Programs Offered

Bachelor's Degree

Minor

The Department of Media Studies specializes in scholarly and industry-based research on media and technologies that underlie contemporary culture, economics, and politics. Students learn how media industries, practices and narratives shape the way we think about, relate to, and engage with the world around us. Enter our tight-knit community and participate in innovative media production work and research projects that engage emerging technology practices, seek to understand new digital cultures, and change society in meaningful ways.

Media studies students examine ways of thinking about and conducting research into the intersection of media, communication and cultural practices in both historical and contemporary perspectives. Encompassing humanistic, social scientific and multimodal approaches to the study of media and culture, and interdisciplinary in its theoretical and methodological approaches, the media studies degrees span traditional boundaries between theory and practice. The program fosters media "literacy" in the broadest sense by providing students with critical skills to analyze contemporary media and culture, along with technical, aesthetic and intellectual principles that facilitate strong media practices.

Course code for this program is MDST.

Faculty

While many faculty teach both undergraduate and graduate students, some instruct students at the undergraduate level only. For more information, contact the faculty member's home department.

Ardizzoni, Michela
Assistant Professor, Director; PhD, Indiana University Bloomington

Berggreen, Shu-Ling Chen
Associate Professor; PhD, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Calabrese, Andrew
Professor; PhD, Ohio State University

Echchaibi, Nabil
Associate Chair; PhD, Indiana University Bloomington

Fisher, Jolene
Assistant Professor; PhD, University of Oregon

Frost, Steven
Instructor, Associate Chair; MFA, School of Art Institute of Chicago

Goldstein, Donna M.
Professor; PhD, University of California, Berkeley

Hall, Kira
Professor; PhD, University of California, Berkeley

Hoover, Stewart
Professor; PhD, University of Pennsylvania

McLean, Polly E.
Associate Professor; PhD, University of Texas at Austin

Mody, Bella
Professor Emeritus; PhD, Gujarat University, India; PhD, Gujarat University, India

Oakes, Tim
Professor; PhD, University of Washington

Peck, Janice Anne
Professor Emerita; PhD, Simon Fraser University (Canada)

Rajabi, Samira
Assistant Professor; PhD, University of Colorado Boulder

Ristovska, Sandra
Assistant Professor; PhD, University of Pennysylvania

Rowland, Willard D.
Professor Emeritus

Schneider, Nathan Todd
Director, Associate Faculty Director; MA, University of California, Santa Barbara

Shepperd, Josh
Assistant Professor; PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Simonson, Peter D.
Professor; PhD, University of Iowa

Stevens, John Richard
Associate Professor, Chair; PhD, University of Texas at Austin

Striphas, Theodore G.
Associate Professor; PhD, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Tracey, Michael
Professor Emeritus; PhD, Univ of Leicester (England)

Trager, Robert
Professor Emeritus

Courses

Show only these courses...

MDST 1001 (3) Foundations of Media Studies

Introduces students to key issues and debates and contemporary applications of critical media studies focusing on economic, social, political and cultural implications. Provides an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice and equips students with the tools to critically analyze various forms of textual transmission.

Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 1002 (3) Introduction to Social Media

Introduces students to network structures and principles, the technology and infrastructures that allow them to flourish, and the cultures that grow up through and around them. Explores how social media enables community, how it assembles and empowers agents of change and how design informs individual and group behavior.

Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 1003 (3) Critical Media Literacies

Learn to strategically access, analyze, evaluate, and produce communication in a variety of forms. This course explores the expanding nature of literacy in a digital world. Students will use applied research practices and communication tools to expand their existing media literacy skills and to design innovative presentations and projects that take advantage of new media.

Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 2001 (3) Introduction to Global Media

Explores a world in which new media have enabled humans to be joined in a global system of socio-cultural and economic relations. Underscores the political dimensions of global media, the convergence of global culture, and the ways in which values are produced. Prepares students to become critical of media practices and empowered as active civic participants.

MDST 2002 (3) Media and Communication History

Examines the historical development of communication forms, tools, technologies and institutions (orality, writing, printing, photography, film, radio, television, computers, internet); their influence on culture (forms of expression and social relationships); and their impact on social and individual experience. Applies knowledge of communication history to contemporary social issues and problems in media and society, domestically and internationally.

