Television: The Domestic Medium
Fall 2009 not offered
AMST 253, FILM 349, FGSS 243
Of all the mass media, television is the most intimately associated with domestic and familial life. Its installation in American homes over the postwar decade coincided with a revival of family life that encouraged an emphasis on private over public leisure. Most television is still watched at home, where viewing practices are interwoven with domestic routines and provide a site for negotiating family and gender relations. Television production is shaped at several levels by producers' images of viewers' domestic lives; schedules reflect socially conditioned assumptions about the gendered division of family roles; a common televisual mode of address uses a conversational style in which performers present themselves to viewers as friends or members of the family; families or surrogate families figure prominently in the content of programming across a wide range of genres, including sitcoms, dramas, soaps, and talk shows. Sitcoms, in particular, have responded to and mediated historical shifts in family forms over the past 50 years, and they will be a main focus in this course. We will explore how television has both contributed and responded to larger cultural discourses about family and gender.
This course approaches television programs as industrial cultural forms that are shaped by their contexts of production and reception. Interpretation of programs is thus a multi-faceted activity that involves constructing their relations to institutional conditions of production, to other televisual and cinematic texts, and to larger cultural processes that inform audience desires..
|Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture
|Grading Mode: Graded
|Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)(ANTH)(FGSS)(FILM-MN)(FILM)(SISP-Anth Conc)
Lynn Spigel, MAKE ROOM FOR TV
Joanne Morreale, CRITIQUING THE SITCOM
Ron Becker, GAY TV AND STRAIGHT AMERICA
|Examinations and Assignments:
Three short papers; weekly assignments of streamed videos are accessible from networked computers.
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