Course Description

Television is, in numerous respects, among the most important and yet conflicted forms of American popular culture available for study today. It is, at one and the same time, an expression of popular values and a manipulation of those values; it is an overwhelmingly "top-down" cultural formation that is nonetheless used by its viewers in creative and interesting ways. For these and many other reasons, television is the object of both academic fascination and anxiety. In this course, we'll study television from a number of perspectives, exploring both the form itself -- its technological structures, its historical development, and its cultural work -- and the academic writing produced around the form, writing both celebratory and anxious.