Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Global TV

ENGL 378.401
crosslisted as: ARTH 379.401, CIMS 378.401
instructor(s):
W 2-5:00
fulfills requirements:
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major

This course maps the footprints of television at a global scale. Adopting comparative approaches, we will be studying TV's formation of national and global discourses, and thereby recognizing not only television’s impact on processes of globalization, but also the ability of television to matter globally. Working through concepts of “broadcasting,” “flow,” “circulation,” and “circumvention,” the course examines the movement of (and blocks encountered by) television programs and signals across national borders and cultures. The course particularly focuses on how global television cultures have been transformed due to shifts from broadcasting technologies to (Internet) streaming services. Course readings help us to historically trace the infrastructural systems like satellites (and undersea cables) that made (and continue to make) transmission of television programming possible across the world. Navigating from United States and Cuba to India and Egypt, the readings in the course illuminate how particular televisual genres, institutions, and reception practices emerged in various countries during specific historical periods.

We shall be addressing a range of questions: what kind of global phenomenon is television? Can we study television in countries where we do not know the existing local languages? What are the national and transnational histories of telenovelas in Latin America? In what different ways (through what platforms, interfaces, and screens) do people in different continents access televisual content? What explains the growing transnational exports of Turkish and Korean TV dramas? How do fans circumvent geo-blocking to watch live sporting events? Assignments include submitting weekly discussion questions and a final paper.