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COURSE CATALOGUE : MEDIA AND SOCIETY

“Media studies” refers to the examination of visual, aural, and textual information and entertainment that is reproduced and transmitted to mass audiences using a series of complex and changing technologies. HWS was among the first liberal arts colleges in the country to offer a major in Media Studies in 1966. From its inception, the Media and Society Program has fostered a sustained, sophisticated, and comprehensive analysis of the media’s pervasive cultural influence from a variety of perspectives and guided by two fundamental goals:

  • To engage students in the critical analysis of the influences of mass media from both the socio-political and cultural/artistic perspectives.
  • To stimulate students to express their creative imaginations through self-expression in writing and the visual arts.

With these goals in mind, our classes emphasize how media and culture reflect, refract, manipulate, and interconnect with each other.

The central nature of the Media and Society Program embodies the core principles of a liberal arts education that merges history, theory, and production to media studies and practice. The core concepts of media literacy we foster include: analytical and critical skills, historical consciousness, aesthetic theory and practice, and contemporary applications. Recognizing Media Studies as an inherently interdisciplinary field, classes at Hobart and William Smith Colleges intersect with a wide range of courses from various departments in the humanities, social sciences and the arts. These broad campus offerings are thoroughly integrated with core Media and Society courses that focus attention on fundamental issues relevant to exploring the formal elements and ubiquitous power of the media. Students are expected to engage in self-expression by exploring their creative capacities in at least one of the visual and plastic arts. This requirement for “hands on” experience is met through courses in documentary filmmaking, scriptwriting, digital editing, video gaming, photography, and digital design.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR (B.A.)
interdisciplinary, 12 courses, plus language competency
The Media and Society Program offers an interdisciplinary major and minor. Media and Society majors explore three core areas—theory, history and production—before deciding on a concentration. Majors are required to complete cognate courses in American history and social consciousness, and social or political theory. The major culminates with a required Senior Seminar. All courses to be counted for the major must be taken for a letter grade. To remain in good standing as a MDSC major, all courses must be completed with a C- or better.

The complete list of requirements for the major is:

  • MDSC 100 Introduction to Media and Society
  • MDSC 400 Senior Seminar
  • In addition to MDSC 100 and 400, students must take at least four other MDSC classes (or approved equivalents); at least two of the courses must be in the concentration. Course equivalents are determined by the Program Committee and are indicated by an (eq) in the cross-listings. Advisers may have a list with additional course equivalents.
  • One course in each of three core competencies (a course used to fulfill a core competency cannot be used to fulfill the concentration requirements).
  • Five courses to comprise a concentration; two must be MDSC courses or equivalents.
  • Two cognate courses. A cognate course is one that supports the study in the major, but is not a course in the mass media or the arts. One cognate course must be in American history and social consciousness (listed below). The second cognate course must be a social or political theory course (listed below). Only two transfer or two courses from a program abroad may be counted toward the major; only one transfer or one program abroad course may be counted toward the minor.

Media and Society majors are also required to complete one college-level course in a foreign language or the equivalent. Students who have studied a foreign language in secondary school may have met this requirement; students for whom English is a second language may have met this requirement; students with a certified statement from a counselor or physician that a learning disability prevents them from learning a foreign language may petition for a waiver. Students should consult with their adviser about this requirement.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MINOR
interdisciplinary, 6 courses (two of which must be MDSC classes or the equivalent, not including the introductory course)
MDSC 100; one course in the study of the cultural history of the fine arts or mass media; one course in critical analysis or media theory; and three additional courses drawn from approved electives, one of which must be in the creative arts if not already included. At least two courses, not counting MDSC 100, must be MDSC courses or approved equivalents. Minors are not required to develop a concentration in a specific area of Media and Society. All courses to be counted for the minor must be taken for a letter grade and completed with a grade of C- or better.

Approved Courses
The Media and Society Program draws upon courses offered in a number of different departments. Some of the courses listed below may be withdrawn by contributing departments for various reasons and new courses offered in departments may be accepted for the Media and Society major or minor. Certain cross-listed courses are MDSC equivalents; these are determined by the Program Committee. Listed below are the types of courses acceptable to fulfill the requirements, but students should consult their advisers to discuss other suitable courses.

