Media and Visual Culture Studies 

The Director 
Piers Britton

Affiliated Faculty
Katherine Baber, School of Music
Kathleen Feeley, History
Jim Spickard, Sociology and Anthropology

Advisory Board
Nancy Carrick, English 
Patricia Cornez, Computer Science
Kelly Hankin, Johnston Center
Priya Jha, English 
Hongwei Lu, Asian Studies
Tim Seiber, Johnston Center

The Program 
Today we live in a world of media, new and old, which bombard us with information, stimuli, and images. In Media and Visual Culture Studies, you have the opportunity to engage critically with a wide array of historical and contemporary media, from the printing press to post-network television. In MVC classes, you will learn to interpret media texts and forms, evaluate different kinds of engagement with media, and understand the ways in which media and visual culture help to organize day-to-day experience, societal mores and expectations, patterns of consumption, and notions of cultural value. The ability to make effective critical judgments about media and visual culture informs responsible citizenship and is essential to innovation in professional life.

Learning outcomes for this program may be found at: www.redlands.edu/BA-MVC/learning-outcomes.

The Major
Media and Visual Culture Studies is an interdisciplinary program offering courses carrying the MVC alpha and cross-listed courses from a range of departments.

Requirements 
The major consists of 44 credits or eleven courses, including the following required elements:

Core (2 courses/8 credits)

All majors complete both courses. Please note: MVC 101 is usually before the junior year. MVC 201 is usually before spring of the junior year. 

 

MVC 101 Introduction to Media and Visual Culture Studies (4 Credits)

Introduces students to the critical study of visual culture and the spectrum of media. Provides basic grounding in the critical analysis of film, broadcast media, and new media, introducing techniques of formal, semiotic, and feminist analysis, etc. and approaches such as reception theory.

MVC 201 Writing on Media and Visual Culture (4 Credits)

This writing-intensive course is designed to help students to hone their ability to think and write critically about film, television and other media, develop research skills, and cultivate their ability to write a sustained paper without a fixed topic or assignment. Focus of course subject matter varies. 

History and Theory of Media Culture (2 courses)

Relevant courses include the ones listed. Others need to be approved by the MVC faculty. 

MVC 111 Introduction to the Art of Film (4 Credits)

This course introduces students to the primary visual, aural, and narrative conventions used in the creation of film, including editing, mise-en-scène, sound, cinematography, and digital effects. By developing a core set of analytical skills around observation, students will learn some of the ways that films become meaningful for their audiences. 

MVC 211 Screen Genres (3-4 Credits)

Introduces the concept of genre and how it has been understood in film and media studies, exploring the basis for generic categorization, engaging with debates over contested categories (such as film noir, the women’s film, and melodrama), and examining specific instances of one or more genres. 

MVC 213 Sports, Media & Culture (4 Credits)

Analyzes the relationship between sport and its coverage and representation in print, radio, film, television, and now the Internet, and how that convergence has influenced various cultural dynamics. 
Offered as needed.

ARTH 326 Modernism and Modernity (4 Credits)

This course provides the student with a foundational knowledge of modern/modernist art of the 19th and earlier 20th centuries, including painting, sculpture, architecture, graphic design, and photography. It develops and extends material covered in ARTH 102, but also offers a self-contained introduction to formal and contextual analysis of art. 
Prerequisite: ARTH 102 or permission.

ARTH 328 After the Modern (4 Credits)

Examines the relationship between various modernisms and post-modernism and their impact on art production from the early 20th century to the contemporary period. Considers concepts such as artist and viewer subjectivity, ethnic and gender asymmetries, as well as the influence of technology, late capitalism, and globalism.

AST 211 Contemporary Chinese Film (4 Credits)

Examines the cinematic representations of social and cultural transformations of modern China. Topics include analysis of visual-aural spectacles and their aesthetic merits against a backdrop of materials that deal with historical conditions, ideological underpinnings, cultural practices, and social-economic transformation. 

ENGL 114 War in Literature and Film (4 Credits)

Exploration of ways in which war is reflected in literature and film, including a variety of genres. Consideration of ethical issues is integral to the course. Extensive writing and active class discussion are required.

ENGL 250 Theories of Popular Culture (4 Credits)

Why should we take popular culture seriously, and how do we read it critically? An introduction to the methods, issues, and theories developed and applied within the interdisciplinary field of Cultural Studies, including semiotics, structuralist and post-structuralist approaches, ideological analyses, as well as feminist and ethnic studies-based methods.
Offered as needed.

