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Science and Technology Studies (STS) 1123: A Cultural History of Television Meeting time: MWF 9:05-9:55 AM, Rockefeller

189 Instructor: Aydin Akyurtlu Office Hours: Tuesday 12-1 pm and Thursday 3-4 pm, Rockefeller 172 E-mail: aa488@cornell.edu Description: In this course, students will be introduced to the sociology and history of technology through a broad, semester-long look at television. Students will be asked to analyze television in its public role and in their own consumption of it, examining the technology of television as a material object and system, cultural medium, and political entity. Students will read works in a wide variety of disciplines from authors including Marshall McLuhan, Raymond Williams, and David Foster Wallace. Learning Outcomes: By the end of the semester, I hope you will have gained a grasp of the fundamentals of academic writing and the role of writing in the humanities. You will learn how to write with a particular emphasis on the drafting/revision process essays of increasing length by utilizing thesis summaries, proposals, and outlines to progress from idea to finished product. Writing assignments will require you to learn how to build upon sources that cross disciplines within the humanities, as well as utilizing their own past writings. In addition to the fundamentals of the writing process, you will gain some preparation the different kinds of readings you might come across in future courses. It is my hope that you will be able to use your personal experiences as television viewers to help you gain access to the sometimes difficult academic texts, as well as use the academic texts to help you gain critical insights into your personal viewing habits. Office hours and e-mail policies: While it might be a little intimidating, visiting me during office hours is by far the best way to ensure that you are understanding the readings and the feedback I am giving you on your writing assignments. All students will have to meet with me at least once during the first month of class, and at least once after spring break. Beyond this, attending office hours is purely voluntary, but still highly recommended. Any students who cannot make it to any of the regular hours (e.g., conflicting classes or regular meetings) should let me know as soon as possible so that we can come up with a plan for the semester. For short-notice or one-time conflicts, if you get in contact with me, I will be as flexible as possible in working out a time to meet with you. I will hold regular weekly office hours in Rockefeller 172, but the location of any irregular meetings will likely vary. While I will be very flexible when it comes to meeting in person, I will not be so flexible when it comes to e-mail communication. E-mailed assignments will not be accepted without prior approval. You may feel free to e-mail questions to me, provided they are short and specific;

more extensive questions should be brought to me in person. Do not expect me to respond to emails in less than 24 hours. Please remember this so that you can make sure that you e-mail me enough in advance to get a timely response; I will not respond any more quickly the night before an assignment is due than the week before it is due. Reading assignments and participation: Readings are assigned on a weekly, rather than daily basis. You will be expected to have read all the assigned readings for the week prior to class on Monday, unless otherwise instructed. I reserve the right to make some adjustments to the syllabus down the line. This may include swapping an assigned reading for another of the same length or removing one reading to concentrate on another, but dont worry, I will not add any new mandatory readings to those currently on the syllabus. Although the readings for some weeks might be lengthy or difficult to understand, please try your best, and dont be afraid to stop by my office hours to get help. Since our meetings will be almost entirely based around discussions, it is important that everyone come prepared to speak. I will note your participation in each class, which will go towards a final overall participation grade. I will use a three point system: zero points for absence, one point for attendance with no participation, two points for attendance with minimal participation, and three points for very good participation. My philosophy is to allow discussions to flow naturally, so I encourage students with a lot to say to be sensitive to how much they are speaking in order to give everyone in the class room to speak. Essay assignment submissions: All final assignments should be handed in as a hardcopy at the beginning of class on the date indicated. Any extensions or special accommodations for extenuating circumstances will be dealt with on a case by case basis, but it is far more likely that you will get such accommodations if you talk to me beforehand rather than after the fact. You might notice that some of the class meetings are listed as having peer review activities. For peer review sessions, you will have to e-mail a copy of your assignment to your partner(s) beforehand and come to class prepared with written comments. Our meeting times are short, so do not expect to be able to give or get very helpful feedback if you have to read the assignments in class. Discussion board posts: In addition to formal essay assignments, you will be asked to make two weekly postings to the class discussion board by 5 pm on the Sunday before the first lecture of the week: (1) one post of at least 200 words that should reflect on and analyze one thing you found interesting from the readings for the upcoming week, and (2) one post of at least 100 words that should relate something you have watched on TV to a topic or theme that

