Media Studies

Stream Overview

Media is all around us! However, have you ever wondered how our role as consumers and producers of media impacts society? Do you have an interest in how literature, film, visual arts, or journalism both reflect and shape the world around us? If so, join us in the CAP Media Studies stream, where you will be equipped with the theoretical knowledge and technical skills to engage with media in the 21st century! This stream considers various questions, including:

  • How has media influenced our personal experiences and framed our understanding of issues of identity, equality, globalization, and citizenship?
  • What are the social, cultural, and political implications of media representations in local and global contexts?
  • How do new technologies and media change the way we tell and respond to stories?
  • How might we challenge conventional means of media representation in relation to means of production, consumption, and reception?

If any of these questions interest you, consider joining the Media Studies stream!

From five distinct angles, this stream explores media in the context of modern society. You will be introduced to the different intellectual perspectives associated with the disciplines of Creative Writing, English, Film, Journalism, and Visual Arts. You will be challenged and encouraged to draw connections within and across these fields.

The Media Studies stream, as an area of academic and popular discourse, examines and questions commonly held definitions or understandings of art, aesthetics, power, inclusion and exclusion, ethics, markets, identity politics, embodiment and more. The media by which messages are delivered are as important to our understanding of culture as the content of the messages themselves. Accordingly, the Media Studies stream explores these issues through many media including advertising, blogs, conceptual art, documentaries, graphic novels, fiction, film, social media, photography, podcasts, video art, and websites. Through the five interrelated courses in the Media Studies stream, students will gain an introduction to academic study in both the Humanities and the Creative and Performing Arts.

Students in the CAP Media Studies stream are enrolled in one of two degree options: a general Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Media Studies (BMS).

BA: This stream may be of particular interest to students who plan on majoring in Film Studies, English, Sociology, Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, First Nations Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Art History, Visual Art and Theory. It may also appeal to those pursuing studies in film production, creative writing, or visual arts.

BMS: Students can also register in CAP’s Media Studies stream as part of the Bachelor of Media Studies (BMS). The Bachelor of Media Studies is a multi-disciplinary cohort program blending practice, theory, and research methodology in the participating disciplines.

See also: Bachelor of Media Studies


Courses

All course descriptions and information are subject to change.

In your first term, you will enroll in Arts Studies, Creative Writing, and Film Studies. Through your study of academic writing, literature, and film, you will learn how to appreciate and contribute to the media around you today.

Arts Studies (ASTU) 100 Seminar

(6 credits/2 terms) – First Year CAP Seminar: Focuses on scholarly writing and reading, including both literature and introduction to academic scholarship. This course provides an interdisciplinary foundation for academic writing and related research communicative practices within an interactive learning environment.

Students will choose one out of four different sections (M01/M02/M03/M04), based on their scheduling needs and academic interests, and stay in the same section for both terms.

Timeslots:
M01: Tues & Thurs 11:00-12:30
M02: Tues & Thurs 14:00-15:30
M03: Mon, Wed, Fri 11:00-12:00
M04: Mon, Wed, Fri 12:00-13:00


  • ASTU 100 Sections M01, M02 - Representation and Recognition

Kasim Husain
kasim.husain@ubc.ca

This seminar introduces students to the conventions of academic writing by taking up major concepts and debates in the field of media studies. Students will learn to evaluate different techniques and patterns of representation across a variety of contemporary media, including fiction, podcasts, documentary, and narrative film. The course addresses two thematic questions: how does the media work (representation), and who does the media work for or against (recognition)? Reading from across academic genres that make up this interdisciplinary field, students will become familiar with key concepts in media studies such as ideology, cultural appropriation, stereotypes and transmedia, before applying them in assignments that develop academic writing skills such as noting for gist, citation, critical summary, peer review, and crafting coherent, original, and effectively argued academic papers. In relation to representation, we will discuss how media forms emerge and how they respond to different social contexts, and the influence of new technologies and genres on the messages media communicates. We will then shift focus to the theme of recognition, evaluating the portrayal of Indigenous peoples and Muslims as case studies in the representational and structural challenges that social groups face in relation to the media.

