Media and Screen Studies (MSCR)

MSCR 1000. Media and Screen Studies at Northeastern. 1 Hour.

Intended for freshmen media and screen studies majors and combined majors. Introduces students to the liberal arts in general. Offers students an opportunity to become familiar with media and screen studies as a major discipline; to develop the academic skills necessary to succeed (analytical ability and critical thinking); to become grounded in the culture and values of the university community (including advising); and to develop interpersonal skills—in short, to become familiar with all the skills needed to become a successful university student.

MSCR 1100. Film 101. 4 Hours.

Focuses on the ways in which cinematic language and representations have developed since the late-nineteenth century, how representations of human difference vary in distinct cultural contexts, and how particular filmmakers and historical/national movements have challenged certain representations and ideologies. This range of representations and discourses includes blackface performance and other racist tropes, ethnographic studies of indigenous people as “exotic” curiosities, films noir that demonize independent women, postwar Italian neorealism’s revolutionary focus on the plight of the poor, films by and about marginalized ethnicities in the U.S. and the global south, banned films that highlight the condition of women in post-revolution Iran, and contemporary Hollywood’s treatment of homosexuality and masculinity.

MSCR 1150. TV 101. 4 Hours.

Provides an overview of television studies for nonmajors. Covers different ways to think about how to watch TV and the effect of changing technology and industry practices on television.

MSCR 1220. Media, Culture, and Society. 4 Hours.

Introduces the study of media, including print, radio, film, television, and digital/computer products. Explores the ideological, industrial, political, and social contexts that impact everyday engagements with media. To accomplish this, students examine how media products are developed, how technological changes impact the production and consumption of media, how political processes are influenced by media, how people interpret and interact with media content, and how media influence cultural practices and daily life.

MSCR 1230. Introduction to Film Production. 4 Hours.

Offers an introduction to production that blends theory and practice of film/video production through an examination of exemplary works, aesthetic strategies, production techniques, and the dynamic relationship between media makers, subjects, viewers, and technology. Offers students an opportunity to gain fundamental moving-image fluency using widely accessible media production tools including camcorders, mobile phones, and digital single-lens-reflex cameras.

MSCR 1310. Introduction to Digital Media Culture. 4 Hours.

Outlines the history and theory of digital media from aesthetic, cultural, and political perspectives. Analyzes digital media as layered objects emerging at the interection of technological innovation, social experimentation, and power relations.

MSCR 1320. Media and Social Change. 4 Hours.

Explores media’s role in movements for social, economic, and cultural change. Specifically examines how people use media technologies to organize themselves and communicate their message to wider audiences in order to achieve social change. As a way to develop and improve ethical reasoning, students are asked to think about the accountability of media institutions and actions of groups and individuals who use media technologies and tactics in the name of social change.

MSCR 1420. Media History. 4 Hours.

Examines the historical relationships between media, culture, and society with a focus on the role of media technologies as tools of communication. Emphasizes the broad social and cultural conditions that shape media and the ways in which people experience culture and understand meaning. Introduces the concept of mediation to analyze how different forms of communication have emerged in different historical moments. Critically examines past interactions between media and culture, and also examines the emergence of historically specific conceptions of audience, identity, content, industry, information, perception, and so forth.

MSCR 1990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MSCR 2220. Understanding Media and Film. 4 Hours.

Introduces how media works—stylistically, socially, and culturally. Topics include genre, narrative, cinematography, ideology, and representation. Offers students an opportunity to learn how to analyze media by acquiring skills associated with research and writing.

MSCR 2300. Television: Text and Context. 4 Hours.

Introduces students to critical television studies. Topics include visual language (use of image, music, graphics, editing, and sound); narrative structure; and genre. Specific critical approaches include semiotics, narrative and genre analysis, feminist analysis, and ideological analysis of representation.

MSCR 2302. Advertising and Promotional Culture. 4 Hours.

Investigates advertising and promotional culture by closely studying its history, industry, and means of communication. Examines print, television and internet advertisements, and campaigns.

MSCR 2325. Global Media. 4 Hours.

Covers global dynamics of media and media systems. Specifically seeks to introduce students to the nuances of globalization and cultural performance through media structures. Introduces a wide variety of topics that fall in the intersection between globalization and media and the ways in which they operate socially and culturally. The course focuses broadly on understanding—in both theoretical and practical ways—how and why global media function as they do and how they contribute to knowledge formation and social justice within various cultural contexts.

MSCR 2400. Hip-Hop in and as Media. 4 Hours.

Explores hip-hop’s capacity to communicate particular images, ideals, and values that represent various social factions at different historical moments. Hip-hop has evolved significantly since its inception over 40 years ago in the South Bronx. Most often understood as a musical genre, hip-hop’s cultural complexity encompasses musical expression, art forms including dance and graffiti/graphic design, new terminology, innovative entrepreneurialism, and myriad other elements that continue to influence popular culture more widely. Analyzes issues of authenticity and genre; modes of representation in rap lyricism; representation via hip-hop literature, press, films, and videos; technologies, media production, and contexts of reception; issues of differences and dissonance across generations; the communication of spatiality through hip-hop; and hip-hop as a transnational/global conduit of meaning and affiliation.

MSCR 2505. Digital Feminisms. 4 Hours.

