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Cultural_Studies_Syllabus

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  • 1. Cultural Studies: Theory and PracticeInstructor: Carrie Anne Platt Office: ASC G6 (Garden Level of West Wing)E-mail: cplatt [AT] usc [DOT] edu Office Hours: Tuesdays, 3 to 5 p.m., & by appt.COURSE DESCRIPTIONThis course provides a general introduction to cultural studies, emphasizing the history, theoretical foundations, anddisciplinary boundaries of both the British and American traditions. It will also examine the impact of what Stuart Hallrefers to as several key “interruptions” in the intellectual development of cultural studies: the adoption and adaptationof Marxism and the Marxist conception of ideology; the challenge of feminist approaches to questions of gender andsexuality; and the struggle to put issues of race on to the critical agenda. Finally, it engages the tension between thetheoretical and political projects of cultural studies through a combination of service learning and critical analysis.COURSE TEXTS• Morley, D., & Kuan-Hsing, C. (Eds.). (1996). Stuart Hall: Critical dialogues in cultural studies. New York: Routledge. (ISBN: 0415088046)• Bennett, B. (1995). An essay on culture: Symbolic structure and social structure. Berkeley, CA: U of California P. (ISBN: 0520200179) [Recommended]• Additional readings, to be distributed via Blackboard (https://blackboard.usc.edu/)COURSE REQUIREMENTS• Response Papers (5) 15%• Midterm Exam 20%• Final Project 40%• Class Presentation 10%• Participation 15%GRADING SCALE A 93 – 100 B- 80 – 82 D+ 67 – 69 A- 90 – 92 C+ 77 – 79 D 63 – 66 B+ 87 – 89 C 73 – 76 D- 60 – 62 B 83 – 86 C- 70 – 72 F 0 – 59ADA COMPLIANCE STATEMENTAny student requesting academic accommodation based on a disability is required to register with Disability Servicesand Programs (DSP) each semester. A letter of verification for approved accommodations can be obtained fromDSP. Please be sure the letter is delivered to your instructor as early in the semester as possible. DSP is located inSTU 301 and is open 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. 1
  • 2. COURSE POLICIES• Response Papers. You will be writing 5 short response papers over the course of the semester. For each response paper, you should select a reading that you find particularly interesting or relevant to your experience. In the first half of the paper, you will be asked to comment on and critique the reading (asking yourself what the piece does well and what questions remained unanswered). In the second half of the paper, you should apply the insights you’ve gained from reading and reflecting on the piece by analyzing a cultural artifact or social practice that you encounter outside of the classroom. Offer a brief description, and then discuss how this reading has enhanced or changed your perspective on the phenomena identified. Your response paper grades will be based on your level of engagement with / understanding of the readings, and the completeness of your discussion and analysis. Aim for 2-3 pages per response. Due dates are specified in the course schedule.• Final Project. The final project for this course is designed to acquaint you with the political project of cultural studies, while testing the real-world relevance of intellectual labor. Each student will be given the opportunity to assist with and participate in an event sponsored by a local interest group (social, political, environmental, etc.) The written portion of the final project will ask you to engage with cultural studies scholarship, specifically to investigate the relevance of such writings for those working to enact change in the world outside academia. You will be asked to share your experience via a brief presentation in the last week of class.• Participation. You should be prepared to discuss both the course readings and current events in class each week. It should go without saying, but you are expected to answer questions if called upon in class. You are allowed two “passes” per semester. Remember that participation is worth 15% of your final course grade.• Attendance. You are allowed 3 absences, no questions asked. After that, each absence may reduce your final course grade by as much as 1 letter grade. Accruing more than 6 absences risks failure in the class. Arriving late or leaving class early counts as 1/2 of an absence. I don’t differentiate between excused and unexcused absences, so it’s a good idea to save your 3 absences for illnesses, out-of-town events, or family emergencies.• Assignments/Exam. Due dates are final, and all assignments are due before class begins. If you are absent the day a written assignment is due, you will receive a 10% deduction in assignment grade for each day that the assignment is not turned in. A makeup exam will only be given in the event of a documented family or medical emergency on exam day; all others receive an automatic F. You must complete all course requirements to pass.• Grades. Questions about grades should be addressed in a timely manner. There is a 24-hour “wait period” after receiving a grade, but then you should address concerns within the next 10 days. After this time period, all grades are considered final. Grade challenges must be submitted in writing. Challenging a grade is equivalent to requesting a re-grade. The revised grade may be higher or lower than the original grade.• Academic Integrity. All assignments must be the original work of the student and not used for any other course. Violation of this policy is an Academic Integrity violation.>> The Annenberg School for Communication is committed to upholding the University’s Academic Integrity Code asdetailed in the SCampus guide. It is the policy of the School of Communication to report all violations of the code. Anyserious violations or pattern of violations of the Academic Integrity Code will result in the student’s expulsion from theCommunication major or minor. The University presumes that you are familiar with its standards and policies. Shouldyou be found to have committed a violation, ignorance of these standards and policies will not be accepted as anexcuse. For further clarification, please refer to “University Student Conduct Code” and “Appendix A” in SCampus. << 2
