An introduction to theories of the media and communications. Particular attention will be paid to the concepts of representation and audience, the political economy of media products, and the social and cultural context in which they occur.
154.115 Stardom and Celebrity in the Media15 credits
This course examines the construction and circulation of stardom and celebrity in media culture.
154.120 Transmedia Narrative and Storytelling15 credits
An introduction to different approaches to the elements, structures and techniques of storytelling, with reference to a range of historical genres and media contexts, and consideration of different forms, including non-linear and transmedia narratives.
An examination of the nature, role and meaning of television within contemporary culture. Particular attention will be given to the changing roles of television with respect to institutions of broadcasting, modes of representation and technological innovation. This will be explored through detailed analysis of various television genres such as news, drama, documentary and comedy.
154.202 Advertising and Consumer Society15 credits
A study of the meaning and significance of advertising within contemporary society with particular emphasis on the ideological role of advertising and the visual techniques employed in the production of meaning in advertisements. Critical theories will be used to explore the role of advertising in consumer culture, identity politics and processes of globalisation.
A survey of cultural theories and debates in relation to modern mass media. A number of issues such as identity, representation and cultural politics will be considered in their historical contexts and in relation to a variety of texts from popular culture and the media.
A study of the history of film using case studies and including a consideration of the ways in which social contexts, industrial conditions, technologies and individuals have influenced film narratives and film theory.
A study of the genre of documentary (non-fiction) film. The course will provide students with a critical awareness of the theory, history and various forms relevant to the genre. Students will plan and produce short documentary films. NOTE: Students require access to their own video camera and editing facilities.
154.250 Digital Media: Theory and Practice15 credits
An exploration of the social, cultural, economic and technological transformations brought about by contemporary digital and networked media. Students will develop critical digital media literacies and learn to produce digital media.
A consideration of theoretical and critical approaches to the study of how culture, power and media interact in contemporary society. Attention will be given to the question of cultural identity and to how this relates to changing attitudes to nationhood and to the impact of consumerism.
An exploration of the formal, social, cultural and political issues associated with the adaptation of novels into film texts, ranging from classic Hollywood narrative film to the contemporary blockbuster.
154.311 Social Media and Digital Cultures15 credits
An examination of the social, economic and political transformations that digital media technologies have created. Particular attention will be paid to the development of social media, digital cultures, net-worked relationships and mobile identities alongside the links between media technologies and cultural practices.
A study of the representation of traumatic experience, including violence, abuse, war, genocide and terror in photography, film, television and the internet. The course also considers how psychological theories of trauma have influenced critical approaches to the media.
New media technologies and global patterns of media distribution have produced complex, emergent practices of transnational community formation, text-sharing and collaborative media production. This course examines these practices in relation to the maintenance and negotiation of cultural identity in the contemporary world.
154.314 Independent Media in the Information Age15 credits
This course critically evaluates the rise of independent media in the context of the information age, where 'communication' is increasingly central to the exercise of social and political power. The course sets a theoretical context for understanding contemporary 'mainstream' and 'independent' media, then explores a range of independent media forms and practices that seek to generate alternative points of view.
A critical examination of the nature, role and meaning of popular music within contemporary Western societies. Particular attention will be paid to the political economy of the international music industry, music and technology, genre and musical texts, making music, stardom and auteur studies, and audiences and subcultures.
An exploration of the development of the New Zealand film industry with a focus on aesthetics and national identity. Key films are examined in relation to wider contexts, such as history, politics, economics, and culture, which have all contributed to the creation of a distinctive local film industry and film culture.
Drawing on a variety of contemporary visual, televisual, digital and cinematic texts, this course engages with a range of advanced theoretical models for interpreting the form, function and politics of humour in the contemporary media with particular reference to ideas of satire.
154.701 Modern and Postmodern Visual Cultures30 credits
An introduction to the key critical debates and cultural practices that have defined the response to modern mass media and their major ideological formations. Particular emphasis is placed on avant-garde notions of montage and their continuing influence on postmodern media theory and practice.
This course engages students with a variety of critical and theoretical approaches to cinema, mapping their development across history and examining their usefulness in understanding the social, cultural, economic, political and aesthetic significance of film.
154.704 Researching Media and Cultural Studies30 credits
An introduction to theoretical frameworks and research designs and methods in Media Studies and Cultural Studies and to various issues that arise in the conduct of research. Students preparing to undertake research-based theses or projects will receive assistance in the preparation of their proposals.
A study of the historical phenomenon of film noir, along with the related genre of the noir novel. The emphasis will be on classical film noir but more recent texts will also be examined. A variety of critical and theoretical approaches will be used.
154.708 Modern Fiction, Popular Culture and the Media30 credits
An examination of major developments in approaches to fiction in the twentieth century, focusing on modern and postmodern trends, and on how these have impacted on the rise and alleged decline of distinctions between elite art and popular culture. Texts for analysis are selected from both literature and film and include examples of canonical as well as popular fiction.
This course examines the role of technology in producing and transforming contemporary culture. Through the investigation of key theorists, particular attention is given to the pivotal role technology plays in shaping space, time, and experience.
This course provides an advanced-level overview of the communication discipline, its history, key concepts, competing traditions, and noted scholars. Critical, creative and organisational theories and concepts from a broad communication studies body of knowledge are historicised, compared, and critically evaluated. Throughout the course, communication knowledge is applied to illuminate communication questions from media, industry and society.
154.747 Media Practice and Global Culture30 credits
This course examines the critical context of contemporary media practice, exploring how media texts, technologies, and institutions respond to and produce processes of globalisation. Students will focus on the use of digital and mobile media technologies, and consciously negotiate decisions regarding the cultural, social, political, economic, ethical and environmental implications of their own media production, distribution and consumption.