Friday, January 11, 2013

Recent Books on the Media Industries (2010-present)

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Media Industries Books, 2010-2013

I am teaching my Media Industries graduate seminar again this spring, and as such, I have once again updated my list of recent books published on the media industries. 

For their midterm assignment, my students are able to choose which book they would like to review. They not only write up a book review targeted to a specific journal of their choice, but also briefly present the book to the rest of the class. As part of their presentation, they are asked to situate the book in relation to the literature we have read up to that point in the semester. 

Not every book noted below focuses entirely on the media industries, of course, but each provides value to industry researchers in some way. Both scholarly and popular books are provided.

I am sure I have left several notable books of this list. I welcome suggestions for additions or modifications to this list via email (aperren at gsu dot edu) or Twitter (@aperren).

Have any suggestions for additions or changes to the list? Please let me know!

·      Noah Arceneaux and Anandam Kavoori, eds., The Mobile Media Reader (2012)
·      Ben Aslinger and Nina Huntemann, eds., Gaming Globally: Production, Play and Place (2013)
·      Adrian Athique and Douglas Hill, The Multiplex in India: A Cultural Economy of Leisure (2012)
·      Patricia Aufderheide, Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright (2011)
·      Mark Balnaves, Tom O’Regan, and Ben Goldsmith, Rating the Audience: The Business of Media (2011)
·      Doris Baltruschat, Global Media Ecologies: Networked Production in Film and Television (2010)
·      Sarah Banet-Weiser, Authentic: The Politics of Ambivalence of Brand Culture (2012)
·      Nancy Baym, Personal Connections in the Digital Age (2010)
·      Aniko Bodrogkhozy, Equal Time: Television and the Civil Rights Movement (2012)
·      Raymond Boyle, The Television Entrepreneurs: Social Change and Public Understanding of Business (2012)
·      Robert Alan Brookey, Hollywood Gamers: Digital Convergence in the Film and Video Game Industries (2010)
·      Karen Buzzard, Tracking the Audience: The Ratings Industry from Analog to Digital (2012)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Thoughts on teaching a pedagogically oriented media history grad seminar

Life got very hectic, and thus it has been quite some time since I posted here. Now that it is my spring break (and I am bored by the Oscars), I FINALLY have a moment to discuss a course I taught last semester.

Better late than never, right?

Last fall, for the first time, I taught a Media History grad seminar (the full syllabus can be found here). This was my first time teaching the course, and I decided to teach it differently than I had taught previous grad seminars. In short, I decided to make the class focused on exploring with the students (half MA, half PhD) how to teach media history.

My logic for taking a pedagogically oriented approach was three-fold:

  • First, we offer a doctoral-level Media Historiography course in our program (Moving Image Studies at Georgia State University). Thus, the material covered in my course needed to be more content based and less explicitly focused on methodological and theoretical questions (though of course, these are fine distinctions when teaching historically oriented courses). 
  •  Second, several of the students had not yet learned much about media history. In many cases, students had learned the history of one medium (usually film, though in a few cases, television) but few had explored multiple media histories or considered different media in relationship to each other. Thus this class offered a crash course in the histories of a variety of different media, including film, television, advertising, radio, newspapers and games. After some preliminary readings that posed larger historiographical questions, we relied primarily on textbooks from different fields to learn these histories. This focus, in itself, led to interesting discussions about "what matters" in constructing - and teaching - history. 
  • The third reason that I took this approach is because many of our grad students (typically the doctoral students) teach history related courses during their time in our program. In the past, most have taught film history courses (usually an intro-level History of Film course). Starting next year, however, my area of the department will be instituting a requirement that all undergrads take an introductory course on the history of radio, TV and new media. (How "new media" fits in here was the subject of much conversation and debate, as you might suspect.) It is likely that several of our grad students will be teaching this course at some time, and thus this class served as a laboratory of sorts where we could discuss how such a class might be taught and what could reasonably be covered during a semester. Our discussions addressed such issues as "How much do we focus on texts? aesthetics?," "how do we fit in gaming? and should we?" and "What MUST students learn if this is the only course they take on radio/TV?" Much discussion also ensued around the issue of compartmentalizing film as one intro-level course and "all other media" as another intro-level course.
 [Note: Our students take a separate pedagogy course before they teach for the first time. However, many students had yet to take that course. Also, that particular course is focused on a broader range of pedagogically oriented topics and is less field-specific.]