MDST 2010 (3) Media and Social Movements

Surveys the history and contemporary efforts of social activists to bring about democratic media reform and examines how media are used as tools for connecting and advancing social movements. Emphasis is given to media activism and social movements in the United States, as well as to similar and related transnational activism and movements.

Requisites: Requires a prerequisite course of MDST 1001 (minimum grade C-).
Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 2011 (3) Disruptive Entrepreneurship in the Internet's New Economies

Grapples with the disruptive business models that drive the online economy: both the dominant ones and the alternatives vying to transform it. In addition to the Silicon Valley model, this course explores lesser known internet economies around the world and proposals for a more equitable online future.

Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 2012 (3) Hacker Culture

Chronicles the evolution of hacker culture from its origins as a geeky subculture to a criminal underground to its adaptation by CEOs. Considers how hacker formations sometimes represent a new kind of politics, sometimes a rejection of politics. Explores the contested figure of the hacker in the past, present and science-fiction of the internet.

Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 2031 (3) Documentary and Social Change

Explores how local, national and international filmmakers use documentaries to provide cultural observation, education, entertainment and memories to making sense of and transform the realities of contemporary societies. Emphasizes contemporary issues and practices in the production of documentaries, including the participatory means such as the crowdsourcing of documentary footage and the use of newer, non-theatrical means of distribution.

Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 2032 (3) Visual Literacies & Design

Examines cultural visual experiences from critical perspectives and social effects. The course acquaints students with visual design in ways that include image-making as a cognitive and perceptual practice, the production of visual significance and meaning, and the role of technology in creating and understanding mediated images. Students will use a variety of means to produce visual narratives.

Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 3001 (3) Media Research

Introduces theoretical approaches and practices used to analyze the content, structure, influence and contexts of media. Explores factors shaping media, including: politics, economics, technology, cultural traditions. Studies concepts, theoretical approaches and research methods of media criticism, and adopts and adapts these frameworks in analyses of mediated communication.

MDST 3002 (3) Digital Culture and Politics

Examines issues at the intersection of digital media, culture and politics, such as regulation and network architecture, piracy and hacking, and grassroots activism. Engage with a range of theories about cultural politics, democracy, liberalism and neo-liberalism in relation to digital information and communication technologies.

MDST 3021 (3) Comic Books: Culture and Industry

Explores practices of comic culture across a broad range of graphic stories. Using culture studies approaches to industry analysis and fan community discourses, students examine culture created through and around graphic texts, particularly representations of race, gender, sexuality, institutions and ideology. Considers the political economy of the comic industry, the struggles of independent producers and active fan practices.

Requisites: Restricted to students with 27-180 credits (Sophomores, Juniors or Seniors) only.

MDST 3022 (3) Social Media Cultures

Expands students' understanding of network cultures, including how social media tools influence conversation strategies, how interfaces interact with perceived communication values, and how network boundaries reinforce distinct cultural identities. Students engage in projects to measure network behavior, create strategic messages to achieve communication and information goals, and to engage in social listening.

Requisites: Restricted to students with 55 or more hours.
Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 3201 (3) Media, Culture and Globalization

Surveys the political and economic structures of media system in developed and developing countries and discusses the impact of privatization, ownership consolidation, and globalization on the flow of information across national borders. Also looks at how global media flows and counter-flows affect conceptions of nationhood and cultural identity.

Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Junior or Senior) College of Media, Communication, and Information (CMCI) or Program in Journalism Mass Communication (JOUR) or International Affairs (IAFS) majors only.

MDST 3321 (3) Media Industries and Economics

Focuses on the institutions and practices of the media industries. Surveys the histories, structures, and activities of these organizations and the contemporary issues surrounding them.

Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Junior or Senior) College of Media, Communication, and Information (CMCIU) or Program in Journalism Mass Communication (JOURU) majors only.
Additional Information: Departmental Category: Core Curriculum and General Electives

MDST 3331 (3) Sports-Media Complex

Explores the rich connections between the sports industry, spectating, the media complex and social life. Using theories of cultural studies and drawing on specific examples from the sports world, students focus on how sport shapes and reinforces understandings of gender, race, class and sexuality. Addresses major questions about the political economy, commodification, mediation and reception of the spectacle of the sports complex, as well as politics and cultural consequences of its transnational reach.