Core Competencies
Majors are required to take one course in each of three core competency areas. Minors are required to take one course from Core Competency 2 and one from Core Competency 3. The same course may be listed under more than one competency; but one course cannot be used to satisfy more than one of the core competencies numbered 1 to 3 below. A course used to fulfill a core competency cannot also be used to fulfill the concentration requirements.

Core Competency 1: Techniques of Performance and Creativity
(majors choose one):
MDSC 200 Cultures of Advertising
MDSC 206 Script to Screen
MDSC 305 Film Editing I
MDSC 308 Cinematic Effects
MDSC 309 Media Industries and Alternatives
MDSC 314 Script to Screen II
MDSC 315 Introduction to Social Documentary
MDSC 415 Advanced Social Documentary
Cross-listed:
ARTS Any studio art course
ASN 231 Tibetan Mandala Painting
DAN 200 Dance Composition I
DAN 300 Dance Composition II
DAN 900 Series (full credit taken for a letter grade)
ENG Any creative writing course
ENG 398 Screenwriting (eq)
THTR 130 Acting I
THTR 160 Introduction to Stagecraft
THTR 330 Acting II
THTR 360 Introduction to Lighting Design
THTR 370 Playwriting Workshop

Core Competency 2: Critical Analysis or Media Theory
(majors choose one):
MDSC 200 Cultures of Advertising
MDSC 203 History of Television
MDSC 204 Imagining the West
MDSC 205 America in the Seventies
MDSC 303 History of the Social Documentary
MDSC 304 Media and Theory
MDSC 307 Medicine and Society
MDSC 309 Media Industries and Alternatives
MDSC 313 Global Cinema
Cross-listed:
AFS 200 Ghettoscapes (eq)
AFS 309 Black Cinema (eq)
AFS 326 Black Popular Culture (eq)
AFS 430 The Films of Spike Lee (eq)
ANTH 115 Language and Culture
ARTH 210 Woman as Image-Maker
ARTH 335 Femme Fatale and Film
ASN 342 Chinese Cinema
ENG 180 Film Analysis I (eq)
ENG 280 Film Analysis II (eq)
ENG 286 The Art of the Screen Play (eq)
ENG 287 Jane Austen in Film
ENG 380 Film and Ideology (eq)
ENG 382 New Waves (eq)
ENG 383 Science Fiction Film (eq)
FRE 241 Prises de Vue
FRNE 219 Beyond Colonialism: Maghreb Cultures and Literatures
ITAL 204 Italian Cinema
MUS 205 Music at the Movies (eq)
PHIL 220 Semiotics
PHIL 230 Aesthetics
PHIL 260 Mind and Language
WRRH 250 Talk and Text: Introduction to Discourse Analysis

Core Competency 3: Cultural History of the Fine Arts or Mass Media
(majors choose one):
MDSC 200 Cultures of Advertising
MDSC 203 History of Television
MDSC 204 Imagining the West
MDSC 205 America in the Seventies
MDSC 303 History of the Social Documentary
MDSC 307 Medicine and Society
MDSC 309 Media Industries and Alternatives
MDSC 313 Global Cinema
MDSC 315 Introduction to Social Documentary
Cross-listed:
AFS 200 Ghettoscapes (eq)
AFS 326 Black Popular Culture (eq)
AFS 430 The Films of Spike Lee (eq)
ARTH Any art history course
DAN 210 Dance History I
DAN 212 Dance History II
ENG 209 Graphic Novels/Graphic Forms
ENG 281 Film Histories I (eq)
ENG 282 Film Histories II (eq)
ENG 283 Film Histories III (eq)
ENG 284 Documentary Film History (eq)
ENG 382 New Waves (eq)
EUST 101 Foundations of European Studies I
EUST 102 Foundations of European Studies II
FRNE 255 Modern French Theatre
FRNE 395 Race in the 18th Century French Culture
GERE 201 Berlin: Sin City, Divided City
ITAL 204 Italian Cinema
MUS 135 Music in the Americas: 1750-2000
MUS 190 History of Rock and Roll
MUS 202 History of Western Art and Music: Medieval and Renaissance
MUS 203 History of Western Art and Music: Baroque and Classical
MUS 204 History of Western Art and Music: Romantic and Modern
MUS 205 Music at the Movies (eq)
MUS 207 Big Band to Bossa, Bop to Blues: A History of Jazz
MUS 209 Women in Music
RUSE 204 Russian Film (eq)
SPAN 365 Literature and Music of Hispanic Caribbean
THTR 220 Theatre History I
THTR 290 Theatre for Social Change
THTR 300 American Drama
THTR 308 American Experimental Theatre
THTR 309 Feminist Theatre
THTR 310 African American Theatre
THTR 320 Theatre History II

