In this course, you will learn the tools to effectively understand and evaluate the dynamic medium of television. Through various course readings, screenings, activities, and papers, we will cover the following general subject areas, which involve television defined as:
- Commercial industry—the political economy of how television is made
- Democratic institution—beholden to public interest in its use of public airwaves
- Technology—a physical infrastructure
- Textual form—a compilation of specific narrative and production strategies
- Cultural forum—a site for negotiating cultural, social, and political identities
- Everyday lived experience—a cultural discourse we use even when not watching
You will take a multi-perspectival approach to analyzing television, using historical analysis, industrial analysis, textual analysis, and audience/reception studies as a framework. As you progress through the class, you will explore historical and recent representations of diverse groups on television, in order to understand the cultural impact of this pervasive communication medium. You will closely examine the first seasons of two critically-acclaimed shows (Mad Men and Breaking Bad) in order to trace the story structure of—and viewers’ evolving relationship with—a television show over an entire season. Through course discussions and assignments, you will also apply critical lenses to several other prominent examples of contemporary television.
This course can be applied toward:
Textbooks and Materials
Textbooks and materials can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore unless otherwise indicated.
- Netflix subscription
Not available at the CSU Bookstore
- Television Criticism, 2nd Ed. (2013)
O'Donnell, Victoria J.
After having completed a B.A. in Speech Communication at Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2002, Amanda was excited to move to beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado to pursue an M.A. in Communication Studies from Colorado State University. Her Master's Thesis was titled, "The Presentation and Mediation of Winona LaDuke's Political Identity During the 2000 United States' Presidential Campaign," which was chaired by Dr. Karrin Anderson. Amanda has taught full-time as a Special Instructor/Lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies since earning her M.A. in May of 2004. She enjoys teaching Evaluating Contemporary Television, Communication and Popular Culture, Political Communication, and Public Speaking classes at CSU and teaches Interpersonal Communication and Public Speaking classes part-time at Front Range Community College.