Explores the unique ways that feminist activism and theory are impacted by the increasing digital nature of our world. From hashtags to Tumblr, feminists are using digital tools and platforms to aid in the pursuit of social justice. Offers students an opportunity to develop a timeline that traces feminists’ engagement with the Internet, new media, and technological innovations from the late seventies to the present. Examines the strengths and challenges that the digital world creates for feminist engagement. MSCR 2505 and WMNS 2505 are cross-listed.

MSCR 2600. Cloud, Closet, (Drop)Box. 4 Hours.

Explores the multiple and complicated ways in which our lives and ways of thinking are impacted by what things we decide to keep and how we organize access to them, i.e., storage. Using readings, podcasts, short films, and TV shows, the course uses the idea of storage to explore the Cloud and other contemporary media “containers” and what the future of storage holds as we try to find space and time to store and retrieve our data, memories, clothes, food, and more. Exploring these containers raises important questions and concerns about the social consequences of buying things (accumulation and consumption) and a general cultural anxiety about information overload, as well as issues related to gender, class, the economy, the environment, organization, and knowledge.

MSCR 2895. Film Analysis. 4 Hours.

Introduces the languages, aesthetics, and cultures of film. Topics include film genre, film history, and film theory; basic elements (e.g., shot construction and sound editing); narrative cinema, nonnarrative or experimental work, and documentaries; and the marketing and distribution of film.

MSCR 2990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MSCR 3210. Special Topics in Media and Screen Studies. 4 Hours.

Addresses issues in communication and media as well as developments in the production of television and video. Course content may vary from year to year. Students who do not meet course prerequisites may seek permission of instructor. May be repeated up to four times.

MSCR 3420. Digital Media Culture. 4 Hours.

Investigates social and cultural dynamics emerging parallel to the spread of digital technologies, from the 1960s to the present. Analyzes the impact of technologies (such as computers, mobile phones, and video games) on media products and practices (such as remix culture, social media, and surveillance). Offers students an opportunity to develop the skills that are necessary to critically examine and write about digital media content and the technologies necessary for their consumption.

MSCR 3422. Media Audiences. 4 Hours.

Explores how mass media audiences interpret and actively use media messages and products as listeners, readers, and consumers. Examines the different stages of ethnographic research, audience meanings and interpretations, pleasure and fanship, the role of media in everyday life, and the use of ethnographic research methods in communication studies. Students who do not meet course prerequisites may seek permission of instructor.

MSCR 3426. Popular Music as Media Form. 4 Hours.

Analyzes the social forces, technological forms, and cultural influences that have contributed to the development of U.S. popular music, from the era of early recording and Tin Pan Alley composition to the present. Studies popular music as a facet of commercial media, as an art form, as an indicator and amplifier of social and political priorities, and as a medium through which cultural identities are expressed and articulated. Students who do not meet course prerequisites may seek permission of instructor.

MSCR 3435. Media Industries. 4 Hours.

Offers an overview of media industries studies. Uses a critically informed approach to media industries that offers students an opportunity to learn to identify and analyze the variety of companies that collaborate to produce, distribute, and market media texts. Explores different approaches to studying the life cycle of media, considering such factors as ownership, regulation, marketing, branding, and the impact of new technologies. Students who do not meet course prerequisites may seek permission of instructor.

MSCR 3437. Media and Identity. 4 Hours.

Examines representations of identity (race, gender, sexuality, and class) in the media, investigates their influences, and considers their repercussions. The class especially focuses on understanding identity as a construction, rather than as inherently “natural.” Broadly, we discuss the relationship between identity and media representations; more specifically, we look at cultural texts, sites, and practices where the existing racial categories mix, merge, and/or rub up against each other in ways that problematize the naturalness of essentialized identities. Students who do not meet course prerequisites may seek permission of instructor.

MSCR 3990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MSCR 4208. TV History. 4 Hours.

Explores U.S. network television in the “precable” era, which ranges from 1949 to the 1980s. Studies television programming through its historical, cultural, and industrial contexts. The media studies component of the class considers topics such as aesthetics, narrative, genre, and representation.

MSCR 4602. Media and Democracy. 4 Hours.

Introduces the role of the media in democratic societies. Explores a number of important questions, including what is democracy? What types of information do citizens of a democracy need in order to participate in the governance of their lives? In our increasingly digital world, where do political discussions happen? Are the media responsible for keeping the public informed? Who constitutes the “public”? Are we citizens? Consumers? Producers? Who decides? In order to address these questions, students have the opportunity to become conversant in a variety of modern and contemporary theoretical and critical perspectives on the relationship between the media, democracy, and what has come to be known as the public sphere. Students who do not meet course prerequisites may seek permission of instructor.

MSCR 4622. Special Topics in Media and Screen Studies. 4 Hours.

Addresses issues in communication and media as well as developments in the production of television and video. Course content may vary from year to year. Students who do not meet course prerequisites may seek permission of instructor. May be repeated up to two times.

MSCR 4623. Theories of Media and Culture. 4 Hours.

Overviews key conceptual approaches that have developed for the study of the media. Investigates theories that address the role of media in culture and focuses on how cultural studies can inform our reading of both media and culture.

MSCR 4990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

MSCR 4992. Directed Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor. May be repeated without limit.

MSCR 4993. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor. May be repeated without limit.

MSCR 4994. Internship. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity for internship work. May be repeated without limit.