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This is the top level page for a new series of pages which will serve as a directory and repository for remix, participatory culture, and fan studies syllabi. We will build various subsections here and, as they get larger, spin them off into their own subpages.


Description: "This semester the focus is on remix culture: the ways in which artists, writers and creators of all kinds of cultural artifacts today borrow, appropriate and remix content created by other people. We'll be interpreting works where this happens, we'll read about cultural and legal implications of remixing, study historical examples of earlier cultural appropriation (we are far from the first remixers) and think about the theoretical and practical implications of a culture where the original genius is no longer the dominant cultural myth."
Description: "Where do we draw the line between sampling and stealing? What does it mean to call a urinal a work of art? This course explores the tension between artistic appropriation and intellectual property law, and considers recent efforts to use open source software as a model for cultural production. We will trace a history of open source culture from Cubist collage and the Readymades of Marcel Duchamp through Pop art and found footage film to Hip Hop and movie trailer mashups."
Description: "In the second half of the semester, we will focus on how we use digital media to participate in culture. Our focus here will be on remixing, mash-ups, digital video production, and other forms of transforming existing media texts. We will also consider how copyright regulations impact remix cultures."
Description: "Writing, in our highly mediated culture, is remixing. Complementing this mode of writing are low-tech, low-cost, user-friendly technologies, such as the Flip Video Camera and YouTube. This installation of student videos will challenge viewers to rethink traditional concepts so often fixed in meaning: text, research, writing, and composition, among others."
Description: "With the spread of digital technologies, remix has come to the forefront as a major form of artistic work and of cultural and political commentary. We will examine how digital technologies shape transformative creativity. Drawing on the work of theorists such as DJ Spooky and Lawrence Lessig, we will consider the creative and legal ramifications of remix logics" [description from course catalog].
Description: “The artistic practices collected under the umbrella term of remix – rewrites, mashups, transformations, juxtapositions, edits, collages, pastiches, and parodies – are both very old ways of making art and central to a vibrant and emerging digital culture. In this course, we will survey a broad array of multimedia remix practices, including literary remixes, musical remixes, and popular video remixes like fan vids, anime music videos, and political remix videos. We will write about these works in order to theorize their aesthetics and articulate their (often complex and referential) layers of meaning. “
Description: “Mashups, sampling, parodies, fan video, DIY media, memes: we are in the midst of an explosion in vernacular creativity that appropriates, celebrates, critiques, and transforms commercial entertainment. New digital technologies and Internet platforms support a developing ecology of remix forms with unprecedented reach, richness, and cultural influence. At the same time, the value and legitimacy of this popular production is hotly contested on the basis of artistic merit, traditional literacies, and intellectual property. This course analyzes and engages in contemporary remix culture via precursors like appropriation art and hip hop, exploring theoretical questions about originality, capitalism, law, and digital media.”
Description: “With the spread of digital technologies, remix has become the language of our everyday culture. In this class, we will examine how digital technologies shape transformative remix creativity. Drawing on the work of theorists such as Lawrence Lessig and DJ Spooky, we will consider the creative and legal ramifications of remix logics. We'll explore a range of remix works across media, with a focus on video remix. Students will also produce video remixes on a weekly basis. And don’t worry; if you’re interested in other forms of remix, you'll have the opportunity to integrate those interests as well."


Description: This course will be structured around an investigation of the contribution of fan studies to cultural theory, framing each class session around a key debate and mixing writing explicitly about fans with other work asking questions about cultural change and the politics of everyday life.
Description: “In the first [half of the semester], we will examine historical fan studies, focusing on theory, debates, and research about fandom as a “scandalous” subculture. In the second, we will turn to a consideration of the contemporary mediascape, approaching fandom as a “superculture” that, in a certain sense, sets the agenda for contemporary media industries and culture.”
