CCST 401 - Advanced Topics Seminar in Media Studies

This Critical and Creative Studies seminar course develops the breadth and depth of students’ critical and theoretical acuity in the broad field of media studies. The course allows for the in depth study of a specific topic, framework of analysis, series of case studies, or theme in media studies, while further developing students’ research and presentation skills. With the ubiquitous rise of digital media, it has become imperative that creative practitioners across dis- ciplines contend with and critically analyze the role that the technical plays within their work. Potential thematic areas include media theory; media histories; histories of visualization; technologies of design; digital materialities; screen studies; Indigenous new media; algorithmic cultures; media ecologies.

Fall 2020

CCST 401 A | Media Archaeology: On the Weird Histories of Contemporary Media

This seminar course will engage in a critical re-examination of contemporary media technologies through archaeological excavation and socio-cultural analysis of overlooked, obsolete, and unrealized devices. Our aim will be to counteract amnesiac and whitewashed accounts of technological innovation by reconnecting with the weird and often forgotten histories of emerging media. Building on a crash course in canonical Media Studies and a rigorous introduction to the corresponding sub-discipline of Media Archaeology, we will move from the present to the past, exploring the complex realities and genealogical reverberations of a series of ‘dead media,’ such as: Medieval automata; 13th century computers; Renaissance screens; Modern era projections, panoramas and stereoscopes; turn of the century writing machines; pre-histories of cinema; recorded, transmitted and synthetic sounds of the early 20th century; defunct video game consoles; Teletext systems; obsolete computers; glitches, spam and the viral web.

Consideration of these case studies will be grounded in both material and practice-based analysis of technological objects as well as in a rigorous consideration of the social, cultural, and political contexts within which the technologies were realized. This approach will require students to learn and implement different methodological approaches to research. In addition to completing required readings, students will also conduct archival research; discourse and content analysis of primary source materials; media forensics; and practice of arts-based research. Deliverables for this course will include a major research paper; a creative work that responds to or applies one of the themes of the course; a co-curated exhibition; research presentation. 

CCST 401 B | Posthuman Discourses: Science and Technology-based Art Practices

Transhumanism advocates for the continued evolution of human life beyond its current limitations by incorporating emerging scientific theories and sophisticated technologies that enhance human intellect and physiology. The most common Transhumanist thesis is that human beings will eventually transform themselves into Posthuman “beyond human” beings. This course will investigate the Transhuman philosophical discourses that provide the inspiration for the production of contemporary science-based visual and media art practices. We will explore the place of ethics, imagination, representation, cultural use, and interaction, within the areas of biometrics, cyber-culture, augmented reality, trans-genetics, animal studies, body modification, A.I., neurobiology/cognition, artificial life systems and interactive entertainment media.

Winter 2021:

CCST 401 A | Theorising the Technical Image

This seminar course will explore key historical and contemporary texts associated with the intersecting fields of photography, film, and media theory. Each week, we will pair a close reading of a theoretical text with a critical examination of an illustrative case study (drawn from the contemporary histories of photography, film and/or new media art), in an effort to explore the philosophical underpinnings of 'the technical image.' 

Deliverables for this course will include a major research paper; a creative work that responds to or applies one of the themes of the course; a co-curated exhibition; a research presentation; and seminar leadership. 

Course Prerequisites

Any 300-level SCCS course


A20039Scarlett, Ashley
9:00am - 11:50am room: 536


9:00am - 11:50am room: 520