SAC 190 - First-Year Film Seminar
Section: 003 Digital Visual Culture
Term: FA 2017
Subject: Screen Arts and Cultures (SAC)
Department: LSA Film, Television, and Media
Requirements & Distribution:
With permission of instructor.
Lab Fee:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t close the window when the next YouTube video autoloads, where emoji come from or what the Unicode Consortium is, why cat videos reign supreme online, or how to create the perfect Instagram flat lay, then this is the course for you. Just kidding—we won’t actually create our own flat lay photography but we will examine how and why people invest their personal time and cultural capital into doing so. And if none of these online images make any sense to you at all, this is also the course for you, because you will develop a strong understanding of how images matter online by taking SAC 190.

In 1972, cultural critic John Berger’s pivotal BBC television series and book Ways of Seeing opened by declaring that “seeing comes before words.” Berger wanted to explain the ways that both art and, in a more innovative approach for that time, commonplace, everyday images like advertising surround us and help to shape culture. This course takes Berger’s insistence on the importance of images and updates it by examining both how images circulate online and what sorts of images are generated for and on the Internet. We will look at YouTube, Instagram and other forms of social media, memes, emoji and the use of icons in digital communication, fan-produced media, and more. Students will develop the ability to critically assess and analyze these media formally as images and put them into their historical, industrial and cultural contexts. Class sessions will blend together lecture and discussion to ensure that students develop a critical vocabulary around these materials, as well as in relation to weekly readings drawn from critical media studies, digital studies, and cultural theory.

Course Requirements:

Students will be assessed based on attendance and participation, a midterm exam, multiple short writing assignments, and a final research project.

Intended Audience:

Students from a wide range of interests and departments excel in digital studies courses such as this one. As most of us encounter digital technologies every day, everyone has their own opinions about devices, apps, games, and online video. This course will ask all students to confront their ideas about what they do and do not pay attention to in the media that is all around them.

Class Format:

This class meets twice a week for eighty minute lectures and once per week for a screening. Screening sessions vary in length from 1-2.5 hours long. Attendance at all screenings is required.

SAC 190 - First-Year Film Seminar
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
002 (LAB)
Tu 4:00PM - 6:30PM
003 (SEM)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
004 (LAB)
M 4:00PM - 6:30PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 0140135154
Ways of seeing : based on the BBC television series with John Berger, Author: a book made by John Berger ... [et al.]., Publisher: British Broadcasting Corp. [Repr] 1972
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for SAC 190 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi
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