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. Yuriko Furuhata
Office: 688 Sherbrooke Ouest, Room #266 Office hours: TBA Course Description The course is organized around the political and conceptual problem of mediation, tracing the trajectory of the development of modern media technologies into the present day. Mediation is a mode of power as much as it is a transformative process. Focusing around the concept of mediation challenges us to reflect on the field of “media studies” and its encounter with “Asia.” The course is structured around theoretical issues pertaining to old and new technological modes of mediation – from photography and architecture to software and biometrics – the readings are selected on the basis of their methodological compatibility and their potential to bring the context of media in places like Japan and China to bear upon the discipline of media studies. The aim here is to develop a conceptually and geopolitically expanded field of media studies – to push the discipline of media studies beyond its comfortable boundaries of North America. Thus, the readings may not necessarily be about discrete media forms, such as television and cinema. Rather, they are meant to offer critical frameworks through which we may rethink the question of mediation as it informs the discipline of media studies. The course is also based on the premise that we must go beyond the simple dichotomy between the West and the East, if one were to generate a productive dialogue between media studies and area studies. Designed as a graduate reading seminar for students interested in film and media studies, communications studies, cultural studies, area studies, and art history, the course encourages students to critically reflect on the historicity of analytical methods, disciplinary boundaries, and economic and political conditions that shape our perception of media in and beyond Asia.
Readings The course pack will be available at McGill University Bookstore. Assignments and Evaluation 1/Attendance 10 % You are allowed one unexcused absence. Since we only have 12 full classes (after the first week), missing more than one week will affect your final grade. If you have a legitimate reason to be absent, please make sure to contact me. 2/Participation & Weekly One-Paragraph Response Papers 30 % You should complete all assigned readings before coming to class and be prepared to participate thoughtfully and actively in class discussion. The weight of the grade for the participation will
be divided between your contribution to class discussion, your facilitation of discussion on assigned days, and your weekly response papers. The classroom is a place for you to explore new ways of thinking, expressing and exchanging your ideas with your fellow classmates. Never hesitate to ask a question, even if you think it’s basic or trivial, as long as you are respectful to others. As part of your participation requirements, you must submit a short one-paragraph response to the readings assigned for each week. This response paper must be emailed to the instructor 24 hours before the class (i.e. by Monday 2:30PM). The purpose of this assignment is to allow you to both identify and articulate issues and questions raised by the readings before you come to the seminar. This response paper should identify at least one key issue raised by each text assigned that week. Some weeks you will be asked to facilitate class discussion, drawing on questions you address in your response papers. 4/ Midterm Paper or Critical Media Project 20 % The midterm paper should be 6-8 pages in length, and needs to have an original thesis. While the paper should extensively engage with at least three readings, it should have also present a coherent argument that brings these readings into a productive dialogue. You can analyze cultural and methodological assumptions of the readings and/or elaborate a key issue or question raised by these readings. You may anchor your analysis around a particular example, but the weight of your analysis should be on theoretical and conceptual implications of the readings. You also have the option of doing a critical media project instead of writing a traditional paper. If you take this option, you can create a media project (e.g. a short video, animation, website), which critically addresses one key issue or question raised by the course readings. The project must be accompanied by a short paper, which engages with at least two readings and clearly explains the theoretical rationale of your creation. The total length of the paper should be 5-6 pages. As you summarize, analyze, or criticize ideas from other theorists, make sure to provide full citations, including page numbers. Failure to provide appropriate citations will affect your grade. The paper/project is due in class on Oct.15. 5/ Final Paper 40 % You will write a research paper that engages with essays read in class (at least two of which were not discussed in your midterm paper or project). You may write a purely theoretical essay, or combine both theoretical engagement and object analysis. The total length of the paper should be 15-18 pages. You will present on your paper in the workshop on Dec. 3. The final paper is due on Dec.10. Note: 1) In accord with McGill University’s Charter of Students’ Rights, students in this course have the right to submit in English or in French any written work that is to be graded; 2) McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore, all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offences under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures (see www.mcgill.ca/integrity for more information); 3) In the event of extraordinary circumstances beyond the University’s control, the content and/or evaluation scheme in this course is subject to change.
