening: “Metropolis” a film by Fritz Lang
*-“All that is solid melts into air: introduction” by Marshall Berman
Urban Melancholy:
Old Testament: Chapter one of Ecclesiastes
Hubert Robert: Louvre gallérie en ruines, salon de Paris 1767 (1798)
Paul Eluard: Adieu Tristesse
Charles Baudelaire: Le Spleen de Paris
Arthur Rimbaud: Une saison en enfer
Paul Auster: In the country of last things

II: An overview of mass media research
Mass Media theories
Mass Communication as a social science

III: The loss of individuality
Influencing political attitudes and behavior.
*-“One-dimensional man” by Herbert Marcuse
Consumption societies

IV: Societies of spectacle
Global TV
*-"The Society of Spectacle" by Guy Debord
Mass Communication and the Community
The rise of mass society theory (the global village)
*-“Myth and mass media” by Marshall McLuhan
*-"On Television" by Pierre Bourdieu
In front of the camera and behind the scenes
Invisible structures and their effects
The language of new media (software, database and fragmentation)
*-“Deep Remixability” by Lev Manovich

V: Communication Technology: reality, virtual and actual
Technological determinism as the drives of history
*-“Technological determinism in American culture” by Merritt Roe Smith
Technological pessimism and mass deception
*-“The idea of technology and postmodern pessimism” by Leo Marx
New technologies and mass media theory
*-“The art of the motor” by Paul Virilio
The understanding of ‘reality’ as ‘actual’ and ‘virtual’
Under globalization circumstances, the “virtual reality” is taking over the “actual reality” through “substitution”.
*-“The third interval: a critical transition in re-thinking technologies” by Paul Virilio

VI: The Ephemeral Real and the Everlasting Image
The effect of contemporary technologies on the manifestation of the image of pop culture
*-“Cool memories” by Jean Baudrillard
The physical existence under globalization, an actual simulation of the body and nature
*-“Globalization and the manufacture of transient events: the body manufactured with letters” by Bilal Khbeiz.

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