Senior Media Seminar: Representing Subcultures and Social Movements
MCC-UE 1200-005
Wednesday 4:55-7:25pm
Bobst LL146

Professor Portwood-Stacer
lps2 [at] nyu [dot] edu
Office: 239 Greene St., room 741
Office hours: M 11am-12pm; W 11am-12pm, 3:30pm-4:30pm; Thursdays by appointment

This seminar will explore how subcultures and social movements are represented in media, with the goals of illuminating 1) how media representations grow out of historical, political and economic contexts and 2) how these representations shape the direction of movements aimed at social and cultural change. We will begin with foundational theories and definitions of subcultures and social movements, from the perspective of media, communication, and cultural studies. We will then move into a series of case studies designed both to impart information about specific subcultures/movements, and to engage with theories and examples of representational strategies and formats. Movements covered will include those based on religion, fandom, music, body modification, political activism, race, gender, and sexuality. Media genres examined will include documentary and feature film, news, reality television, sit-coms, popular music, zines, and digital networks. In addition to these case studies, students will undertake a significant research project on representations of the subculture or social movement of their choice.

The MCC Senior Media Seminar is intended to serve as a capstone experience for a college education in media, culture, and communication. I envision it as an opportunity for students to draw on all they’ve learned in their time at NYU and to demonstrate their readiness to enter post-grad life as informed, critical citizens. I also aim to use the Senior Media Seminar as a space for community-building, networking, and support among students who are all preparing to face the challenges (and excitements) of graduation and what comes next.