Equivalent - Duplicate Degree Credit Not Granted: JRNL 3804
Requisites: Restricted to College of Media, Communication, and Information (CMCI) students with a minimum of 45 credit hours completed, or non-CMCI students who have completed CMCI 2001 (minimum grade D-).
Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 3341 (3) Designing Alternative Media Platforms

Explores alternative forms of media to exhibit student research and build connections with community leaders. Surveys alternative exhibition traditions such as Social Practice, Relational Aesthetics and Craftvism to expand the impact of student work, culminating in the design of a unique cultural event focusing on each individual's research. Software/digital presentation skills.

MDST 3401 (3) Media, Food and Culture

Explores the topic of food as a subject of popular culture: essential to life and the enter of local, national and transnational conflict and social movements. Students will examine media representations of food, what our food choices say about us and what the mediated politics of food mean for our collective future.

Requisites: Requires a prerequisite course of MDST 2002 (minimum grade C-).
Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 3711 (3) Media and Popular Culture

Examines culture in the form of discourse, symbols, and texts transmitted through the media. Explores the relationship between such mediated culture and social myth and ideology.

Additional Information: Departmental Category: Core Curriculum and General Electives

MDST 3791 (3) Media and the Public

Provides an overview of how publishing in print and electronic forms has been tied closely to democratic ideals for centuries. Explores how the idea of the public is central to the theory and practice of media politics, and how the contested concepts of "the public sphere" and "public opinion" have long been linked to debates about the proper relationship between media and democratic citizenship.

Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Junior or Senior) College of Media, Communication, and Information (CMCIU) or Program in Journalism Mass Communication (JOURU) majors only.
Additional Information: Departmental Category: Core Curriculum and General Electives

MDST 4003 (3) Digital Media Production and Design

Introduces techniques, technologies of online development and online media presentation. Contextualizes the technical and social implications of the Internet through historical and critical perspectives. Students engage in online media projects designed to emphasize the affordances, conventions and usability considerations of effective online communication.

Equivalent - Duplicate Degree Credit Not Granted: MDST 5003
Requisites: Restricted to students with 55 or more hours.
Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 4111 (3) Crime, Media and Contemporary Culture

Addressed in the course are a range of issues from within a variety of literatures that consider the ways in which the media cover crime. Those literatures are particularly drawn from sociology and the emergent, and increasingly dominant, field of cultural criminology. The focus of the class is to get students to think of "crime" as a constructed and mediated concept and set of narratives that often create problematic public "understandings".

Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Juniors or Seniors).
Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 4121 (3) Deconstructing Disney: Mediated American Mythology

Explores various Disney cultural products ¿ some with which students will be very familiar, some students may have never seen ¿ in order to discuss the cultural messaging The Walt Disney Company has presented over its long and illustrious history. Students will conduct analysis research in popular culture studies.

Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Juniors or Seniors).

MDST 4211 (3) Asian Media and Culture

Offers an understanding of the various people, cultures and nations of East Asia through their media systems. Provides a critical overview of the historical, cultural, social, political and economic dimensions of East Asian communication systems in today's digitally connected/disconnected world.

Equivalent - Duplicate Degree Credit Not Granted: MDST 5211
Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Juniors or Seniors).
Additional Information: Departmental Category: Asia Content

MDST 4221 (3) Media Technology and Cultural Change

Explores how media technologies affect social orders and shape cultural practices across the globe. Compares and critically evaluates different theories of technology, emphasizes the social construction of technology, asks how media technologies inform conceptions of social reality and individual identity and considers how media technologies can be understood across a range of academic disciplines.

Requisites: Requires prerequisite courses of MDST 2002 and MDST 3001 and MDST 3002 (minimum grade C-). Restricted to students with 87-180 credits (Senior, Fifth Year Senior).
Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 4231 (3) Youth Media: Culture and Politics

Emphasizes the sociological understandings of youth cultures, identities and practices in relation to media and politics. Topics include the influences of consumer branding, participatory culture, youth media production and representation, use of social media, mobile phones, gaming, and other digital media, and integrating them around themes of youth styles, gender, ethic, political identities, consumer culture, social behavior and other trends.

Requisites: Requires prerequisite course of MDST 3711 (minimum grade C-). Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Juniors or Seniors).
Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 4241 (3) Visual Culture and Human Rights

Provides the critical tools needed to understand images and their impact on the recognition and restitution of human rights claims. The course examines both visual practices (e.g. documentation, archiving, witnessing, advocacy and surveillance) and visual media (e.g. photography, film, video, drone and satellite images), unpacking the growing entanglement between visual culture and human rights.

