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.

Surveys the various media of communication. Includes radio, television, film, newspapers, magazines, and electronic communication. Explores the impact media have on culture and society and addresses some of the key issues and debates that circulate about the media and media influence. Also discusses and develops an understanding of the process of media preproduction and production including storyboarding, budgeting, and the medium requirements.

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 our promotional culture through a close study of advertising’s history and contemporary industry. By analyzing advertising’s production of meaning from storyboard to the complete campaign, the course develops an understanding of the interlinkages among advertising, publicity, promotion, and publications.

MSCR 2305. Digital Media Culture. 4 Hours.

Investigates the emerging media technologies such as the Internet, the World Wide Web, and video and computer games. Studies media and technological convergence. Offers students an opportunity to obtain the critical skills both to comprehend these new forms of communication and intervene in their use and production.

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 2500. Digital Media Research. 4 Hours.

Examines the growing centrality of what has been variously labeled as the “social web,” “Web 2.0,” “participatory culture,” and “convergence culture.” Does so by situating blogs, social network sites, Wikis, image boards, and other types of participatory media in broader social, economic, and political contexts. Examines how the development of social media is infused with gendered, racial, cultural, and subcultural values. Offers students an opportunity to examine key dimensions of cultural life that make up our (online) selves—including friendship, privacy, labor, celebrity, power, gender, race, and activism—by conducting original research.

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 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 3300. Media Activism. 4 Hours.

Explores media activism and tactical media as practices emerging at the intersection of political activism, the heritage of the twentieth-century avant-gardes, and technological innovation. By examining social movements media, avant-garde techniques, and critical media theories, offers students an opportunity to acquire the theoretical foundations necessary for a critical understanding of contemporary media activism and tactical media. Couples such historical examination with the review of a variety of contemporary tactical media interventions. Students who do not meet course prerequisites may seek permission of instructor.

MSCR 3385. Video: Story and Sequence. 4 Hours.

Explores narrative structure and the construction of cinematic sequences in a variety of film/video genres. Examines the codes and conventions film/video artists express in narrative, documentary, and experimental forms and how they are expressed through directing, cinematography, editing, and sound design. Offers students an opportunity to apply cinematic language to their work in video, design, animation, or inter-related media forms.

MSCR 3402. Television and Society. 4 Hours.

Offers a critical approach to television and society by approaching television as an institution, industry, and cultural form. Course readings use television to analyze cultural and social issues as well as addressing the political and social consequences of television in a historical and contemporary context. Therefore, rather than analyzing television programs as texts, television is used to address a range of topics that may include identity, globalization, citizenship, neoliberalism, interactivity, nationalism, and technology. Students who do not meet course prerequisites may seek permission of instructor.

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 3423. 20th-Century Media. 4 Hours.

Surveys the emergence of U.S. media from a social and cultural perspective. Analyzes the development of media in the United States in the twentieth century in terms of debates about nationality, class, race, and gender, as well as industry practices. Readings address a range of media technology including radio, television, and the early development of the Internet. 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 advances, and cultural influences that have contributed to the development of U.S. popular music, from early Tin Pan Alley to the present. Popular music is treated as a facet of commercial mass culture, as a profoundly influential communicative medium, and as an indicator and amplifier of broader social changes. Students who do not meet course prerequisites may seek permission of instructor.

MSCR 3428. Television Studies. 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 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 3438. Celebrity Culture. 4 Hours.

Explores the relationships between media, and celebrity, stardom and fame. Focuses on the structures and industries that produce celebrities and ideas of fame and stardom. In asking why celebrity culture has become so important to twenty-first century culture, media, and capitalism, this course also examines how audiences respond to celebrities.

MSCR 3500. Documentary Storytelling. 4 Hours.

Explores documentary storytelling. Offers each student an opportunity to complete a short documentary. Project assignments mimic professional milestones and practices. Guest filmmakers visit to provide additional insight into how their respective area of professional specialization contributes to storytelling and to give feedback and support to student work-in-progress. Analyzes a wide range of creative storytelling techniques and styles through screenings of documentaries.

MSCR 3990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

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

MSCR 4206. Age, Media, and Representation. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to engage with emerging social and critical theory by encompassing elements of the developing area of critical age studies as well as subcultural theory. Readings include those by Dick Hebdige, Henry Giroux, Margaret Morganroth Gullette. Students who do not meet course prerequisites may seek permission of instructor.

MSCR 4208. TV History. 4 Hours.

Examines the history of television in the United States. Possible topics include style, genre, aesthetics, and television specificity; the audience; and industrial and technological conditions of production. Students who do not meet course prerequisites may seek permission of instructor.

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 4610. The Networked Self. 4 Hours.

Analyzes online participatory culture. With their emphasis on constant sharing and updating, social network sites, blogging platforms, and photo- and video-sharing services are reshaping contemporary culture by providing virtually infinite opportunities for self-expression and conversation. Explores what kind of subjectivity is set in motion by media that demand that users display their network of social relationships and provide constant updates, or conversely, to obliterate their individual selves. Offers students an opportunity to test critical and theoretical problems by analyzing a variety of Web-based phenomena. 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 4685. Interactive Documentary. 4 Hours.

Introduces the historical context, evolving aesthetics, and contemporary production practice of interactive documentary, an emerging genre that brings together interrelated media forms. Topics include documentary storytelling, content architecture, and interface design. Builds on a variety of production methods: photography, audio production/editing, video production/editing, animation, graphic design, interaction design, information visualization, writing, archival research, etc. Seeks to weave individual contributions into a cohesive experience suitable for online publication at the conclusion of the course.

MSCR 4970. Junior/Senior Honors Project 1. 4 Hours.

Focuses on in-depth project in which a student conducts research or produces a product related to the student’s major field. Combined with Junior/Senior Project 2 or college-defined equivalent for 8 credit honors project. May be repeated without limit.

MSCR 4971. Junior/Senior Honors Project 2. 4 Hours.

Focuses on second semester of in-depth project in which a student conducts research or produces a product related to the student’s major field. May be repeated without limit.

MSCR 4990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

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

MSCR 4991. Research. 4 Hours.

Offers an opportunity to conduct research under faculty supervision.

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.

MSCR 4996. Experiential Education Directed Study. 4 Hours.

Draws upon the student’s approved experiential activity and integrates it with study in the academic major. Restricted to those students who are using the course to fulfill their experiential education requirement. May be repeated without limit.