Course Spotlight: Cultural Studies in the Digital Age

This class provides graduate students with an overview of the most foundational texts in critical-cultural studies, while also introducing them to some of the most cutting-edge research on digital media and its relationship to the social and the political. Throughout the course, students will think transnationally about the meaning of culture in the digital age, taking care to interrogate the “western” biases that still pervade much of the scholarly literature in critical-cultural media studies.

The course will explore themes that include, but are not limited to: 1) How should one define “culture” in the age of globalization? 2) What impact do digital media practices have on our understanding of culture? 3) How do questions of ideology and hegemony get reworked in the digital, “global” age? 4) Is political economy still relevant in the digital age, and if so, how does it impact digital media? 5) How do digital media practices complicate cultural understandings of gender and sexuality and how do gender and sexuality, in turn, complicate digital media practices? 6) How do cultural understandings of race, ethnicity, and nationality become more complicated in the digital age, and how do these cultural identifications in turn complicate digital media practices? 7) What is the meaning of terms like “interactivity” and “participation” in the digital age and how can one distinguish between the discursive promise of these concepts, and their reality when put into practice?

The course welcomes both qualitative and quantitative students from a variety of departments on campus. Students will be able to pursue a final research project of their choice, provided they draw upon a few of the course readings to think through their argument.

J 803: “Mass Communication and Culture”
3 credits
Tuesday 3:30-6pm
Vilas Hall 5013
Fall 2018

Lindsay Palmer is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UW-Madison. She studies global media from a qualitative perspective, especially focusing on the cultural labor of conflictcorrespondents in the digital age.