 


  • ASTU 100 Sections M03, M04 - Strange Futures
    Dr. Katie Fitzpatrick

    It’s safe to say that the future has never been stranger: seas are rising and political tides are shifting; AI is getting smarter and rockets to Mars are looking likelier. In this course, we will consider how the future is envisioned in contemporary media – examining essays, novels, films, television shows, art exhibits, and music videos. Throughout the course, we will also discuss what these images of the future tell us about our current social and political world: what do our dreams and nightmares about the future tell us about our current hopes and anxieties? We will consider the future of borders through Mohsin Hamid’s novella Exit West and Alfonso Cuarón’s film Children of Men; we will explore the status of the automaton in Janelle Monáe’s musical oeuvre and Kevin Schmidt’s art exhibit We are the Robots; we will discuss how Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Jordan Peele’s Get Out use the “unrealistic” genres of dystopia and science fiction to probe the realities of sexism and racism. Through our study of these texts, you will also learn how to write in a variety of genres, both academic (summary, interpretive essay, literature review, research essay) and public (film review, blog post).

Creative Writing (CRWR) 213

(3 credits / 1 term)
Jennifer Moss
jmoss01@mail.ubc.ca

As media changes form, writers must adapt. The new media landscape is a perpetual 'wild west' that we all have a hand in creating, destroying and re-building. What potential does it hold for writers, and what limitations? In this course, you will cultivate a nuanced understanding of contemporary new media that will inform your role in shaping its future as both a writer and a digital citizen. The class considers how writing and reading are changing alongside an evolving transmedia landscape, and how new norms of audience engagement impact the way narrative is produced and received. Through multi-media lectures, discussions, guest speakers from various new media niches, in-class creative work, and writing assignments across genres, this course equips you with the critical framework and writing skills to engage meaningfully and productively with the ever-evolving faces of media. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, podcasting, blogging, trans-media, collaborative, and interactive storytelling are all on the menu. Assignments will see you confronting the necessities of writing effectively in a public, multidisciplinary, interactive context while challenging you to connect your writing with matters close to your heart.

Film Studies (FIST) 100 - Introduction to Film and Media Analysis

(3 credits/1 term)
Brent Strang

Introduction to Film Studies prepares first-year students to pursue a course of critical study in cinema.  Through introduction to the core fundamentals of film analysis, this course will equip students to discuss films in a critical and informed way.  Using Bordwell and Thompson's Film Art, students will become fluent in the terminology for identifying and examining film form and types, as well as key concepts in the field of film studies. The course will also briefly introduce students to critical categories in film study such as authors, stars, and genres.  Each week, we will examine narrative forms, elements of style, and critical issues in relation to a variety of exemplary film texts. Upon completion of this course, students will have a strong understanding of the fundamentals of film study and be well prepared to pursue further courses in cinema.

In your second term, you will continue your studies in Arts Studies, while being introduced to the studies of Visual Arts and Journalism. Your continuing study of the arts will further challenge the way you think about media in our world today. In addition, technical lab/workshop hours in your visual arts class will equip you with the technical skills to create and critique visual media, while your class in journalism will introduce you to various journalistic skills and ethics.

Arts Studies (ASTU) 100 Seminar

(6 credits/2 terms) – First Year CAP Seminar: Focuses on scholarly writing and reading, including both literature and introduction to academic scholarship. This course provides an interdisciplinary foundation for academic writing and related research communicative practices within an interactive learning environment.

Students will choose one out of four different sections (M1/M2/M3/M4), based on their scheduling needs and academic interests, and stay in the same section for both terms.