SCHEDULE Sept. 3 Introduction: Sept. 10 Electricity and Spiritual Mediums • W.T.J. Mitchell and Mark B.N. Hansen, “Introduction” in Critical Terms in Media Studies. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2010, pp. vii-xxii. • Michael Dylan Foster, “Science of the Weird: Inoue Enryô, Kokkuri, and Human Electricity,” Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yôkai, 77-114. • Jeffrey Sconce, “Mediums and Media,” Haunted Media, Durham: Duke University Press, 2000, 21-58. Supplementary Reading • Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt. Trans. Harry Zohn. New York: Schocken, 1968, pp. 217-252. Sept. 17 Mediation and the Aura: Photography and Cinema • Gyewon Kim, “Tracing the Emperor: Photography, Famous Places, and the Imperial Progress in Prewar Japan,” Representations, 120.1 (Fall 2012): 115-150. • Kitada Akihiro, “An Assault on ‘Meaning’: On Nakai Masakazu’s Concept of ‘Mediation,’” trans. Alexander Zahlten, in Review of Japanese Culture and Society (December 2010), pp. 88-103. • Miriam Hansen, Cinema and Experience: Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, and Theodor W. Adorno. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012, 104-118. • Walter Benjamin, “Little History of Photography,” Walter Benjamin: Selected Writing Volume 2, 1927-1934. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999, 507-530. Sept. 24 Politics of Reproduction: Money and Print Media • Hans Magnus Enzensberger, “Constituents of a Theory of the Media” The New Media Reader, 261-275. • Jean Baudrillard, “Requiem for the Media” in Nick Montfort and Noah WardripFruin, eds. The New Media Reader. Cambridge: MIT, 2003, pp. 277-288. • William Marotti, “Naming the Real,” Money, Trains, and Guillotines: Art and Revolution in 1960s Japan. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013, 245-283. Oct. 1 Communication and Consumption: Television I • Jean Baudrillard, “The Ecstasy of Communication,” The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. Port Townsend: Bay Press, 1983, 126-134. • Marc Steinberg, “Material Communication and the Mass Media Toy,” Anime’s Media Mix (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 87-132. • Lynn Spigel, “Portable TV,” Welcome to the Dreamhouse: Popular Media and Postwar Suburbs. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001, 60-103.
Oct. 8 Governance and Labour: Television II • Anna McCarthy, “The Rhythms of the Reception Area: Crisis, Capitalism, and the Waiting Room TV,” Television after TV: Essays on a Medium in Transition, eds. Lynn Spigel and Jan Olsson. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004, 183-209. • Joy V. Fuqua, Prescription TV: Therapeutic Discourse in the Hospital and at Home. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012, 72-92. • Gabriella Lukacs, “Dream Labor in Dream Factory: Japanese Commercial Television in the Era of Market Fragmentation,” Television, Japan, and Globalization, eds. Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto, Eva Tsai, and JungBong Choi. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010, 173-194. Supplementary Reading • Lauren Berlant, “Slow Death (Obesity, Sovereignty, Lateral Agency),” Cruel Optimism. Durham: Duke University Press, 95-119. Oct. 15 Information Traffic: Architecture I **Midterm Paper or Project Due*** • Marshall McLuhan, “Roads and Paper Routes,” Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1994, 89-105. • Kenzō Tange, “A Plan for Tokyo, 1960: Toward a Structural Reorganization,” Architecture Culture: 1943-1968: A Documentary Anthology, ed. Joan Ockman (New York: Columbia Books of Architecture, 1993), 325-334. • Reinhold Martin, The Organizational Complex: Architecture, Media, and Corporate Space, Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2003, 15-41. Supplementary Reading • Hyunjung Cho, “Expo 70: The Modern City of an Information Society,” Review of Japanese Culture and Society (December 2011): 57-71. Oct. 22 Cybernetic Organization: Architecture II • Arata Isozaki, “Invisible City,” Architecture Culture: 1943-1968: A Documentary Anthology, ed. Joan Ockman (New York: Columbia Books of Architecture, 1993), 401-407. • Beatriz Colomina, “Enclosed by Images: The Eameses’ Multimedia Architecture,” Grey Room, No.2 (Winter, 2001), 5-29. • Paul N. Edwards, The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America, Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1996, 113-145. • Peter Galison, “The Ontology of the Enemy: Norbert Wiener and the Cybernetic Vision,” Critical Inquiry 21.1 (Autumn, 1994): 228-266.