Concentrations
A concentration for the major consists of five courses from any one of the clusters below. A course used to fulfill a core competency cannot be used to fulfill the concentration requirements. A minor chooses any three courses from the following as electives, one of which must be in the creative arts:

Concentration in Studies in Mass Media and Politics
MDSC 205 America in the Seventies
MDSC 303 History of the Social Documentary
MDSC 307 Medicine and Society
MDSC 308 Cinematic Effects
MDSC 309 Media Industries
MDSC 315 Intro to Social Documentary
Cross-listed:
AFS 200 Ghettoscapes (eq)
AFS 309 Black Cinema (eq)
AFS 326 Black Popular Culture (eq)
POL 320 Media and Politics
POL 363 Digital Networks

Concentration in Studies in Film, Television, and New Media
MDSC 200 Cultures of Advertising
MDSC 203 History of Television
MDSC 204 Imagining the West
MDSC 205 America in the Seventies
MDSC 303 History of the Social Documentary
MDSC 307 Medicine and Society
MDSC 309 Media Industries and Alternatives
MDSC 311 Stars and Avatars
MDSC 315 Intro to Social Documentary
MDSC 320 Media Economics
MDSC 330 (Any) Special Topics
Cross-listed:
AFS 200 Ghettoscapes (eq)
AFS 309 Black Cinema (eq)
AFS 326 Black Popular Culture (eq)
AFS 430 The Films of Spike Lee (eq)
ASN 342 Chinese Cinema
EDUC 208 Teaching, Learning and Popular Culture
ENG 180 Film Analysis I (eq)
ENG 280 Film Analysis II (eq)
ENG 281 Film Histories I (eq)
ENG 282 Film Histories II (eq)
ENG 283 Film Histories III (eq)
ENG 284 Documentary Film History (eq)
ENG 286 The Art of the Screen Play (eq)
ENG 287 Jane Austen in Film
ENG 380 Film and Ideology (eq)
ENG 382 New Waves (eq)
ENG 383 Science Fiction Film (eq)
FRE 241 Prises de Vue
ITAL 204 Italian Cinema
POL 363 Digital Networks
RUSE 137 Vampires: From Vlad to Buffy
RUSE 204 Russian Film (eq)
SPAN 225 Hispanic Media

Studies in Critical Method and Mass Media Theory
MDSC 200 Cultures of Advertising
MDSC 304 Media and Theory
MDSC 309 Media Industries & Alternatives
Cross-listed:
AFS 200 Ghettoscapes (eq)
AFS 309 Black Cinema (eq)
AFS 326 Black Popular Culture (eq)
AFS 430 The Films of Spike Lee (eq)
ARTH 110 Visual Culture
ENG 380 Film and Ideology (eq)
PHIL 220 Semiotics
PHIL 230 Aesthetics
PHIL 260 Mind and Language
POL 320 Media and Politics
POL 363 Digital Networks
WRRH 250 Talk and Text