ENGL 311 Film and Literature (4 Credits)

Study of the practice and theory of adapting film from literature, demonstrated in select literary works made into feature films. 
Recommended: MVC 111 or by permission.

HIST 223 Anxiety, Race, and Empire: U.S. c. 1900 (4 Credits)

From 1876–1917, the U.S. experienced optimism and dismay over profound economic, demographic, cultural, and political changes. This course explores shifting conceptions of race and empire (both on the closing frontier and worldwide); mass media’s development; and questions of modernity, authenticity, and identity at the oft-bewildering dawn of the “American Century.” 
Offered as needed.

HIST 229 U.S. History on Film (3-4 Credits)

Analyze history of U.S. film industry and society and explore the political, economic, social, and cultural meaning of film. Consider strengths and limits of film as a tool for understanding U.S. culture and history. Key themes: class; gender; and racial conflict and consciousness; and the rise of a mass consumer culture and American empire. 
Offered as needed.

HIST 273 Cyberculture and the Networked Society in the Information Age (4 Credits)

The Information Revolution has ushered in a new age of transformative changes in social interactions, techniques of production and commerce, cultural modes and practices, and political institutions and processes. Examination of the impact of computers, the Internet, and the World Wide Web on human society and global culture. 
Offered as needed.

HIST 324 Cold War America (4 Credits)

Explore how the Cold War has shaped U.S. (and global) economy, culture, politics, gender roles, media, and history. Topics include McCarthyism, nuclear politics, civil rights activism and backlash and Cold War literature.
Offered as needed.

HIST 328 Gender, Media, and U.S. Culture (4 Credits)

Study of gender and media theory and history in modern United States. Major themes include the evolution of the mass media, how this media both reflects and shapes gender roles and norms, and how gender norms and stereotypes have evolved and have also shaped U.S. media.

REST 232 Representing Race and Ethnicity in Film (4 Credits)

Explores the important role that dominant and alternative film practices have played in revealing, defining, and negotiating our understandings of race and ethnicity. 
Offered as needed.

SOAN 206 Popular Culture (4 Credits)

Introduction to the analysis of popular culture; how the cultural products of post-industrial society shape and police the subjectivity of individuals; how people use, abuse, and subvert these cultural products to create their own meanings in efforts of self-determination.
Offered as needed.

SOAN 347 Visual Ethnography (3 Credits)

Explores the use of visual media in ethnographic research, including past and current trends in ethnographic photography and film. Examines anthropology’s history of cultural and aesthetic analysis. Includes ethnographic field trips to local sites, digital lab work, and an ethnographic project using still photography. Students will improve their camera skills. 
Prerequisite: SOAN 102, or MVC 101, or by permission. 
Offered as needed.

WGS 249 Women Filmmakers (4 Credits)

Focuses on the rich tradition of women directors who have made their marks on film history and audiences. Students will focus on the films of a number of prominent female directors from a range of historical time periods, cinema traditions, and national film industries.
Offered as needed.

WGS 341 Gender and Nation (4 Credits)

This course explores the ways gender informs our understanding of nationalism, and how nationalist discourses imagine and construct identities in specifically gendered, class, race, community, and caste terms in various locales. We will read a variety of different works by feminist scholars, political scientists, literary critics, and historians. 

Production (1 course)

Relevant courses are listed. Other courses will need approval by the MVC faculty. 

MVC 202 Visual Storytelling (4 Credits)

Explores the means of creating narrative through media with a central visual component, chiefly still photography and digital filmmaking. Students will analyze effective visual storytelling, and will devise, make, and edit a series of exploratory exercises, developing awareness of techniques proper to the medium.

MVC 203 Screenwriting (4 Credits)

This course serves as an introduction to screenwriting for feature films and television. Work includes critical examination of screenplays and finished films, and both critical and exploratory writing, including a group television assignment and a first draft of a first act of a feature screenplay. 

ART 235 Introduction to Photography (4 Credits)

Using a digital camera, students produce original work in response to a series of lectures, assignments, and bi-weekly critiques. A range of tools, including color correction, selections, layers, and inkjet printing are addressed. Students will complete an integrative final project.

ART 252 Introduction to Graphic Design (4 Credits)

Introduction to technical and conceptual principles of graphic design. Students will investigate different creative approaches to the design process. Topics include text/image relationships, illustration techniques, basic type concerns, logo/identity, concept presentation, and developing competency with Adobe Illustrator.