I'd like to say this class was all of my own devising, but in fact, my colleague, Kathy Fuller-Seeley, had previously taught a similar course. I adapted much of what she developed for my own course. For example, when Kathy taught the course, she had the students assemble syllabi for three different courses, as well as accompanying lectures, sample exams, in-class activities, etc. I added in an additional digital component to the course. That material is what I am most interested in sharing here.

This seminar was among the most challenging - and fulfilling - that I have taught thus far. Because of the pedagogical orientation of the course, I felt compelled to "let go" and not be as structured as I usually am in my grad courses. I let the diverse knowledge bases and interests of the students shape the course to a greater extent than has been typical for me with past grad courses. The results were worthwhile--pushing me to think about how I teach, how graduate students are learning to teach, and what undergraduates might - or should be expected to - learn.

There were several different digital components to the course. I hope that sharing this information might prove helpful to others thinking about teaching this type of seminar. I also hope that you will share any thoughts, suggestions, or ideas in the comments below.

Among the main ways we used digital technologies:

  • Sharing portfolios digitally: All students were required to create three courses and share them via Dropbox. The courses the class developed included a lower-division general education course, History of Film (canonical, well-established); a lower-division, major requirement, History of Radio, TV and New Media (brand new, though an upper-division version of this has been taught for some time by several people, including me); and an upper-division media history course of the students' own choosing. The full assignment can be found here (midterm assignment is here).
  •  Develop websites:  Students were required to create a website featuring (at a minimum) a CV and their syllabi. My hope was that this would encourage them to build a web presence early in their graduate careers, rather than waiting until they went on the job market. (Links to their individual websites are provided below--as you can see, the sites varied tremendously.)
  • Crowdsourcing ideas:  We used Google Docs to brainstorm ideas. Most significantly, we created a spreadsheet in which students were asked to assess which platforms might work best for websites and for class sharing. Should you be interested in looking at the range of input provided, click this link. (Again, additional suggestions welcome!)
Building on their individual interests, the class developed a fascinating range of history courses. Below, I've noted the Special Topics courses each developed, as those are the most distinctive aspects for each. For many enrolled in the seminar, this was their first time thinking about teaching; others had more extensive experience -- the syllabi provided reflect this breadth of knowledge and experience.

(All students have granted permission for viewing of their sites.)

Anton: Mediated Warfare
Charlotte: History of American Television Genres
Erik: History of the Detective Film in American Cinema
Jessica: American Film History, 1967-present
Jing: History of American Horrors
Katherine: History of Race and Representation in TV
Maria: History of American Popular Music
Munib: Chinese Film History
Neal: Critical History of Video Games
P.E.: Trash Media Culture from 1919 to Class of 1984
Safiya: History of African American Film
Taylor: History of Film Noir


Monday, December 27, 2010

New books on the media industries (and related book review assignment)

As the midterm assignment for my Media Industries graduate seminar (new syllabus to be posted soon), students write up book reviews of recent publications. 

The main requirements I have for selecting a book include:

  1. The book has to have been published in the last three years, thereby increasing the odds that the student can publish their review;
  2. A reasonable amount of the book has to focus on the media industries. (I leave the exact amount open for discussion between myself and the student – they need to make the case.); 
  3. Students have to be able to identify a venue to which they could send it for publication. Prior to writing their reviews, students are advised to read the submission instructions as well as look at sample reviews in a range of journals (e.g., Popular Communication, Cinema Journal, Television and New Media, Scope, etc.). Ideally, those students who are satisfied with their reviews can subsequently send them out for publication.
I tried this assignment for the first time last spring and the students told me they found it to be a worthwhile exercise. They were able to spend a week of the semester focusing on a subject that was of interest to them while also learning to craft an essay that suited the particular (and peculiar?) demands of the scholarly book review format.

