University of Minnesota
Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature

Department of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies

Shaping the World

Welcome to the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature

With the inauguration of our new University president, Eric Kaler, we look forward to taking a central role in his foremost objective for his presidency, “improving what we do best.” Building on our long-time strengths and distinctions, we will be taking a leading role in moving the College of Liberal Arts toward the goals envisioned in its 2015 Plan.

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News & Events

  • New Course - CSCL/SCMC 1202W: MEDIA (Word, Image, Sound)

    NEW 1000-level COURSE:
    Media (Word, Image, Sound)
    CSCL 1202W: Prof. Meredith Gill
    *LE requirement in Arts/Humanities*

    We often talk about the “mediated” environment in which we live. We complain about “the media” and its biases. Artists describe themselves as working within a specific “medium” (painting, sculpture, novels, video, etc.) But to what, precisely, do we mean by the term “media”? This course begins by posing  a philosophical question central to the study of human culture, technology, and society: What is a tool, and how can it serve as a media device? Who makes it and how do we share it? Does it have power? How is it part of a system?

    We will then turn to six inventions that dramatically altered the transmission of words, images and sounds: the printing press, sound recording, radio, the amplifier, the still camera, and the movie camera. In the second half of the course, we will shift our focus to the modern media age since World War II, one that has seen the rise of television, Hollywood, the record industry, the modern news media, corporate media conglomerates, and the internet.

    This course favors “deep cuts” over comprehensive knowledge; our focus will be on short but challenging texts and objects that require critical thinking and provocative discussions. It is also writing intensive; the submission of well-written, thoughtful papers will be crucial to your successful completion.

    For more information and a FULL SYLLABUS see the CLASS INFO SITE:
    July 14th, 2015
  • New Course - CSCL/SCMC 1201W: CINEMA



    Prof. Alice Lovejoy
    Monday 4-5:15 pm/Friday 11:15 am-2:15 pm, Nicholson 155

    From the era of the nickelodeon to the age of Netflix, cinema has been one of the world’s most important media forms. Far more than simply entertainment, films have long functioned as a mode of instruction or persuasion, a tool for the expression of identities and political beliefs, and a medium for formal experimentation. At the same time, cinema is an institution, comprising industries and sites of production, means of distribution, and spaces and modes of reception.

    CSCL/SCMC 1201W, Cinema, will introduce students to the analysis of these formal, institutional, and social dimensions. We will explore cinema’s historical development and explore major theories of film via key moments in its international history: from early cinema to classical Hollywood, Soviet montage to the film-festival circuit. Students will learn how to read a film, analyzing basic elements such as cinematography, sound, and editing, and developing a vocabulary for the formal analysis of a range of modes and genres—from film noir to the documentary, experimental film, and the musical.

    Each week, we will read foundational texts in film studies. Watching and writing, however, are also central to this writing intensivecourse. Attendance at weekly screenings is required, and the submission of well-written, thoughtful papers will be crucial to your successful completion.

    CSCL/SCMC 1201W meets the Arts/Humanities LE requirement.
    July 14th, 2015
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