Critical Media Studies


Preparing to Watch Quentin Tarantino’s Django: Unchained

The media projects posted to this site were created by students enrolled in FG212/RM200/FM205 Critical Media Studies.

Course Description

In Aesthetic Practices and Politics in Media, Music and Art: Performing Migration, Rocío G. Davis, Dorothea Fischer-Hornung, and Johanna C. Kardux write, “A decade into the twenty-first century, media culture has become a prime driving force in politics, culture, society, and everyday life.” They argue that “the media—readily accessible to everyone—[provides] models for cultural perspectives and positions, and new forms of identity,” further suggesting that “the media [has] become today’s dominant culture, with visual, aural/oral, and digital forms of media culture increasingly replacing book culture among large sectors of the world’s urban population, requiring a fundamental revision of the notion of literacy.” Theorizing media as one of the most important “information-diffusing socializing agencies” in the U.S., this course allows students to develop the competencies necessary for analyzing media codes and conventions and interpreting the myriad meanings and ideologies generated by media texts. More specifically, we explore how gender, sexuality, race, class, citizenship, and other social, cultural, and political markers are constructed in media, including the multidimensional impetuses for and implications of these constructions. Additionally, since counter-hegemonic texts, as well as audience interpretations of media texts, have the potential to “challenge central political positions and cultural assumptions,” we also study the ways in which various media texts and audiences revise, resist, reject, and reproduce dominant mediated narratives, especially those that further subjugate marginalized people.


Critical Media Studies

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, students will learn the importance of the following objectives, as well as the skills required to perform them at an intermediate level:

  • examining and synthesizing to Critical Media Studies (CMS) theories and methodologies;
  • studying the ways CMS intellectuals examine how media produce normative narratives about gender, race, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and other social, cultural, and political markers;
  • studying the ways CMS intellectuals examine how audiences understand and resist, reject, revise, or reproduce dominant mediated narratives;
  • studying the ways CMS intellectuals examine the ways counter-hegemonic media texts challenge dominant theoretical positions;
  • and employing CMS theories and methodologies in all coursework.

Final Project Index

For their final, students produce a group media project that critiques existing media and presents new media that resists/challenges the problems they’ve identified:

Block 2 2017

Block 4 2016

Block 5 2016

Block 4 2014

Block 2 2012

NOTE: The student-created projects on this site do NOT represent research findings and/or generalizable knowledge. Rather, these projects represent these students’ pursuit of knowledge.  

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