Description: “This course will look at sexual identifications and practices of fans (or “fen” as some prefer to be known, to differentiate themselves from other forms of largely male-based fan communities) within fandom, but also at the identifications and practices of the characters in the created fanworks. These two realms cannot necessarily be separated – there is a necessary identification process between the fan-creator and the characters ze writes/paints/vids/podfics about. This is particularly true because slash as a genre is sometimes portrayed distinct from male/male erotica in its focus on the emotions and thoughts underlying even the least plotty erotic stories (known as PWPs or “Plot, What Plot?”). Furthermore, the collaborative and communal sense of creation in fandom leads to a form of fannish performance and play, often in the erotic or romantic works. All of this helps to create and recreate gender, sex, sexuality, race, ethnicity, nationality, age, dis/ability, class, language, and other social categories in the fannish realm.”
Description: "There are several primary goals of this first-year seminar. One of the goals is to identify and explore the concept of fandom (including television, music, and other types of fandom) and its relationship to cultural hierarchies of knowledge: Who are fans and why are their activities seen as deviant or valorized? One of the avenues for exploring the notion of cultural hierarchies will be to critically analyze media representations of fans. Another goal of this seminar will be for students to explore and gain a deeper understanding about the kinds of textual knowledge, production and other competencies that fans bring to their favorite pastimes. How should fans’ creative productions and social interactions be viewed by critics and scholars?"
Description: In the era of media convergence, geeks and fans have been transformed from a stigmatized subculture into a mainstream power demographic, catered to and courted by the media industry. Yet, as President Obama can signify “nerdiness” and “coolness” simultaneously, comic book movies reign at the box office, and fanboy auteurs are overseeing the expansion of their televisual empires, fangirls have become culturally marginalized. Since the first wave of fan studies in the early 1990s, scholars have focused on the textual production of fangirls and their frequently feminist counter-readings of mass media texts. Can we view this new cultural preoccupation with the fanboy as a move towards gender equality in fan studies? Conversely, could we view the apparent gender bias of convergence culture as reinforcing a fallaciously gendered digital divide?
Description: “This course approaches fandom through the interaction of fans/consumers, the “idols”, companies which sponsor idols, and media, advertising, and marketing cultures. The inter-relationship among these concepts to themes in fandom is explored through current scholarly articles including Japanese, other non-Western and Western scholarship. As this Japan-based content is for a diverse group of JTW international students, the syllabus is flexible and incorporates student-generated themes and presentations. Objectives for students are to examine a theme of fandom from their experience and/or interest through field-study, observation and readings. A final in-class presentation is required. Students will become aware of fandom beyond the entertainment arena toward a critical social perspective.”
Description: Organized fandom anticipated, and in many ways invented, modern social media: for fans, mass media has always been an opportunity for group interaction and creativity. Like the serialized novels of the 19th century, television narratives are experienced both intimately (in the privacy of the home) and communally (as the subject of community discussion.) We will study media fandom both as a discursive practice and as an artmaking community, focusing on a variety of fan arts (fiction, visual art, multimedia art and video, crafts, theatre). We will also study the various communications mechanisms (e.g. zines, Usenet, social media) and tools (e.g. photocopiers, VCRs, digital editing software) that fans have used to make and share culture. Lastly, we will discuss the ways in which fandom is currently being mainstreamed (and perhaps commodified) and examine some of the ways in which fans are organizing to advocate for their own interests.
How do we engage with media? Is our experience of media in this digital modern day radically different than it was when film was itself a new medium? What does it mean to be a fan? Have our notions of fans and fandom changed over the past decades? How do gender, class, and race inform cultural notions of media audiences? In this class, we’ll consider key theoretical readings and approaches to studying spectators, viewers, audiences, fans, and anti-fans across the history of the moving image. We will also interrogate our own position as spectators, viewers, consumers, and fans in media culture.
