Media Studies

MDST 3306/WGS 3306: Sexuality, Gender, Class, and Race in the Teen Film [3]

Andrea Press, Professor

The focus of this class will be on viewings and analyses of films featuring images of teens produced between the 1930’s and the present. Students will be asked to reflect on their own experience as adolescents, and to reflect on the power film has to influence one’s self-interpretation of experience. In particular, we will be interested in the power of films to spark what has been termed in the cultural studies literature “subcultures of resistance” to the dominant culture, particularly amongst adolescent fans and viewers. Students will be asked to analyze and mine their own experience, and that of their friends and contemporaries, for evidence of this phenomenon, and to consider the evidence for film’s power to shape our ongoing cultural experience of adolescence, and the meanings we assign to it.

Throughout the course we will pay particular attention to the following general questions: what is adolescence (and how has it been defined in American film)? What is the range of experience of adolescence that characterizes American adolescence across gender, race, sexual, and class lines? How does it make sense to think about the influence of films on society? How might we study the social influence of films? What is the importance of high school to American culture, and how has it been represented in the teen film? For each unit we should keep these key questions in mind as we view and discuss a range of teen films.

Students will write a series of short questions and commentaries based on theories, films, and viewing experiences covered in the course of the class, and will also complete two essay examinations based on course viewings and readings.

NOTE: THIS IS A NO-SCREEN CLASS. NO COMPUTERS; PHONES; ETC. will be allowed to be ON in class. This is a very strict policy and phones will be collected if it is not observed. If you are taking this course you must agree to honor this policy.

MDST 3559: The Politics of Video Games [3]

Bruce Williams, Professor

Video gaming is the fastest growing form of media: Americans spend twice as much on gaming as on recorded music and it is estimated that young men average over 670 hours a year playing video games. Yet we know relatively little about the broader social and political impact of this new medium. This class will sample the existing literature and explore ways of understanding the political implications (broadly defined) of gaming. Topics will include: the history and political economy of the gaming industry; gender, violence and gaming; the connections between gaming and the military; the potential of video games for enriching democratic life.

Students will be required to contribute daily to an online discussion of the readings on NowComment. There will also be a ten page take-home final examination. As well, working in small groups, students will select games/genres to explore (i.e., PLAY) throughout the class. Each group will create a video presentation connecting the games with class material.

MDST 3809: New Media in New York: Industries and Policies [3] (note: this program is no longer accepting applications)

Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor

Do media industries generate technological change or does technological change rock media industries? Marketing, creative, and communication leaders must consider how e­ Readers, smartphones, live streaming, and social networks diversify media consumption patterns.  Decisions about how (or if) businesses should modify their organizational structures and habits will determine those that prosper and those that perish.
This two week J-Term course is designed to prepare the future media industry employees for the dramatic changes ahead. The first week will be entirely digital: Held virtually so students may participate in class discussion from anywhere in the world. The second week will happen in New York City. Combining scholarly literature with exploratory site visits to television studios, book publishers, newspapers, radio stations,
and music executives provides a pragmatic approach to learning.

Students will walk away with a better understanding of how established media conglomerates avoid falling behind in the city that never sleeps.

This class is limited to UVa students and the enrollment will be capped at 20 students. Please direct questions to Jenna Dagenhart at or by phone at (703) 577-5461.

The priority list for getting into the course is as follows:

  • Fourth-year MDST majors
  • Third-year MDST majors
  • Fourth-year MDST minors
  • Third-year MDST minors
  • Everyone else

To find the application for the course please sign on to your UVa Collab portal here: Once you are signed in as a UVa student choose 'membership' and then search joinable sites on Collab for "JTerm NYC Application." Then go to 'tests and quizzes"

Additional $800 fee required.