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Showing posts from August, 2010

New Course Draft Syllabus

In the spirit of open-source course design, I thought I'd share a draft syllabus for the course I am preparing for the fall, Sexual Difference in US Film. It is cross-listed with Women's Studies and LGBT Studies and is a new course for me. And I say open-source because I've drawn on the syllabi of those who have taught the class before, Patricia Meltzer and Whitney Strub. If you have any suggestions on readings, pedagogy, etc. let me know. For instance, any readings on camp that you've seen to work better than Sontag's?

Either/Or Logic and Documentary

If I might add my own split-the-difference argument, I would note that the discourse on documentary often indulges in either/or logic. Either documentary is reality or it is a construction duping spectators. (Thankfully some good scholarship has thought through this issue more complexly.) Either we look to documentary traditions or we sweep the traditions under the rug to make way for brand new nonfiction forms. Either documentary works according to a Griersonian ideal of a public sphere instrument or it fails.
On this last point is the ethics critique that Brian Winston poses - though others like Calvin Pryluck have made similar critiques - namely, that the use and abuse documentary makes of the social actor is not justified by the ends of public sphere debate: [T]he tradition of the victim inevitably requires that some measure or other of personal misery and distress be, if not exploited, then at least exposed. The justification for such exposure is the public's right to know as …

Fandom and Spectatorial Investment

I'm sure being a Top Chef fan myself has something to do with it, but I liked this post from Tim Burke:What Top Chef viewers are saying back to the producers is that they’re not content to watch the show in a deeply ironic, postmodern fashion, knowing that it’s-just-a-reality-show and that whatever they’re seeing is simply the storyline that the producers have decided to show them. Instead, they’re claiming that at least some past competitions have had the virtue of authenticity, that the people and the food and the emotions have been real, and the reputational stakes have had genuine meaning in the careers and lives of the contestants. If I didn't know better, I would think Burke was seeking a grand unified theory to reconcile British cultural studies and Screen spectatorship theory.
This reminds me of an article I read on Television Without Pity forums (Mark Andrejevic, "Watching Television Without Pity: The Productivity of Online Fans" Television & New Media 9,…

SCMS 2011 CFP: All-Consuming Identities

Here's a late posting I've received - I believe the panel is looking for one more participant.

SCMS Panel Proposal
2011 Conference
“All-Consuming Identities: Media, Identity, Consumption”

The emphasis on appealing to niche audiences in contemporary media products has encouraged interest in exploiting perceptible and potentially profitable identity traits—including race, class, gender, and sexuality—as a way to marshal consumption by specific audiences and to extend the value of consumable media beyond their originary forms. This kind of exploitation may seem to be the direct result of the current media environment, but it has arguably been an operative technique for designing media products and inducing their consumption since the inception of mass media in the nineteenth century. Looking at how identity traits have been deployed to promote consumption of media products in different ways and at different times is valuable to understanding the larger sociocultural and economic fo…