Oxbridge Lecture Series Spring 2011
Media and Culture
Dr. Kathy Richardson
Smart Phones. DVRs. Games. Google. Facebook. YouTube. Tumblr.
We live in a
mediated world. The average young American now spends practically every waking
minute—except for the time in school—using a smart phone, computer, television
or other electronic device, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Nielsen
reports that the typical American now spends almost 35 hours each week watching
television, an additional two hours watching material they’ve recorded from
television, four minutes of mobile video, and 22 minutes of Web video—in
addition to four hours of other Internet use. More than half of Americans
report they spend up to 3.5 hours each month surfing the Web while they are
watching television—up 35 percent from just one year ago.
This course will explore the “big question” of the
interactions and effects of media, audiences and culture. Do media mirror societal needs and wants or create
them? Does exposure to media content or to media forms cause negative or
positive change in users, communities and cultures, or does exposure to media
merely correlate with pre-existing attitudes and behaviors? If exposure creates
effects, what kinds of changes occur; if so, are these positive or negative
effects? Is the 21st century constant of “mediation” a positive or a
negative—and how would a critical thinker make such a judgment?
discussions, readings, public lectures, tutorials and writing, students in this
course will heighten their understanding of the interactions of media, culture
and society by asking questions and seeking answers in this very contemporary
arena of study.