  • 3. COURSE SCHEDULEWeek 1 – What is Cultural Studies? January 9 Introduction to the Course Handout: Contacts for Final Project January 11 “Cultural Studies and its Theoretical Legacies,” from Stuart Hall (pgs. 262-275) “Pop Goes the Academy: Cult Studies Fights the Power” – Berube (1992)Week 2 – The British Tradition and its Translations January 16 “Culture is Ordinary” – Williams (1958) Excerpts from Doing Cultural Studies – du Gay, Hall, Jane, Mackay, & Negus (1997) January 18 “The Americanization of Cultural Studies” – Pfister (1991) “On the Impossibility of a Global Cultural Studies,” from Stuart Hall (pgs. 361-391)Week 3 – Structure, Agency, and the Sociology of Culture January 23 “A Theory of Structure: Duality, Agency, and Transformation” – Sewell (1992) “Structure, Agency, and the Sticky Problem of Culture” – Hays (1994) January 25 “Ideological Work in Empirical Studies of Culture,” from An Essay on Culture (pgs. 75-113) Response Paper 1 DueWeek 4 – Culture / Discourse / Power January 30 Excerpts from Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste – Bourdieu (1987) “Concerted Cultivation and the Accomplishment of Natural Growth” – Lareau (2003) February 1 “Two Lectures” – Foucault (1976) “Method” [from The History of Sexuality] – Foucault (1978)Week 5 – Marxism and the Study of Culture February 6 “German Ideology,” “Critique of Political Economy,” & “Capital” Excerpts – Marx & Engels “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” – Althusser (1971) February 8 “Hegemony, Intellectuals and the State” – Gramsci (1992) “The Problem of Ideology: Marxism without Guarantees,” from Stuart Hall (pgs. 25-46) 3
  • 4. Week 6 – The Production of Culture February 13 “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” – Benjamin (1969) “The Political Economy of Popular Music” – Storey (1996) February 15 Excerpts from Manufacturing Consent – Herman & Chomsky (2002) “The Business and Politics of Gay Marketing” – Sender (2004) Response Paper 2 DueWeek 7 – The Reception of Culture February 20 “Encoding/Decoding” – Hall (1980) “Television Audience Research: A Critical History” – Morley (1992) February 22 “Banality in Cultural Studies” – Morris (1990) “The Act of Reading the Romance” – Radway (1984)Week 8 – Gender, Feminism, and Sexual Politics February 27 “Stories of Feminism in the 1970s at the CCCS,” in Stuart Hall (pgs. 276-287) “Introduction: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body” – Bordo (1993) “Beauty (Re)Discovers the Male Body” – Bordo (1999) March 1 “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality” – Rubin (1989) “What Is Reproductive Politics?” – Sollinger (2005)Week 9 – Midterm March 6 Midterm Review Response Paper 3 Due March 8 Midterm ExamWeek 10 – Spring BreakWeek 11 – Family Values and the Rhetoric of Cultural Politics March 20 “The Way We Were: Defining the Family Crisis” – Coontz (1992) “The Rhetoric of <Family Values>” – Cloud (1998) March 22 “’Forever is a Long Time’: Romancing the Real in Gay Kinship Ideologies” – Weston (1998) Introduction to Motherhood in Black and White – Feldstein (2000) 4
  • 5. Week 12 – Race, Class, and Popular Culture March 27 “New Ethnicities,” from Stuart Hall (pgs. 441-449) “The Face of America and the State of Emergency” – Berlant (1996) March 29 “Money and Morality” – Hays (2003) Excerpts from Enlightened Racism – Jhally & Lewis (1992) Response Paper 4 DueWeek 13 – Contesting Culture / Consuming Culture April 3 Intro to Learning to Labor: How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs – Willis (1977) “From Culture to Hegemony” [from Subculture: The Meaning of Style] – Hebdige (1979) April 5 “Is Consumption Good for Thinking?” – Canclini (2001) Introduction to Nation of Rebels – Heath & Potter (2004)Week 14 – Techno-Culture April 10 “A Cyborg Manifesto” – Haraway (1991) “Daily Life in Cyberspace” – Rheingold (2000) “The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, & Coolness” – Levy (2006) April 12 “Virtuality and its Discontents” – Turkle (1995) “A Rape in Cyberspace” – Dibbell (1993)Week 15 – Politics Inside and Outside of the Classroom April 17 Excerpts from The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics… – Horowitz (2006) Excerpts from What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts? – Berube (2006) April 19 “Bite Size Theory: Popularizing Academic Criticism” – Berube (1993) “The Formation of a Diasporic Intellectual: An Interview with Stuart Hall” (pgs. 484-503) Response Paper 5 DueWeek 16 – Reports from the Front: On the Relevance of Cultural Studies outside the Academy April 24 Final project presentations April 26 Final project presentationsYour final Project is due Tuesday, May 8, by 11 a.m. 5