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    Vassar College
  Feb 22, 2018
Catalogue 2017-2018
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MEDS 310 - Senior Seminar

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)

Special topics course for all senior Media Studies majors, providing a capstone experience for the cohort. This course is taught in the fall semester each year. 

Topic for 2017/18a: The Hands of Media. The capstone seminar for Media Studies aims to consolidate our majors’ core coursework in theory and praxis with an eye to giving them useful tools for the critical making of their senior projects. Taking the human hand as our guiding metonymic thread, we read a wide array of ancient and modern texts that interrogate the relationship between thinking and grasping, drafting and dwelling, making (poiesis) and touching (aesthesis), manual and intellectual labor, authenticity (the handmade) and reproducibility (the ready-to-hand), the human and the inhuman, the material and the virtual. We devote particular attention to the reemergence of the hand in our contemporary moment: the era of screen capitalism. The rise of artisanal foods and spirits, the popularity of bespoke design in the creative economy, the use of critical design in oppositional media interventions, the expanding adoption of design thinking in universities and corporations: these assorted trends seem to point to a renewed focus on making in our culture. What do these dexterous ventures have to tell us about our media ecology? about our relationship to the recycled stories, images, and objects we live with? about our “reality hunger” and dreams of transformation? Class assignments incorporate design methods that accentuate process: immersive listening, collaboration, prototyping, failing, testing, and more. The pedagogical goal of the seminar is not to provide students arts-and-crafts skills, but to activate their preferred creative-critical medium of expression - for example, writing - in an expanded field of possibilities, one that is mindful of our embodiment, our being-with-others, and our irreducible desire for something new. Heesok Chang.

Prerequisite(s): MEDS 250  or MEDS 260 .

One 2-hour period.

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