Description: This is a class about media fandom and the many activities that media fans participate in, including how those activities function as both responses to commercial media texts and ways of connecting with fellow fans. Class members are encouraged to draw on their own fandom backgrounds and expertise in discussions and papers, but for the most part the class will be about histories, practices, and representations of fandom rather than specific TV series, movies, books, comics, etc. Like fandom itself, this class is an example of serious play: it’s a space in which to be excited about fandom and to connect with other fannish people, but it’s also an introduction to the academic study of fandom.
Description: This course explores the history, philosophy, and current expansion of audience reception in contemporary media. Within an industry that has traditionally prioritized male audiences, we will look at media marketed to women as well as the reappropriating and revisioning of traditional media by various subcultures. We will draw from theoretical models such as literary reader-response criticism, television audience studies, feminist film studies, and queer media studies to look at texts from romance literature and soap operas to Hollywood blockbusters and prime time television to web series and feminist comics to slash fiction and fan vids. The course will use critical and creative responses to popular media to address the way audience negotiate issues of gender and sexualities.
Description: What makes “fanfiction” different from Shakespeare basing his plays on sources, or House turning a Victorian detective into a doctor in West Windsor? What can amateur, unauthorized stories about other people’s characters do for readers and writers that paid, official culture can’t or won’t? In this course, we’ll be reading a lot of fanfic as well as looking at other cultural uses of adaptation and appropriation such as TV shows, web series, and avant-garde poetry. We’ll look at the historical tradition of “writing from sources” and examine the co-evolution of fanfiction and mass media from the 1890s to today. We will also welcome visitors (electronic and in-person) ranging from writers on Elementary and House to John/Sherlock slashers, as well as fan studies scholars, intellectual property attorneys, and a panel of fan writers and journalists who will discuss the changing relationship between fans, their creative work, and the media, publishing, and entertainment industries.


Description: “The course is broken down into five basic units: “Foundations” offers an overview of the current movement towards transmedia or cross-platform entertainment; “Narrative Structures” introduces the basic toolkit available to contemporary storytellers, digging deeply into issues around seriality, and examining what it might mean to think of a story as a structure of information; “World Building” deals with what it means to think of contemporary media franchises in terms of “worlds” or “universes” which unfold across many different media systems; “Audience Matters” links transmedia storytelling to issues of audience engagement and in the process, considers how fans might contribute unofficial extensions to favorite media texts; and “Tracing the History of Transmedia” pulls back to consider key moments in the evolution of transmedia entertainment, moving from the late 19th century to the present.”
Description: “This production course is centered on the examination and creation of collective storytelling environments. We will survey a wide range of storytelling environments including site-specific works and environments, community-based arts projects, user-generated and participatory environments, and transmedia storytelling. This course requires field trips, weekly assignments, student presentations, and a final project.”
Description: “This course will use Star Wars, one of the forefathers of contemporary transmedia storytelling systems, as our primary test case to analyze the narrative challenges and pleasures transmedia stories offer audiences, and consider how they cater to conglomeration within the media industry. In addition to screening/reading/playing components of the Star Wars transmedia narrative (films, animated series, comics, video games, and novels), other transmedia stories under discussion will include The Matrix, Battlestar Galactica, Gossip Girl, The Dark Knight, and Heroes.
Description: In this class, we will take an in-depth look at how the production, distribution, promotion, and consumption of television has changed over the past decade. We will examine the television industry and television programming in the context of post-network television (a term that comprises, among other things, the emergence of original programming in basic and premium cable) and convergence culture (the increasing overlap of television and digital media, including DVDs, streaming video, DVRs, and the changing relationships between producers and viewers of television). Specifically, we will look at the increasing use of transmedia storytelling as part of television programming.