CRWR 312 Redlands Review (4 Credits)

Theoretical study and practical application of skills and ideas to produce an original literary magazine as a team. Course activities include studying and discussing the history of literary magazines, and soliciting and editing material for our own. Participants will adhere to a budget, set deadlines, and organize publicity and distribution.

CS 223 Multimedia Design and Game Programming (4 Credits)

This course experiments with programming concepts and techniques used in interactive visual environments such as games. Students will explore strategies for solving recursive backtrack problems, design intelligent animations, and deconstruct physical worlds. Students will produce interactive projects, incorporating graphics, text, video, audio, and object-oriented programming, using multimedia, industry-standard authoring software.
Prerequisite: CS 111 and MATH 121. 
Offered as needed. 
Numeric grade only.

CS 103 Introduction to Multimedia (4 Credits)

Introduction to interactive multimedia design and elements of interface design. Development of skills in creating interactive projects using animation, graphics, sound, virtual reality, and basic object-oriented programming (OOP) to facilitate navigation. 
Offered as needed.
Numeric grade only.

Capstone (8-12 credits)

Please note: all majors must complete both courses. MVC 395 is usually in spring of the junior year. MVC 495 should be taken in fall of the senior year. 

MVC 395 Theory and Methodology in Media and Visual Culture Studies (4 Credits)

Addresses critical and theoretical concerns that define critical film, media and visual-culture studies: specific focus will vary. The culminating assignment is a research project that draws upon and engages with appropriate theoretical models. Serves students in the major as a preparation for MVC 495 in fall of the senior year. 

MVC 495 Senior Seminar (4 Credits)

The capstone experience, an advanced seminar in which students integrate and extend skills and knowledge previously developed in the major. Specific focus will vary between iterations. The culminating assignment is a significant piece of mentored research, usually in an extended paper (or another project approved by the instructor).  

Electives
The balance of courses making up the required 44 credits/11 classes are electives. Students may shape their course of study in light of available offerings and their own interests, in consultation with their advisor and the director. NB: To ensure a properly interdisciplinary focus, students should select electives in at least three departments or programs.

The Minor

The minor consists of 24 credits, including the following required elements:

MVC 101 Introduction to Media and Visual Culture Studies (4 Credits)

Introduces students to the critical study of visual culture and the spectrum of media. Provides basic grounding in the critical analysis of film, broadcast media, and new media, introducing techniques of formal, semiotic, and feminist analysis, etc. and approaches such as reception theory.

MVC 201 Writing on Media and Visual Culture (4 Credits)

This writing-intensive course is designed to help students to hone their ability to think and write critically about film, television and other media, develop research skills, and cultivate their ability to write a sustained paper without a fixed topic or assignment. Focus of course subject matter varies. 

Please note: two courses in the history and theory of media cultures should also be taken. For electives, students may shape the minor to enhance their major program and can do so in consultation with their advisor in the major. To ensure a properly interdisciplinary focus in the major, students should select electives in at least two departments or programs. 

Registration Information  

Each semester during registration, then later at check-in, the Media and Visual Culture Program provides a current list of the MVC and cross-listed courses for the coming term. Because new or special courses (including Johnston courses and topics courses in various departments) are likely to be added, this list will show the most current course offerings. The list is available from the director, is distributed to every faculty advisor, and also appears on the MVC bulletin board opposite HOL 314.

Departmental Honors

A two-semester departmental honors program is available for exceptionally motivated students with unusually strong attainment. A GPA in the major of 3.5 is a minimum requirement for being invited to pursue honors. Current details of the honors process are available from MVC faculty.

Cross-listed Courses

Descriptions of these courses can be found in Catalog listings for the relevant department. Check these also for prerequisites, if any. These courses concentrate entirely or significantly on issues pertaining to media and visual culture. They may be counted automatically toward the major or minor.

ART 235 Introduction to Photography (4 Credits)

Using a digital camera, students produce original work in response to a series of lectures, assignments, and bi-weekly critiques. A range of tools, including color correction, selections, layers, and inkjet printing are addressed. Students will complete an integrative final project.

ART 252 Introduction to Graphic Design (4 Credits)

Introduction to technical and conceptual principles of graphic design. Students will investigate different creative approaches to the design process. Topics include text/image relationships, illustration techniques, basic type concerns, logo/identity, concept presentation, and developing competency with Adobe Illustrator.