A few caveats about this list: I have not had a chance to read many of the books on the list, and thus cannot speak to the extent to which all are focused explicitly on the media industries per se.  Also, not all of the books are by media studies scholars. Indeed, there is a rich body of work on the media industries being generated by journalists, mediamakers, media activists and legal scholars, among others. Further, if I knew the book was going to be released soon and saw that it was already listed on Amazon, I put it on the list.  It would be wonderful if could hyperlink each book to Amazon or add some articles to my list as well, but I can’t set aside that kind of time, at least right now.


Many of the books listed here have been recommended to me by others. Thanks in particular to Ben Aslinger, Jennifer Holt, Cynthia Meyers, and Mark Stewart for their suggestions. I also recommend checking out Aymar Jean Christian’s blog for a more extensive list of canonical essays and books.

If you have recommendations for additional books that I might include, please let me know. I hope this list can prove useful for others trying to keep track of this type of work which, much to my joy, seems to be getting larger and more diverse every year.

Books on the media industries (since 2008) below the jump:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

In Media Res, Two Months In (and the Fall 2010 Call for Curators)

It's been a little over two months since I started serving as Coordinating Editor for In Media Res. Fortunately, I have been blessed with a terrific group of Georgia State grad students to help with the administrative, recruiting and technical tasks. I am pleased with how all is progressing thus far, and we have a (long and growing) list of additional goals for the site that we hope to institute over the course of the next several months.

One of the most immediate changes we have decided to enact involves moving away from individual open submissions to focusing instead solely on theme weeks. We have found that the best conversations can be generated when a group of people are focused on discussing the same topic over the course of the week. We also hope that this set-up can prove valuable pedagogically, as an entire week's conversation might be assigned for a class to read, watch and comment on.

I would love to hear any suggestions you might have regarding additional improvements we can make to the site. In addition, if you have used posts for either teaching or research purposes, please let me know -- it is helpful for us to get a better sense of how the site is used (as well as how you might like to use it in the future). You can email me at aperren at gsu dot edu or through the In Media Res email address (inmediares.gsu at gmail dot com).

Another change we are implementing involves meeting to arrange our schedule on a quarterly basis. Individual In Media Res staff members handle a given week. Each theme week coordinator then decides whether they would like to recruit curators on their own or have their week be part of the general quarterly call. We will meet in early November to plan for our spring schedule, so if you have any ideas for future theme weeks -- or would like to help coordinate one -- please do contact us.

Below the fold are the weeks for the Fall 2010 Schedule for which we are currently accepting proposals from interested curators.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Publications!

I'm happy to report that a couple of articles that I worked on last year have come out in the past few weeks. Both of these articles came out quite quickly (at least in terms of scholarly publishing).

The first piece, "Business as Unusual: Conglomerate-Sized Challenges for Film and Television in the Digital Arena," is part of a special issue from the Journal of Popular Film and Television on the state of TV edited by Ron Simon and Brian Rose. I feel honored to be included in the company of Jonathan Gray, Victoria Johnson, Laurie Ouellette, Derek Kompare, Daniel Chamberlain, Denise Mann and Max Dawson. My essay surveys the diverse ways that film and TV divisions of media conglomerates are circulating their content online. Even since I completed it last summer, certain companies have shifted their strategies. Nonetheless, I hope it provides a useful snapshot of a particular historical moment.

The second piece, "Producing Filmed Entertainment," is a chapter in Mark Deuze's new edited collection, Managing Media Work. This essay looks at how decisions made with regard to labor, technology, locations, and marketing are having a substantial impact not only on the opportunities and constraints facing those working in production but also on the types of commercial film and television content shown on various screens. Again, I'm excited to be included with the diverse group of cultural studies, communication, media studies and management scholars in this collection.

I also recently wrote about my experiences at Comic-Con for the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Media and Cultural Studies website, Antenna. I'm hoping to blog more about the event here in the next few days...