Weissman School of Arts and Sciences

Winter 2014 – Special Topics

ANT 3085 JAND1 -  Africa in Film and Museums
This intensive course explores historical and contemporary issues in Africa through the medium of film and museum exhibitions.  These films and exhibits introduce historical, political, and social challenges such as colonialism, autocracy, corruption, and racial reconciliation.  Additionally, they force us to contend with the issue of representation:  How has Africa/How have Africans been represented by “others” and by themselves?  In this class we will sample some films made in different parts of the continent, and we will also visit various museums throughout New York City.  As such, we will read about African film and museum studies to discuss what they tell us about the societies where the films/exhibitions were made and about the politics of visual representation.  Our goal is not only to gain exposure to African issues, but also to improve our ability to analyze how filmmakers and museum curators portray important social questions.  Note:  Students will be responsible for the cost of museum admission; we will visit at least three locations.

ANT 3085 JAND3 - YouTube, Gender & The Digital Divide
The aims of this course is to give students an introduction to digital ethnography and the ethnographic study of Youtube and gender stratification online.  With the convergence of old and new media via mobile devices in a "participatory" (vs. consumer) culture inequalities were supposed to disappear. Building on previous collaborative studies by former Baruch students, students will design, analysis and create a digital ethnography about black female presentations of self online as consumers and content creators. We will do informal observations on YouTube, semi-structured interviews, and invite guests to speak on digital natives and digital immigrants to help us distinguish the digitally divided on YouTube. Qualitative research design, internet studies and collaborative study will allow us to explore economic and social inequalities that often go unnoticed in the 21st century information/knowledge economy.

COM 4101 JANE - Computer Mediated Communication & Contemporary Culture
This course examines the impact of computers on culture and situates the current ubiquity of computers in everyday life within larger histories of technological and scientific change. Using a range of texts from the humanities and social sciences, as well as work by filmmakers and visual artists, the course provides an overview of key aspects of computer-mediated life in our digital age. In addition to working toward a deep understanding of our required texts, the course also examines other topics, including new media art practices, debates about the real and the virtual, media convergence, surveillance, open source culture, activism and social networking. Central to our efforts will be a consistent examination of the ways social identities, as informed by gender, race, class, sexuality and other vectors of difference, shape and are shaped by media, science, and technology

ENG 3685 JAND3 -  Lyrics as Literature [Stephen Sondheim]
Some say Stephen Sondheim‘s shows sound spectacular; the lyrics scintillate.  His splendid songs soar. He has reached a supreme status by his eight Tonys, eight Grammys, and a Pulitzer Prize. We will study his success and style.  Specifically, we will see his shows and read Stephen Sondheim: Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981). Several classes will be scheduled at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. 

SOC 3085 JAND1 -  Africa in Film and Museums
This intensive course explores historical and contemporary issues in Africa through the medium of film and museum exhibitions.  These films and exhibits introduce historical, political, and social challenges such as colonialism, autocracy, corruption, and racial reconciliation.  Additionally, they force us to contend with the issue of representation:  How has Africa/How have Africans been represented by “others” and by themselves?  In this class we will sample some films made in different parts of the continent, and we will also visit various museums throughout New York City.  As such, we will read about African film and museum studies to discuss what they tell us about the societies where the films/exhibitions were made and about the politics of visual representation.  Our goal is not only to gain exposure to African issues, but also to improve our ability to analyze how filmmakers and museum curators portray important social questions.  Note:  Students will be responsible for the cost of museum admission; we will visit at least three locations.

SOC 3085 JAND3 - YouTube, Gender & The Digital Divide
The aims of this course is to give students an introduction to digital ethnography and the ethnographic study of Youtube and gender stratification online.  With the convergence of old and new media via mobile devices in a "participatory" (vs. consumer) culture inequalities were supposed to disappear. Building on previous collaborative studies by former Baruch students, students will design, analysis and create a digital ethnography about black female presentations of self online as consumers and content creators. We will do informal observations on YouTube, semi-structured interviews, and invite guests to speak on digital natives and digital immigrants to help us distinguish the digitally divided on YouTube. Qualitative research design, internet studies and collaborative study will allow us to explore economic and social inequalities that often go unnoticed in the 21st century information/knowledge economy.



The City University of New York