Description: “The television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer filters the monstrous panoramas of gothic melodrama through California youth culture to offer complex popular representations of contemporary life. Patrolling a panoply of social evils encountered by young adults, Buffy raises but does not neatly resolve anxieties of gender, sexuality, and race as they haunt and occasionally terrorize American society. This course will examine BTVS and its many extensions into popular culture (through such media as short stories, websites, comic books, video games, and fanvids) in light of the growing and diverse body of scholarship on the series. Does Buffy stake out progressive (especially feminist and queer) positions? Or does it defang anti-authoritarian ideals, reiterating commodified stereotypes of resistance? Our research will encompass fan communities who debate the outcome of controversial plot strands and create new stories about the characters. In addition to analyzing key episodes, students will imaginatively appropriate the Buffyverse through theatre, fiction writing, and vidding. Students with other interests (graphic art, dance, web-design, etc.) could use those media instead. Fun much? Join us on the Hellmouth, Scoobies.”
Description: "Sherlock, James, and Harry" will examine the texts and contexts surrounding three icons of British masculinity: Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and Harry Potter. While each of these figures was born in text, all three rapidly went "transmedia," appearing in film, television, comics, video games, theme parks, and other unlikely venues. Each also has the ability to conjure up an entire literary, historical, and cultural milieu: Victorian London, Europe during the Cold War, and the Great Britain of New Labour. We will examine the cultural and historical contexts these characters evoke (particularly in terms of class, nationalism, industrialization, technology, and gender), as well as following their transmedia adventures. “
Description: “Topics for the course include: the rise of the comic book Hollywood Blockbuster, the shifting promotional space of Comic-Con, the role of comic books in transmedia storytelling systems for television and film franchises, the aesthetic and cultural distinctions between comic books and manga, and the recuperation of graphic novels into ‘high art.’”
Description: “Games have always been an integral part of our culture, and studies of culture have long been fascinated by our propensity for play. Beginning with a brief historical overview of the inception of the video game industry and arcade culture, this course is centrally concerned with identifying the pleasures of play and engaging with the cultural and academic discourses and debates that surround video games and gamers. While video games have proven themselves as a dominant industrial force over the past decade, the stigmas and social anxieties that circulate around video games persist. Consequently, one of the primary goals of this course is for students to both become conversant in these critiques and proficient in speaking back to them, acquiring the vocabulary to discuss and analyze the rules that govern our engagement with video games, and our experiences playing them.”
Description: This course “considers the storytelling potential of graphic novels, an often neglected form of artistic and narrative expression with a long and rich history. Boldly combining images and text, graphic novels of recent years have explored divisive issues often considered the domain of “serious” literature: immigration, racism, war and terrorism, dysfunctional families, and much more. Informed by literary theory and visual culture studies, we will analyze both mainstream and indie graphic novels. In particular, we will be especially attentive to the unique visual grammar of the medium, exploring graphic novels that challenge the conventions of genre, narrative, and high and low culture. While our focus will be on American graphic novelists, we will touch upon artistic traditions from across the globe.”
Description: “Comics have been one of the most important mediums of communication and culture for over a century. In this course, we will explore the formal system of comics, engage with comics critiques, trace the cultural and industrial history of comics in American culture, and compare adaptations of comics works with their original versions. By the end of this course, you should have a solid grounding in comics concepts, history, and criticism.”
Description: "The generation who grew up with the Harry Potter series is now in college. This course will invite students to revisit these popular books of their childhood with an eye towards critical assessment. How do we approach books differently when we intend to evaluate them, rather than read them for entertainment? In what ways can critical reading enhance our enjoyment and appreciation of a work? Can we lose something in the transition? The world of Harry Potter has been adapted into many other forms of media. Best known of these adaptations is of course the films, but there are also audiobooks (award-winning in their own right), videogames, board and card games, Lego sets, memes and Tumblrs, fan-made art, fan fiction, and a theme park (!). We will consider the changes that are made in adapting a story into a new medium and the impact of such changes upon the world, characters, themes, and narrative structures of the story. Indeed, the range and amount of Harry Potter adaptations has become so extensive that we will not be able to cover them all in our assigned course materials; rather, students will be encouraged to find some adaptations and report upon them to the class. Students will also be asked to propose a new adaptation. "