Concentration in Studies in Cultural Production: Composition and Technology
MDSC 200 Cultures of Advertising
MDSC 206 Script to Screen
MDSC 305 Film Editing
MDSC 308 Cinematic Effects
MDSC 309 Media Industries and Alternatives
MDSC 314 Script to Screen II
MDSC 315 Introduction to Social Documentary
MDSC 330 Special Topics: Documentary Portrait Production
MDSC 415 Advanced Social Documentary
Cross-listed:
ARTS Any studio art course
ENG Any creative writing course
ENG 398 Screenwriting (eq)
WRRH 320 Op-Ed
WRRH 327 Literary Journalism

Cognate Courses
Social or Political Theory
(majors choose one; none of these courses can be counted for the minor)
BIDS 200 Dialogues in Critical Social Studies
ECON 122 Economics of Caring
POL 160 Introduction to Political Theory
POL 175 Introduction to Feminist Theory
POL 265 Modern Political Theory
POL 267 Twentieth Century Political Theory
POL 279 Radical Thought from Karl Marx to George Bush
POL 363 Digital Networks
POL 366 Theories of American Democracy
REL 272 Sociology of the American Jew
SOC 100 Introduction to Sociology
SOC 221 Race and Ethnic Relations
SOC 226 Sociology of Sex and Gender
SOC 228 Social Conflicts
SOC 249 Technology and Society
SOC 258 Social Problems
SOC 375 Social Policy
WMST 300 Feminist Theory

American History and Social Consciousness
(majors choose one; none of these courses can be counted for the minor)
AMST 100 History of American Culture
AMST 101 Myths and Paradoxes
ANTH 222 Native American Religions
ANTH 354/454 Food, Voice, Meaning
HIST 204 The Making of Modern South Asia
HIST 208 Women in American History
HIST 215 American Urban History
HIST 227 African American History I
HIST 228 African American History II
HIST 240 History of Immigration and Ethnicity in America
HIST 246 American Environmental History
HIST 306 Civil War and Reconstruction: 1845-1877
HIST 310 Rise of Industrial America
HIST 311 20th Century America: 1917-1941
HIST 312 The U.S. Since 1939
POL 110 Introduction to American Politics
POL 215 Racial and Ethnic Politics
POL 366 Theories of American Democracy
PPOL 101 Democracy and Public Policy
REL 109 Imagining American Religions
REL 237 Christianity and Culture
WMST 100 Introduction to Women’s Studies
WMST 204 Politics of Health
WMST 215 Feminism and Psychoanalysis
WMST 220 The Body Politic
WMST 243 Gender, Sex, and Science
WMST 300 Feminist Theory

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
MDSC 100 Introduction to Media and Society This course provides an introduction to various media and their modes, methods, and themes. We will explore the role of the media in shaping social consciousness, global economies, and material culture. Examples drawn from film, television, print media, and digital environments will be contextualized, analyzed, and theorized as crucial elements of our media culture. Students will gain an appreciation for the social, cultural, economic, and political influences of global communications while performing close readings of conventional media objects. Writing assignments, exams, and projects will help to cement insights gained through close investigation of films, TV shows, advertisements, video games, music videos, and more. (Staff, offered each semester)

MDSC 140 Body Moves: Photography, Film, Music Videos and Protests From the bodies executing everyday tasks in early motion photography to the protesting bodies of Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter, this course will explore how moving bodies in the media have altered our perception of the modern world. We will consider the impact of the moving body and its media representations on gender, race, class, and globalization. We will study, for instance, pop star Beyonce Knowles’ video Formation in relation to the body politics of surveillance. We will also consider how tracking systems visualize the body, especially the immigrant body, as it moves through space and between places. This course emphasizes the relationship between theory and practice. Therefore, students will have the opportunity to create digital collages, Google, earth maps, and short iPhone films. No previous experience with media production required.

