Performing Mythologies in the Contemporary Global World
UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST
PROF. MEGAN LEWIS
Office: Fine Arts Center 107
Coffee & Chat Hours: Monday & Thursday 4-5pm or by appointment
Glenn Proud firstname.lastname@example.org
Tues & Thur 1:00pm-2:15pm
Integrated Learning Center S220
(Syllabus/schedule subject to change with advance warning from Instructor)
COURSE WEBSITE: moodle.umass.edu
Lessons, readings, viewings and written work are all accessible through the course Moodle site, which you can log onto at https://moodle.umass.edu with your UMass username and password.
If Prof. Lewis or your TA needs to reach you, your UMass Email account is our primary point of contact. You are expected to check your email (where moodle announcements are pushed) DAILY for announcements, assignments, and feedback.
TH105 Syllabus Page 1
We live in a mediatized world that bombards us with cultural messages, energy, and ideology on a daily basis.
As a core course in your General Education, this introductory level class asks you to question common assumptions about media, which include theatre/performance, literature, film, advertising, radio, music, social media and other forms. Using dramatic conventions, structures, and techniques as tools to enable indepth analysis and critique, we will explore the following questions: How are media constructed and produced?
Received and understood?
And how do media make meaning in culture?
How are the stories and mythologies that circulate in various media (film, TV, print, social media) made "dramatic" or framed by and structured using theatrical techniques? And to what ends?
How do social groups perform themselves and others?
Locating our study in the cultures of the United States, Middle East, and Africa, and by exploring the connections between "drama" and "media," we will develop our abilities to critically analyze and decode meaning embedded in media texts, consider how nations perform themselves and Others using various media, and ultimately become more savvy, ethical media consumers/producers and citizens of our global world.
Course Structure: Across the course we will build our theoretical and content framework. Punctuated at three points in the course, we apply theory to practice with an opportunity to make media through a collaborative creative radio drama project, a social media project, and a culture jamming project. Students will explore the dramatic potential of various genres of media – news, documentary films, romantic comedies, Disney films, radio dramas, culture jams, theatrical plays, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, ad campaigns – as means of communicating or commenting upon culture in the US, Middle East and Africa.
Course Topics: In addition to providing you with key media literacy and dramatic tools and terminology with which to approach various media, we will also focus on several topics throughout the course including Sports and/as Performance, Advertising & Culture Jamming, Performing Online
Identities/Virtual Selves, the Intelligence Work of Documentary Films, Crime TV & the Staging of
Blackness, Mythic Arabs and Africans, and What the News Performs. We will practice analyzing and evaluating case studies in class, and students will then be assessed on their ability to apply analytic and evaluative tools through short writing assignments, quizzes, and team-based activities.
TH105 Syllabus Page 2
G EN ED FULFILLM EN TS:
General Education aims at personal enrichment, cultural awareness, and breadth of knowledge.
General education requirements will help to prepare you for a lifetime of learning and give you skills for community engagement and informed citizenship.
This course fulfills two general education requirem ents:
Theatre & Performance Studies and Media Studies are intrinsically artistic fields. This class provokes comparison and critical acuity