Oct. 29 Biopolitical Management of Life: Animation • Michel Foucault, Chapter 11, Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975-1976, trans. David Macey, eds. Mauro Bertani and Alessandro Fontana (New York: Picador, 2003), 239-264. • Thomas Lamarre, “The Biopolitics of Companion Species: Wartime Animation and Multi-ethnic Nationalism,” The Politics of Culture: Around the Work of Naoki Sakai, ed. Richard Calichman. (London: Routledge, 2010), 72-90. • Roberto Esposito, “The Immunization Paradigm,” Diacritics 36.2 (Summer 2006): 23-48. Nov. 5: Special Effects Conference – class canceled. • Please attend at least one panel at the conference. • If you have the time, also visit DHC/ART gallery to see the Corey Arcangel Exhibit: http://www.dhc-art.org/fr/exhibitions/cory-arcangel Nov. 12 Biopolitical Imagination: Software and Database • Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, “Order from Order, or Life According to Software,” Programmed Visions (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2011), 101-131. • Hiroki Azuma, “Database Animals,” Fandom Unbound: Otaku Culture in a Connected World, eds. Mizuko Ito, Daisuke Okabe, Izumi Tsuji. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012, 30-67. • Julian Dibbell, “Viruses Are Good for You,” New Media: Old Media, ed. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun & Thomas Keenan. London: Routledge (2006), 219-232. Supplementary Reading • Eugene Thacker, “Biomedia,” Critical Terms for Media Studies, eds. W.J.T. Mitchell and Mark B.N. Hansen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010, 117-130. Nov. 19 Surveillance and Tracking: Digital Media • Tess Takahashi, “Experiments in Documentary Animation: Anxious Borders, Speculative Media,” Animation 6.3 (2011): 231-245. • Kelly A. Gates, “Finding the Face of Terror in Data,” Our Biometric Future: Facial Recognition Technology and the Culture of Surveillance. New York: New York University Press, 2011, 97-124. • Çağatay Topal, “Necropolitical Surveillance: Immigrants from Turkey in Germany,” Beyond Biopolitics, eds. Patricia Ticineto Clough and Craig Willse. Durham: Duke University Press, 2011, 238-257. Watch Stranger Comes to Town: http://vimeo.com/32929858 It’s Not My Memory of It: http://vimeo.com/1863049
Nov.26 Mimesis and Ethnicity: Media Industries • Laikwan Pang, “A Semiotics of the Counterfeit Product,” China’s Creative Industries and Intellectual Property Rights Offenses, 183-202. • Bliss Cua Lim, “Generic Ghosts: Remaking the New ‘Asian Horror Film’” in Gina Marchetti and Tan See Kam, eds., Hong Kong Film, Hollywood, and New Global Cinema: No Film Is An Island (London: Routledge, 2007), pp. 109-125. • Rey Chow, “Keeping Them in Their Place: Coercive Mimeticism and Cross-Ethnic Representation,” The Protestant Ethnic & The Spirit of Capitalism, 95-127. Supplementary Reading • Lisa Nakamura, “Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game: The Racialization of Labor in World of Warcraft,” Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory, ed. Trebor Scholz, 187-204. Dec. 3: Dec. 10. Last day of class: Workshop & Presentations Final Paper Due.
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