Modern Culture and Media

Modern Culture and Media (MCM) is an interdisciplinary concentration that explores the ties between media and broader cultural and social formations. We stress creative thinking and critical production: comparative analysis and theoretical reflection, as well as work that integrates practice and theory. We thus bring together aspects of modern culture that are normally separated by departmental structures such as film and media studies, fine art, literature, literary arts and philosophy. This concentration offers the student a range of possible specializations.  A student might decide to focus the critical study and production of a certain type or combination of media (print, photography, sound recording, cinema, video, television, and digital media); or they might focus on certain cultural, theoretical and/or social formations (for example, gender / sexuality in post-Cold war television, postcolonial theory and film, the changing form of the novel, theories of subjectivity and ideology, video games and theories of representation).  These paths are united by a commitment to critical thinking/practice: rather than reproducing conventions, MCM concentrators learn how conventions emerge, what work they do, and explore ways to change them. 

Track I

Track I concentrators may choose to study a particular historical moment, a medium, or a mode of textual production, in combination with theoretical studies that examine the categories of cultural analysis: for example, the distinction between high and low culture. Examples of areas of interest include but are not limited to film, gender/sexuality, digital media, television, post-coloniality, the novel, modern thought, the modern arts, sound, and theories of ideology and subjectivity. Productive work in some modern medium or textual mode is encouraged for all concentrators. MCM’s approach to production recognizes the inextricable link between theory and practice, and the possibility of a fruitful complicity between them. Production, in the sense defined here, is a theoretically informed sphere or practice, one within which acknowledged forms of cultural creation are tested and extended in close complementarity with the analyses conducted elsewhere in MCM.

Track I consists of 11 courses.

Core courses
MCM 0110Introduction to the Theory and Analysis of Modern Culture and Media1
Select two of the following: 12
Digital Media
Television Studies
Visuality and Visual Theories
Cinematic Coding and Narrativity
The Theory of the Sign
Additional courses5
One must be an upper level course from the MCM 1200 series
Two must be senior seminars from the MCM 1500 or MCM 1700 series
Two must be at any level in MCM above MCM 0260
Three additional courses. These courses must be in MCM or in related departments. 23
Total Credits11
1

No more than three courses from this list may count for concentration requirements.

2

 The specific courses must be approved by an MCM concentration advisor as part of a coherent program of study.

Other Requirements:

  1. Focus Area: Of the 11 courses required for the concentration, at least 3 courses must be in a focus area approved by a concentration advisor. These courses may be MCM courses, related courses, or a combination or the two, and they must represent a concentration on some aspect of modern literature, theory, media, art or culture. Examples of possible focus areas are: mass/popular culture, gender/sexuality, language/representation/subjectivity, narrative, digital media, film, modern thought, television, the modern arts, the novel, colonialism and post-colonialism. This is not an exhaustive list. Production courses may be in the focus area but must be in addition to the minimum 3 courses.
  2. Production: Work in production is encouraged but not required for all Track I concentrators. Of the 11 courses required for concentration, as many as 3 may be in production. These may be production courses offered by MCM (film, video, digital media) or courses in creative writing, painting, photography, journalism, etc., provided they do not bring the total number of concentration courses taken outside MCM to more than 3.

Honors: Students who qualify for Honors in Track I are eligible to apply to do an Honors project or thesis. Prospective honors students submit the honors application in the beginning of the 7th semester. (Forms are available in the MCM office.) Applications are screened by the MCM Honors Committee. If approved, a student must then register in the 8th semester for MCM 1990, a one-credit thesis course, to complete the Honors project. An Honors degree reflects not only the completion of the thesis course and project, but generally distinguished performance in the concentration.

Track II

Track II concentration combines production courses with the critical study of the cultural role of practice. It aims to engage students in the analysis of theories of production elaborated within philosophical, artistic, and technological traditions, while encouraging them to produce works that interrogate these traditions.

Track II consists of 11 courses:

Two core courses:
MCM 0110Introduction to the Theory and Analysis of Modern Culture and Media1
Select one of the following Introductory Practice or History of a Medium courses:1
Introduction to Filmmaking: Time and Form
Introduction to Video Production: Critical Strategies and Histories
Art in Digital Culture
Studio Foundation
Advanced Studio Foundation
Foundation Media: Sound and Image
Computers and Music
Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming and Computer Science
A course from the LITR 0110 series
A course from the LITR 0210 series
A Global History of Art and Architecture
Introduction to Acting and Directing
Introduction to Western Music
World Music Cultures (Africa, America, Europe, Oceania)
One additional course from the following:1
Digital Media
Television Studies
Visuality and Visual Theories
Cinematic Coding and Narrativity
The Theory of the Sign
Three additional courses from the MCM 1200 or MCM 1500 series 13
Four practice courses selected in consultation with an advisor. 24
One Senior Seminar from the MCM 1700 series or other equivalent in production1
Total Credits11
1

At least one must be from the MCM 1500 series.

2

Courses can be in any medium or combinatory sequence of media from the following departments: Modern Culture and Media, Visual Art, Music, Literary Arts, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, Computer Science, Engineering, supplemented by approved courses at Rhode Island School of Design and study abroad. This list is not exhaustive.

 Honors:  Students who qualify for Honors in Track II are eligible to apply to do an Honors project or thesis.  Prospective honors students submit the honors application in the beginning of the 7th semester. (Forms are available in the MCM office.) Applications are screened by the MCM Honors Committee. If approved, a student must then register in the 8th semester for MCM1990, a one-credit thesis course, to complete the Honors project. An Honors degree reflects not only the completion of the thesis course and project, but generally distinguished performance in the concentration.