Requisites: Restricted to students with 55 or more hours.
Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 4311 (3) Mass Communication Criticism

Introduces the critical perspectives most often employed in qualitative media analysis: semiology, structuralism, Marxism, psychoanalytical criticism, sociological criticism. Texts from contemporary print and broadcast media.

Equivalent - Duplicate Degree Credit Not Granted: MDST 5311

MDST 4331 (3) Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality in Popular Culture

Studies the construction, interconnections, and replications of gender, race, class, and sexuality in popular culture and how these constructs become cultural norms and mores. Uses critical methods with a focus on producing responsible viewers and readers.

Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Juniors or Seniors).

MDST 4341 (3) International Media and Global Crises

Examines strengths and limits on media¿s role in globalized crises (e.g. financial, climate change, health) in light of changing distribution of global power. Introduction to current crises; context-analytical approach to media technologies, financing and uses; application to national cases.

Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Junior or Senior) Media Studies (MDST) or International Affairs (IAFS) majors only.
Additional Information: Departmental Category: Asia Content

MDST 4361 (3) TV and the Family in American Culture and Society

Examines the history and character of two central institutions in American society--the family and television--to gain deeper understanding of their formative and enduring roles. Topics include: intersecting histories of the family and television; economic logic of the TV industry and programming; representations of the family in television programming; how families use and interact with television.

Requisites: Restricted to students with 27-180 credits (Sophomores, Juniors or Seniors) only.

MDST 4371 (3) Media and Religion

Examines the way religion uses media as a social and political force. Introduces the major themes and trends in the mediation of religion and the religious inflection of the media in professional, popular, and emerging media contexts.

Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Juniors or Seniors).

MDST 4372 (3) Islam, Pop Culture and Media

Explores the shifting boundaries of cultural and religious Muslim identities through media representation and production in Muslim-majority countries and in the West. Using popular culture as a complex site of struggle, this course examines how Muslims address questions of gender, ethnicity, class, democracy, sexuality, religion, and modernity in a variety of media forms and practices.

Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Juniors or Seniors).
Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 4401 (3) Fan and Audience Studies

Considers how audiences and fans are conceptualized, how they are constructed by media enterprises and how they operate within their cultural ecosystems. While media shape the sociocultural, political and economic dimensions of the social world, fan studies suggest a more active set of practices form sites of resistance and enable a greater degree of influence over cultural production.

Requisites: Requires prerequisite courses of MDST 2002 and MDST 3001 and MDST 3002 (all minimum grade C-).
Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 4402 (3) Transmedia Worldbuilding

Guides students to develop entertainment concepts for transmedia delivery. Students will develop concepts and characters built around storytelling themes capable of producing serial and multimedia storylines. This course considers essential elements of storytelling; how to design and actively participate across media platforms; essential elements of meta-narratives; and how to create an immersive and interactive experience for audiences.

Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Juniors or Seniors).

MDST 4601 (3) Media Law, Policy and Ethics

Explores ethical and legal complexities of information and communication technology. Combines real-world inquiry with creative speculation to probe everyday ethical dilemmas faced by digital consumers, creators and coders, as well as policy-makers. Explore themes such as privacy, intellectual property, social justice, free speech, artificial intelligence, social media and ethical lessons from science fiction.

Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Juniors or Seniors).
Grading Basis: Letter Grade

MDST 4841 (1-4) Undergraduate Independent Study

Repeatable: Repeatable for up to 6.00 total credit hours. Allows multiple enrollment in term.
Additional Information: Departmental Category: Core Curriculum and General Electives

MDST 4871 (1-3) Special Topics

Special Topics

Repeatable: Repeatable for up to 15.00 total credit hours. Allows multiple enrollment in term.
Requisites: Restricted to students with a minimum of 75 hours taken.
Additional Information: Departmental Category: Core Curriculum and General Electives

MDST 4931 (1-6) Internship

Repeatable: Repeatable for up to 6.00 total credit hours. Allows multiple enrollment in term.
Requisites: Prerequisite of MDST 2002 and MDST 3001 and MDST 3002. (All require minimum grade of C-). Restricted to MDST majors
Additional Information: Departmental Category: Core Curriculum and General Electives