Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Global Media Theory

ENGL 590.401
also offered as: CIMS 580
M 6-9:00

The course offers historical and comparative approaches to studying key theories and debates about media objects, practices, and phenomena. Media as cultural expressions and infrastructural flows are constitutive of global-izing and planetary processes. We begin with telegraph and X-rays and track emergences in biomedical imaging, short-wave radio, satellite transmissions, and drone cameras. Topics covered include: apparatus, intermediality, media materialism, gender and television, convergence cultures, global-popular, race in cyberspace, melodramas and allegory, national cinemas, spectatorship, and geological media. The course attempts to expand the space-times of media theory: following an optical fiber cable from Australia to Guam is global media studies as is drawing translocal connections between mobile phone practices in Japan and Palestine. Studying the adaptation of an Egyptian (Naguib Mahfouz) novel for a Mexican (Arturo Ripstein) film or tracing collaborations between independent women filmmakers through the international film festival circuit does indeed contribute to global media theory. We shall be addressing a range of questions: In what ways is global media theory different from planetary media theory? What counts as media theory and are there privileged places from where such theories have tended to originate? What kind of theory emerges when the discipline of film and media studies finds synergies with fields such as science studies, visual culture, and sound studies? What happens to media archaeology when transposed from Berlin to New Delhi or Kano? What role has the attention to ‘the popular’ in Bollywood, Nollywood, and vernacular music videos played in making media theory ‘global’? Some of the scholars we will be reading are: Caren Kaplan, Rey Chow, Bhaskar Sarkar, Lisa Parks, Lila Abu-Lughod, Akira Lippit, Masha Salazkina, Kajri Jain, Onookome Okome, Wolfgang Ernst, Lynn Spigel, Brian Larkin, Yeidy Rivero, Raka Shome, Weihong Bao, Debra Spitulnik, Patricia White, Yuriko Furuhata, and Christopher Pinney.  

fulfills requirements