we have covered during the semester. You should do your best to read and comment on as many of your classmates posts as possible, but you will be required to choose one reading-related post to comment on. Just because the posts are not formal essays does not mean you can avoid writing in a grammatically and mechanically correct way, or that you do not have to formulate and defend an argument. Grading: Your final grade will be a combination of six essay assignments and your participation. The grading breakdown will be as such: Essay 1 (2-3 pages): 5% Essay 2 (3-5 pages): 10% Essay 3 (4-6 pages): 15% Essay 4 (6-8 pages): 20% Essay 5 (10-12 pages): 25% Discussion board posts: 15% Participation: 10% The grading of each essay assignment will vary, and may include only a final draft, but may also include subcomponents, such as annotated bibliographies, rough drafts, and peer review comments. More precise information on the requirements and grading for each paper will be given with the assignment topics. Weekly Topics List: Unit I: A Brief History of Television Week 1 (Jan. 23rd): Introductions and Early History Monday, 1/23: Introductions Wednesday, 1/25, and Friday, 1/27: Chapters 2-3 in Edgerton, Gary R. The Columbia History of American Television. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007. Week 2 (Jan. 30th): The Post-War Years Edgerton, Ch. 4 Wednesday, 2/1: Essay 1 due in class

Week 3 (Feb. 6th): 1960s and 70s Edgerton, Chs. 6 and 8

Friday, 2/10: Essay 2 due in class

Week 4 (Feb. 13th-Feb. 15th): Syndication and the Current Era Edgerton, Chs. 10 and 12

Unit II: Making Television Work Week 5 (Feb. 20th): The Social Construction of Technology Chapter 11 from Mittell, Jason. Television and American Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. Pinch, Trevor, and Wiebe Bijker. "The Social Construction of Facts and Artifacts: Or How the Sociology of Science and the Sociology of Technology Might Benefit Each Other." In The Social Construction of Technological Systems, edited by Wiebe Bijker, Thomas Hughes and Trevor Pinch. p. 17-50. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1989. Wednesday, 2/22: First draft of Essay 3 due in class Friday, 2/24: In-class workshop of Essay 3 drafts No discussion board posts due this week

Week 6 (Feb. 27th): TV as Technological System Hughes, Thomas P. "The Evolution of Large Technological Systems." In The Social Construction of Technological Systems, edited by Wiebe Bijker, Thomas Hughes and Trevor Pinch. p. 51-82. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1989. Chapter 1 from Mittell Friday, 3/2: Essay 3 due in class

Week 7 (March 5th): Economics and Production Ellis, John. "Television Production." In The Television Studies Reader, edited by Robert C. Allen and Annette Hill. 275-92. London: Routledge, 2004. Chapter 2 from Mittell

Week 8 (March 12th): TV as domestic technology Cockburn, Cynthia, and Susan Ormrod. "White Goods, Brown Goods." In Gender and Technology in the Making. p. 98-127: Sage, 1993. Unit III: Television as Cultural Medium

Draft of Essay 4 due by end of break

Week 10 (March 26th): Television as a Medium "The Playboy Interview: Marshall Mcluhan." Playboy Magazine, 1969 via http://www.mcluhanmedia.com/m_mcl_inter_pb_01.html Williams, Raymond. "Means of Communication as Means of Production." In Culture and Materialism. p. 50-63. London: Verso, 2005. Week 11 (April 2nd): Postmodernism and Narrative Jameson, Frederic. "Video: Surrealism without the Unconscious." In Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. p. 67-96. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991. Week 12 (April 9th): Television and Literature Wallace, David Foster. "E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction." In A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. p. 21-82. New York: Back Bay Books, 1997. Monday, 4/9: Final draft of Essay 4 due in class

Unit IV: Television as Political Technology Week 13 (April 16th): Television and Identity Chapter 8 in Mittell Becker, Ron. "Prime-Time Television in the Gay Nineties: Network Television, Quality Audiences, and Gay Politics." In The Television Studies Reader, edited by Robert C. Allen and Annette Hill. p. 389-403. London: Routledge, 2004. Friday, 4/20: First draft of Essay 5 due in class

Week 14 (April 23rd): Television and Mass Politics Winner, Langdon. "Do Artifacts Have Politics?". In The Social Shaping of Technology, edited by Donald Mackenzie and Judy Wajcman. p. 28-40. Buckingham: Open University Press, 2002. Other readings TBA Monday, 4/23: Workshop Essay 5 first draft in class

Week 15 (April 30th): Wrapping Up

Monday, 4/30: Second draft of Essay 5 due in class Friday, 5/4: Workshop Essay 5 second draft in class