COM 318:This seminar explores the intersection of American culture and the television situation comedy, one of the oldest and most ubiquitous forms of television programming. In addition to studying the history of the sitcom and its relationship to other comedic forms, the course of study will include conventions of the form, the family, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, work and social class from a variety of perspectives, including cultural studies, feminist theory, queer theory, and production practices.
In this course you will experience TV, a medium you have thought of just as entertainment, as much more than that.You will have a clearer understanding of yourselves and your place in this wider view. You will be able to explainhow we both shape and are shaped by popular media, like sitcoms. You will interrogate the historical context in which certain media was produced, the critical context, the intersectionality of multiple lenses, and understand the social relevance of the genre.
By the end of the summer, you should be able to:
- Demonstrate facility with the vocabulary, the history, the technology, the script writing process and the cultural context of the sitcom genre from the 1950s to present.
- Identify and evaluate different sources of information about sitcoms and use them in appropriate ways while writing for a general audience and constructing persuasive arguments based on original ideas, opinions, and reflections.
- Describe, interpret, and frame informed arguments, in written form and using scholarly terms, about the interplay of production processes, history, and broad cultural contexts on the sitcom genre through the lenses of gender, sexuality, race, and class. You will explore how these critical lenses reveal layers of meaning embedded in texts that simultaneously construct, reinforce, and occasionally challenge cultural norms