Course Description

MIT 4039F-001 (Fall 2021)   Special Topics in MIT: Mass Culture Critique, Revisited

Instructor: K. Keightley

Course Description
Attacks on "fake news" and distrust of "the Media" aren't new.  This seminar historicizes such criticisms by revisiting the notorious midcentury critique of mass culture, its ancestors and descendants. While Adorno, Greenberg, MacDonald and others made it central to the new discipline of communication/media studies in the 1950s and 60s, the critique drew on much older polemics against "yellow journalism," "canned music," and "movie-made children." It then influenced commonsense views of television as "a vast wasteland" and rock music's countercultural investments in authenticity. The seminar thus traces out a genealogy of mass media critique from the 1890s into the 1960s and beyond.

Prerequisites: Registration in fourth year of an Honours Specialization module in FIMS, or permission of the instructor. Note: Enrolment is based on a ballot system which is submitted prior to course registration.

3 lecture hours, 0.5 course.