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November 28, 2006

The Media and the President

Well, we didn't get a full-scale debate going last night--thanks to everyone who played along, though--but I think we got at some really interesting questions and ideas surrounding how new media technologies have affected U.S. politics in the 20th century. Along with a continuation of our discussion from last night, I left class with some questions of my own that we could perhaps address in the comments section of the blog.

Were the effects of radio and television on Presidential politics different and, if so, how? We discussed radio being a better forum for conveying information, but there was also a question about whether it was as compelling as television. Are the effects of mass media on politics positive or negative? Last night I think the voices for negative won out, but I think there's a lot more that could be said about this topic. Other thoughts?

November 21, 2006

Magazines and the Middlebrow

Last night's discussion raised some interesting questions and, once again, this thread is a space to continue the conversation. I'll throw out some starters, but feel free to add your own questions in the comment section. First, what do people think about my (deliberately suggestive) comment that society is created _through_ these magazines rather than being something that somehow exists behind or underneath them? Are the "broader" magazines such as Time and Newsweek still relavent when compared to the more specialized or market niche products (and, if so, what does this tell us about who and what we imagine ourselves connect to when we read these things?)

November 20, 2006

Short Office Hours Today (Nov. 20)

Since I'll be going to the Christina Klein lecture this afternoon (I hope to see some of your there!), my office hours will be shortened today. I'll be in the office from 1:30 to 3:15 p.m. today if you want to stop by.

November 16, 2006

Christina Klein Lecture on Campus

Christina Klein, the author of this week's reading assignment, will be giving a lecture on campus on Monday, November 20, in Walter Library room 101, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Full details are below.

"Why American Studies Needs to Think about Korean Cinema"
Christina Klein is an Associate Professor of English at Boston College. She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University (1986) and her Ph.D. from Yale University (1997). Her publications include "Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961" (University of California Press, 2003) and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: A Diasporic Reading" in Cinema Journal (2004). Her specializations include American studies, film studies, the literature and culture of America's encounters with Asia. She is currently writing a book about globalization of U.S. and Asian film industries.

November 14, 2006

Final Research Paper

And here's the assignment for those students choosing to write a longer final paper instead of the essay and final exam (option B).

Final Research Paper

Second Essay/Final Exam Option

Below is the second essay assignment for those students choosing option A. If you go this route, you'll write a 5-7 essay and do the final in-class exam.

Second Essay

November 13, 2006


Once again, I found our class discussion/workshop of celebrity politicians to be insightful and interesting. Each of the groups came up with good theses to explain the phenomenon of the celebrity politician (although I think my thesis was in fact the weakest of those put forward...)

Here's some questions to think about or respond to in the comments (or, as always, feel free to continue our in-class discussion topics): is the phenomenon of the celebrity politician something that is increasing, decreasing, or unchanging? How has the role of the popular culture celebrity in politics changed throughout the twentieth century? What, if anything, is the difference between a star's fans and a politicians supporters? How do popular culture celebrities claim to have the authority necessary to represent voters in politics?