ZUR319 Group of experts (subject C): Imagining America: Media and the National Narrative

Faculty of Social Studies
Autumn 2010
Extent and Intensity
0/2. 4 credit(s). Type of Completion: z (credit).
Teacher(s)
John Sumser (lecturer), Mgr. Lenka Waschková Císařová, Ph.D. (deputy)
Mgr. Lenka Waschková Císařová, Ph.D. (seminar tutor)
Mgr. et Mgr. Miroslav Mašek (assistant)
Mgr. Jana Urbanovská, Ph.D. (assistant)
Guaranteed by
prof. PhDr. Jiří Pavelka, CSc.
Department of Media Studies and Journalism - Faculty of Social Studies
Contact Person: Ing. Bc. Pavlína Brabcová
Prerequisites
SOUHLAS
Lectures: December 2 and December 3 Reading of suggested materials.
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.

The capacity limit for the course is 20 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 0/20, only registered: 0/20
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
there are 16 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
1. Politics of Hollywood Films Hollywood action movies, pretty much by definition, are not overtly political. They are, however, about problems, and how problems are defined, understood, and solved always involves some sense of a political worldview. Using the movie Die Hard as a starting point, I will discuss the political assumptions of Hollywood. 2. News Coverage and the 2010 U.S. Elections: Imagining the American Voter  Efforts to simply state what Americans want out of the mid-term elections is complicated by the increased dissatisfaction with the standard two-party framework and by the increased interactivity of the news media.  In on-line editions of newspapers, the standard division between news and commentary now must share space with reader reaction to both news and commentary.  In this talk, I will look at the portrayal of Americans presented in political news, in commentary, and in reader reactions. 3. Media and Myth U.S. news media are most often considered as an example of the “liberal model” of the press. They are seen, that is, as nonpolitical professional reporters of events rather than interpreters or commentators. Bill Moyers, who is a strong defender of this view, however, once said the role of journalists was to provide a “picture of the world on which they could act.” An actionable picture, I will argue, is one that goes well beyond the neutral reporting of events. Journalists, in their efforts to make sense of the world, place events in a narrative that may best be described as mythical. I will be discussing the idea of journalism as mythmaking and how that relates to the journalists’ commitment to truth and neutrality. 4. Media Effects One of the main reasons people are interested in the media is that the media are seen as having a direct and independent impact on both individuals and society. I will discuss the logic and evidence of the claims of “media effects” and consider to what extent the idea of media effects is an historical artifact based in a s
Syllabus
  • Structure, topics and annotation: 1. Politics of Hollywood Films Hollywood action movies, pretty much by definition, are not overtly political. They are, however, about problems, and how problems are defined, understood, and solved always involves some sense of a political worldview. Using the movie Die Hard as a starting point, I will discuss the political assumptions of Hollywood. 2. News Coverage and the 2010 U.S. Elections: Imagining the American Voter  Efforts to simply state what Americans want out of the mid-term elections is complicated by the increased dissatisfaction with the standard two-party framework and by the increased interactivity of the news media.  In on-line editions of newspapers, the standard division between news and commentary now must share space with reader reaction to both news and commentary.  In this talk, I will look at the portrayal of Americans presented in political news, in commentary, and in reader reactions. 3. Media and Myth U.S. news media are most often considered as an example of the “liberal model” of the press. They are seen, that is, as nonpolitical professional reporters of events rather than interpreters or commentators. Bill Moyers, who is a strong defender of this view, however, once said the role of journalists was to provide a “picture of the world on which they could act.” An actionable picture, I will argue, is one that goes well beyond the neutral reporting of events. Journalists, in their efforts to make sense of the world, place events in a narrative that may best be described as mythical. I will be discussing the idea of journalism as mythmaking and how that relates to the journalists’ commitment to truth and neutrality. 4. Media Effects One of the main reasons people are interested in the media is that the media are seen as having a direct and independent impact on both individuals and society. I will discuss the logic and evidence of the claims of “media effects” and consider to what extent the idea of media effects is an historical artifact based in a system that no longer exists and what, if any, can be considered a “media effect”.
Teaching methods
lectures
Assessment methods
Reading of suggested materials. Writing essay on one of the lectures' topic.
Language of instruction
English
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
The course is taught only once.
The course is taught: in blocks.
General note: Souhlas nebude udělen studentům, kteří v tomto semestru mají zapsaný předmět ZUR346, ZUR354 nebo ZUR577.
The course is also listed under the following terms Spring 2006, Autumn 2007, Autumn 2008, Spring 2009, Autumn 2011.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Autumn 2010, recent)
  • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/fss/autumn2010/ZUR319