AMCULT 601 - Topics in American Studies
Section: 003 The Television Revolution
Term: FA 2018
Subject: American Culture (AMCULT)
Department: LSA American Culture
Advisory Prerequisites:
Graduate standing.
May be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Let’s face it. Television has always been considered a lowbrow form of entertainment. In the U.S. public sphere television has been called ‘a wasteland’ and many other countries initially refused to develop television, in part based on assumptions that had no redeeming value but would only promote materialism and the dumbing-down of the population. Art, prestige, and “high culture” have rarely been associated with the medium. Still, television has always been a very popular media outlet in the U.S. and around the world. Indeed, its popularity might explain why scholars from media studies and other disciplines are paying much more attention to the so-called ‘trashy’ medium.

In this course we will examine histories of television and television in histories. That is, we will pay special attention to the ways in which television scholars have utilized particular theories, sources, and historical moments to analyze the medium and how scholars from other disciplines have connected television to specific cultural, political, and social moments in history. The goal of this class is both to learn about the medium and to understand how the medium can be a valuable source for examining broader historical, cultural, and social processes.

The class will be divided into three main parts: “Television Beginnings,” “Crises, Radical Changes, and Television” and “Television and You.” In the first part we will focus on books that analyze the incorporation of television in society. In the second part of the class, we will read books that analyze a moment of societal transition and how television responded to the particular crises or change. In the last part, we will focus on the research projects that each student will develop. The projects will include a review of a book related to the student’s research topic, a class presentation, and the formulation of a research plan. The research plan should represent the basic structure of a research paper (it is not an actual, finished paper). It will include a research question, a statement on the project’s relevance, a description of sources and their locations, and a review of the literature that addresses the theme of the project.

AMCULT 601 - Topics in American Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
Th 11:00AM - 2:00PM
002 (LEC)
Tu 1:00PM - 4:00PM
003 (LEC)
M 2:00PM - 5:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9780226769677
Make room for TV : television and the family ideal in postwar America, Author: Spigel, Lynn, Publisher: Univ. of Chicago Press 2010
ISBN: 9780822371700
Bright signals : a history of color television, Author: Murray, Susan, 1967-
ISBN: 9780813585321
Republic on the wire : cable television, pluralism, and the politics of new technologies, 1948-1984, Author: McMurria, James, 1963-
ISBN: 9780300208481
Between Truth and Time a history of Soviet Central Television, Author: Evans, Christine, E.,
ISBN: 9780822375685
Broadcasting modernity : Cuban commercial television, 1950-1960, Author: Rivero, Yeidy M., 1967-
ISBN: http://hdl.ha
Watching Jim Crow the struggles over Mississippi TV, 1955-1969, Author: Classen, Steven D., 1956-, Publisher: Duke University Press 2004
ISBN: 9780231119429
Viewers like you? : How public TV failed the people, Author: Ouellette, Laurie., Publisher: Columbia University Press 2002
ISBN: 0813572304
Public interests : media advocacy and struggles over U.S. television, Author: Perlman, Allison, 1975-
ISBN: 9780822357407
The undersea network
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