MDSC 200 Cultures of Advertising Advertising is among the most pervasive forms of cultural representation in our global society. In this course, we approach advertisements as economic, aesthetic, and ideological forces whose analysis reveals crucial information about cultural attitudes and ideologies of their time and place. We will study the industrial and aesthetic history of advertising by analyzing advertising campaigns as well as their strategies, themes, and practices. Our materials will be drawn from both corporate and non-profit campaigns, global and local campaigns, and from anti-consumerist actions and other resistant practices. Our work will cover diverse media, including: print culture, television, film trailers, mobile marketing, social networking sites, and new media branding and marketing campaigns. (Shafer, offered annually)

MDSC 203 History of Television An in-depth look at television history, from TV's theoretical beginnings to its current incarnation as a turbulent mirror for "reality," this course critically examines television texts and criticism of the medium as entertainment, and as a contested force in social and cultural practices. Students consider significant technical and aesthetic shifts in programming, and arguments about the negotiation of race, ethnicity, class, and gender in TV. While some attention is paid to other national industries, the chief focus of the course is on television in the United States and western hemisphere. (Staff)

MDSC 206 Script to Screen This course will focus on the elements of visual storytelling that lead from the words on the page to the moving image on the screen, or from the concept to the print ad or commercial. (Jimenez, offered alternate years)

MDSC 303 History of the Social Documentary Photography and moving images have been used to enlighten those who do not suffer to the lives of those who do, to forward social change, and to influence social policy, sometimes progressively and sometimes not. This course examines visual social documentary's influence, largely confined to consideration of American social documentarians, including influence of photographers of immigrants' conditions in major cities during the early 20th century; government-sponsored documentation of rural Americans' lives during the Great Depression; and documentary films which have shaped social conscience from consciousness. (Robertson, offered alternate years)

MDSC 304 Media and Theory This course provides an in-depth study of media forms and their modes, methods, and themes. We will explore the role of media in shaping social consciousness, material culture, and the experience of modern life. We will survey key theoretical works in media studies and cultural studies by reading them along with primary documents such as film texts, radio broadcasts, television programs, magazine and newspaper articles, soundtracks, digital environments, and more. Consumer attitudes, narrative forms, artistic practices, and modes of production will be investigated for their ideological underpinnings.

MDSC 305 Film Editing I This course offers an introduction to the art of film editing, with an emphasis on the practical aspects of editing. Students learn basic editing techniques for narrative and documentary film, using an industry standard NLE. In addition to actual editing exercises using unedited rushes or dailies, students study film sequences to learn various editing styles and techniques. (Jiménez, offered annually)

MDSC 307 Medicine and Society The worlds of media and medicine exist in a unique symbiosis. Not only do medical issues fuel plot lines of popular television programs and films, the creation of cable channels devoted to health care matters, an ever-increasing number of books, newspaper stories, magazine articles, advertisements, and Internet sites, but these media outlets, in turn, alter the practice and delivery of health care in the U.S. The intricate web conjoining the culture of medicine and the production of media has become a pervasive, two-way process that reflects the public's obsession with health care and the central role it occupies in our national consciousness. This class explores the interconnections between medicine and the media, investigating this collaborative enterprise that characterizes contemporary American society. (Friedman, offered annually)

MDSC 308 Cinematic Effects This course is an introduction to special effects and motion graphics. Using industry-standard compositing software (After Effects), students will learn basic compositing techniques, such as green screen, rotoscoping and matchmoving, within the context of the history and art of visual effects. Since its inception, film has been drawn to the possibility of altering reality through visual effects in the works of Gorges Melies; with the advent of digital compositing, special effects have gained added importance in contemporary filmmaking. Moreover, visual effect as 'staged' reality go beyond film to encompass the function of illusionism in Western representation as shown by Norman Klein in "the Vatican to Vegas: A History of Special Affects." Prerequisite: MDSC 305. (Jimenez, offered annually)

MDSC 309 Media Industries and Alternatives At the end of a contemporary feature film, a credit sequence may list hundreds of individuals and companies. How can we understand the roles that these credited collaborators (and other uncredited collaborators) play in media production? How do issues of media ownership and media authorship influence media cultures? This course combines an analysis of contemporary media industries (including film, television, and new media) with an analysis of alternative sites of media production (including indigenous, independent, and amateur media). The course's investigation of cultures of production, promotion, and distribution will introduce students to the emerging field of media industries studies and its exploration of global media cultures and media convergence. We will examine the roles of various institutions (studios, networks, publishers, unions, not-for-profit agencies, etc.) and individuals (directors, writers, costume designers, gaffers, publicists, stylists, agents, critics, etc.) in the production and reception of contemporary media. We will draw on a broad range of production case studies which may include: Hollywood blockbusters, Nigerian video films, independent web television series, and the Italian dubbing industry. (Patti)