ARTH 326 Modernism and Modernity (4 Credits)

This course provides the student with a foundational knowledge of modern/modernist art of the 19th and earlier 20th centuries, including painting, sculpture, architecture, graphic design, and photography. It develops and extends material covered in ARTH 102, but also offers a self-contained introduction to formal and contextual analysis of art. 
Prerequisite: ARTH 102 or permission.

ARTH 328 After the Modern (4 Credits)

Examines the relationship between various modernisms and post-modernism and their impact on art production from the early 20th century to the contemporary period. Considers concepts such as artist and viewer subjectivity, ethnic and gender asymmetries, as well as the influence of technology, late capitalism, and globalism.

AST 211 Contemporary Chinese Film (4 Credits)

Examines the cinematic representations of social and cultural transformations of modern China. Topics include analysis of visual-aural spectacles and their aesthetic merits against a backdrop of materials that deal with historical conditions, ideological underpinnings, cultural practices, and social-economic transformation. 

CS 223 Multimedia Design and Game Programming (4 Credits)

This course experiments with programming concepts and techniques used in interactive visual environments such as games. Students will explore strategies for solving recursive backtrack problems, design intelligent animations, and deconstruct physical worlds. Students will produce interactive projects, incorporating graphics, text, video, audio, and object-oriented programming, using multimedia, industry-standard authoring software.
Prerequisite: CS 111 and MATH 121. 
Offered as needed. 
Numeric grade only.

CS 103 Introduction to Multimedia (4 Credits)

Introduction to interactive multimedia design and elements of interface design. Development of skills in creating interactive projects using animation, graphics, sound, virtual reality, and basic object-oriented programming (OOP) to facilitate navigation. 
Offered as needed.
Numeric grade only.

ENGL 114 War in Literature and Film (4 Credits)

Exploration of ways in which war is reflected in literature and film, including a variety of genres. Consideration of ethical issues is integral to the course. Extensive writing and active class discussion are required.

ENGL 250 Theories of Popular Culture (4 Credits)

Why should we take popular culture seriously, and how do we read it critically? An introduction to the methods, issues, and theories developed and applied within the interdisciplinary field of Cultural Studies, including semiotics, structuralist and post-structuralist approaches, ideological analyses, as well as feminist and ethnic studies-based methods.
Offered as needed.

ENGL 311 Film and Literature (4 Credits)

Study of the practice and theory of adapting film from literature, demonstrated in select literary works made into feature films. 
Recommended: MVC 111 or by permission.

HIST 223 Anxiety, Race, and Empire: U.S. c. 1900 (4 Credits)

From 1876–1917, the U.S. experienced optimism and dismay over profound economic, demographic, cultural, and political changes. This course explores shifting conceptions of race and empire (both on the closing frontier and worldwide); mass media’s development; and questions of modernity, authenticity, and identity at the oft-bewildering dawn of the “American Century.” 
Offered as needed.

HIST 229 U.S. History on Film (3-4 Credits)

Analyze history of U.S. film industry and society and explore the political, economic, social, and cultural meaning of film. Consider strengths and limits of film as a tool for understanding U.S. culture and history. Key themes: class; gender; and racial conflict and consciousness; and the rise of a mass consumer culture and American empire. 
Offered as needed.

HIST 273 Cyberculture and the Networked Society in the Information Age (4 Credits)

The Information Revolution has ushered in a new age of transformative changes in social interactions, techniques of production and commerce, cultural modes and practices, and political institutions and processes. Examination of the impact of computers, the Internet, and the World Wide Web on human society and global culture. 
Offered as needed.

HIST 324 Cold War America (4 Credits)

Explore how the Cold War has shaped U.S. (and global) economy, culture, politics, gender roles, media, and history. Topics include McCarthyism, nuclear politics, civil rights activism and backlash and Cold War literature.
Offered as needed.

HIST 328 Gender, Media, and U.S. Culture (4 Credits)

Study of gender and media theory and history in modern United States. Major themes include the evolution of the mass media, how this media both reflects and shapes gender roles and norms, and how gender norms and stereotypes have evolved and have also shaped U.S. media.

REST 232 Representing Race and Ethnicity in Film (4 Credits)

Explores the important role that dominant and alternative film practices have played in revealing, defining, and negotiating our understandings of race and ethnicity. 
Offered as needed.

