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SPCM 341 - Evaluating Contemporary Television

  • 3 credits

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. Through course discussions and assignments, you will also apply critical lenses to several other prominent examples of contemporary television.


CO 150 (College Composition (GT-CO2)) or SPCM 100 (Communication and Popular Culture (GT-AH1)) or SPCM 130 (Relational and Organizational Communication (GT-SS3)) or SPCM 200 (Public Speaking) or SPCM 201 (History and Theory of Rhetoric (GT-AH3)) or SPCM 207 (Public Argumentation); and sophomore standing.

Textbooks and Materials

No text required.