MDSC 313 Global Cinema This course investigates contemporary global cinema, charting the boundaries of the term global cinema as a critical and industrial framework.What is global cinema? Why do some films circulate internationally while others remain fixed within national or regional cultures?How have new media modes of distribution like instant streaming shaped global cinema?Through a focus on the politics and economics of film distribution, we will explore global cinema and its intersections with various national cinemas, including the cinemas of the U.S., Italy, India, China, Mexico, Japan, Senegal, Iran, Peru, and Canada, among others.We will consider the impact of international film festivals, trade policies, immigration, transnational stardom, piracy, translation, and censorship on contemporary global cinema.

MDSC 314 Script to Screen II: The Workshop This course provides intensive practice in the use of visual tools and techniques to express meaning and tell stories. It is about “cinematic storytelling,” which has been defined by Van Sijll "as the difference between documenting and dramatizing." We will explore the manipulation and interaction of composition, lenses, movement, lighting and other aspects of the mise-en-scene through analysis and practice. (Jimenez, offered occasionally)

MDSC 315 Introduction to Social Documentary This course is an introduction to the power of the visual social documentary as a force for social change. Students will study the history of social documentary photography and film and learn how to research, develop, shoot, edit, and critique social documentary videos using introductory level cameras and editing software. Considerable time must be spent working independently and collaboratively outside of regular class time. (Robertson, offered alternate years)

MDSC 320 Media Economics This course uses economic analysis to study the media industry, including TV, video, print, music and new media. The course begins by reviewing/introducing basic economic concepts. Then develop the framework for industry studies in the field of industrial organization. Students will then prepare industry studies. These will be used to explore public policy questions involving the media. Readings and other materials: Colin Hoskins, Stuart McFadyen & Adam Finn, Media Economics, Sage Publications, 2004 (0-7619- 3096-5) or Alan B. Albanan, Media Economics, Wiley-Blackwell, 2002 (978-0813821245); Ben H. Bagdikian, The New Media Monopoly, Beacon Press, 2004 (0807061875); Ronald Behis & Jeanne Lynn Hall, Big Media, Big Money, Rowman Littlefield, 2003 (978-0742511309); David R. Croteau & William Hognes, the Business of Media, 2nd Edition, Pine Forge Press (978-1412913157). Prerequisites: ECON 301 OR MDSC 100. (Waller)

MDSC 330 Special Topics: Studies in Media and Production This course will address a range of topics in accordance with the current scholarly interests of the Media and Society faculty and visiting artists. Therefore, the topics do vary as they address timely issues of research in Media Studies and Production as well as emerging areas in the field. Typical topics could include: portrait documentary, animation beyond Disney, cinematic video games, the end of celluloid, and transmedia narratives. Students may not take the same topic twice for credit.

MDSC 400 Senior Seminar This course is required of all Media and Society majors. Normally, seniors will enroll in this course; however, juniors may also enroll with the recommendation of their advisers. This seminar, which is a capstone course for the major, will focus on a topic determined by the instructor. This is a research-intensive course. (Offered annually)

MDSC 415 Advanced Social Documentary This course is for students with a serious interest in documentary videography. The course will concentrate on developing a television-quality documentary. The focus of the course will be on developing a concept, scriptwriting, filming, and editing for the purpose of informing, persuading, or convincing an audience. The topics will include a contemporary issue, or a history that sheds light on a contemporary issue. Students enrolling in this course should expect to spend considerable time outside of the ordinary class period in research, production and post-production. The ability to work well as a member of a collaborative team is essential. Prerequisite: MDSC 315 or instructor's consent. (Robertson)

MDSC 450 Independent Study

MDSC 456 1/2 Credit Independent Study

MDSC 495 Honors

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Geneva, NY 14456
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