SOAN 206 Popular Culture (4 Credits)

Introduction to the analysis of popular culture; how the cultural products of post-industrial society shape and police the subjectivity of individuals; how people use, abuse, and subvert these cultural products to create their own meanings in efforts of self-determination.
Offered as needed.

SOAN 347 Visual Ethnography (3 Credits)

Explores the use of visual media in ethnographic research, including past and current trends in ethnographic photography and film. Examines anthropology’s history of cultural and aesthetic analysis. Includes ethnographic field trips to local sites, digital lab work, and an ethnographic project using still photography. Students will improve their camera skills. 
Prerequisite: SOAN 102, or MVC 101, or by permission. 
Offered as needed.

WGS 245 Mothers and Daughters in American Popular Culture (4 Credits)

Examines how the question of the representation of motherhood and the mother/daughter relationship is influenced by American popular culture since 1945. Analyzes how cultural concepts of motherhood and the mother/daughter bond reflect issues regarding ethnicity, class, sexuality, and generational differences. 
Offered as needed.

WGS 249 Women Filmmakers (4 Credits)

Focuses on the rich tradition of women directors who have made their marks on film history and audiences. Students will focus on the films of a number of prominent female directors from a range of historical time periods, cinema traditions, and national film industries.
Offered as needed.

WGS 341 Gender and Nation (4 Credits)

This course explores the ways gender informs our understanding of nationalism, and how nationalist discourses imagine and construct identities in specifically gendered, class, race, community, and caste terms in various locales. We will read a variety of different works by feminist scholars, political scientists, literary critics, and historians. 

Course Descriptions (MVC)

MVC 101 Introduction to Media and Visual Culture Studies (4 Credits)

Introduces students to the critical study of visual culture and the spectrum of media. Provides basic grounding in the critical analysis of film, broadcast media, and new media, introducing techniques of formal, semiotic, and feminist analysis, etc. and approaches such as reception theory.

MVC 111 Introduction to the Art of Film (4 Credits)

This course introduces students to the primary visual, aural, and narrative conventions used in the creation of film, including editing, mise-en-scène, sound, cinematography, and digital effects. By developing a core set of analytical skills around observation, students will learn some of the ways that films become meaningful for their audiences. 

MVC 201 Writing on Media and Visual Culture (4 Credits)

This writing-intensive course is designed to help students to hone their ability to think and write critically about film, television and other media, develop research skills, and cultivate their ability to write a sustained paper without a fixed topic or assignment. Focus of course subject matter varies. 

MVC 202 Visual Storytelling (4 Credits)

Explores the means of creating narrative through media with a central visual component, chiefly still photography and digital filmmaking. Students will analyze effective visual storytelling, and will devise, make, and edit a series of exploratory exercises, developing awareness of techniques proper to the medium.

MVC 203 Screenwriting (4 Credits)

This course serves as an introduction to screenwriting for feature films and television. Work includes critical examination of screenplays and finished films, and both critical and exploratory writing, including a group television assignment and a first draft of a first act of a feature screenplay. 

MVC 211 Screen Genres (3-4 Credits)

Introduces the concept of genre and how it has been understood in film and media studies, exploring the basis for generic categorization, engaging with debates over contested categories (such as film noir, the women’s film, and melodrama), and examining specific instances of one or more genres. 

MVC 213 Sports, Media & Culture (4 Credits)

Analyzes the relationship between sport and its coverage and representation in print, radio, film, television, and now the Internet, and how that convergence has influenced various cultural dynamics. 
Offered as needed.

MVC 264 Special Topics in Visual and Media Studies (3-4 Credits)

Focuses on special topics, themes, or projects in the fields of visual and media studies, including courses that combine critical and creative or production elements. May be repeated for credit given distinct topic.

MVC 395 Theory and Methodology in Media and Visual Culture Studies (4 Credits)

Addresses critical and theoretical concerns that define critical film, media and visual-culture studies: specific focus will vary. The culminating assignment is a research project that draws upon and engages with appropriate theoretical models. Serves students in the major as a preparation for MVC 495 in fall of the senior year. 

MVC 495 Senior Seminar (4 Credits)

The capstone experience, an advanced seminar in which students integrate and extend skills and knowledge previously developed in the major. Specific focus will vary between iterations. The culminating assignment is a significant piece of mentored research, usually in an extended paper (or another project approved by the instructor).