Timeslots:
M01: Tues & Thurs 11:00-12:30
M02: Tues & Thurs 14:00-15:30
M03: Mon, Wed, Fri 11:00-12:00
M04: Mon, Wed, Fri 12:00-13:00


  • ASTU 100 Sections M01, M02 - Representation and Recognition

Kasim Husain
kasim.husain@ubc.ca

This seminar introduces students to the conventions of academic writing by taking up major concepts and debates in the field of media studies. Students will learn to evaluate different techniques and patterns of representation across a variety of contemporary media, including fiction, podcasts, documentary, and narrative film. The course addresses two thematic questions: how does the media work (representation), and who does the media work for or against (recognition)? Reading from across academic genres that make up this interdisciplinary field, students will become familiar with key concepts in media studies such as ideology, cultural appropriation, stereotypes and transmedia, before applying them in assignments that develop academic writing skills such as noting for gist, citation, critical summary, peer review, and crafting coherent, original, and effectively argued academic papers. In relation to representation, we will discuss how media forms emerge and how they respond to different social contexts, and the influence of new technologies and genres on the messages media communicates. We will then shift focus to the theme of recognition, evaluating the portrayal of Indigenous peoples and Muslims as case studies in the representational and structural challenges that social groups face in relation to the media.


  • ASTU 100 Sections M03, M04 - Strange Futures
    Dr. Katie Fitzpatrick

It’s safe to say that the future has never been stranger: seas are rising and political tides are shifting; AI is getting smarter and rockets to Mars are looking likelier. In this course, we will consider how the future is envisioned in contemporary media – examining essays, novels, films, television shows, art exhibits, and music videos. Throughout the course, we will also discuss what these images of the future tell us about our current social and political world: what do our dreams and nightmares about the future tell us about our current hopes and anxieties? We will consider the future of borders through Mohsin Hamid’s novella Exit West and Alfonso Cuarón’s film Children of Men; we will explore the status of the automaton in Janelle Monáe’s musical oeuvre and Kevin Schmidt’s art exhibit We are the Robots; we will discuss how Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Jordan Peele’s Get Out use the “unrealistic” genres of dystopia and science fiction to probe the realities of sexism and racism. Through our study of these texts, you will also learn how to write in a variety of genres, both academic (summary, interpretive essay, literature review, research essay) and public (film review, blog post).

 

Visual Arts (VISA) 110 - Foundation Studio: Digital Media

(3 credits/1 term)
Christine D'Onofrio
christine.donofrio@ubc.ca

VISA 110 “Foundation Studio:Digital Media” covers historical, political, theoretical, and practical issues of art and image making with a focus on photography and moving image to digital media.  Media literacy and the role of artistic practice will be emphasized through class work, consisting of readings, activities and discussions about the nature of images and image-making, as well as weekly lectures on historical to contemporary artists and artworks that have made significant contributions to the dialogue of the machine’s influence on representation. In this class, students will realize lens-based and digital visual art works in an informed and critical setting.  As a result, lab peer critiques are an integral component of the course and much time will be spent on ensuing discussions.  As the course involves the creation of art works, self-initiated online resources are provided to aid in technical execution.  Alongside the online resource, there is outside class hour open lab times and workshops available for students to use computers with the software with help. The course does not require any prior knowledge with the software.  You are not obligated to purchase software at this introductory level, and projects can be completed using a cell phone or disposable camera.  The structure of VISA 110 is a flexible learning course that consists of a weekly one-hour large sized lecture, and two hours of smaller lab times for a total of three contact hours a week. The ‘flexible’ component consists of one hour a week of online independent learning, accompanied by voluntary technical learning workshops or facilitated open lab hours.

Journalism (JRNL) 100

(3 credits/ 1 term)
Instructors. TBA

JRNL 100 is a first-year undergrad course that looks at how shifts in the media landscape, the advent of new technologies, and changes in information flow are transforming the practice, profession and role of journalism. The social organization and communication features of our media-saturated world are being altered by economic, sociologic and technologic factors, and this course offers students an opportunity to have a better understanding of evolving media landscapes. Exploring these issues provides students with an introduction to the Arts that integrates the humanities and social sciences, while offering a focal point on media practice. Students will learn journalism skills including: investigative reporting methods, the use of data in reporting, the basic use of multimedia, social media analysis, and practice in various forms of storytelling. Each week the class will have a guest speaker, usually a journalist or media practitioner, who will share thoughts on the industry and work with students to explore the complexities of the creative, technical and business aspects of “journalism.”


Timetable

Please note that students will only register in one ASTU 100 section. This timetable is subject to change.

Please note that students will only register in one ASTU 100 section and one VISA 110 discussion section. This timetable is subject to change.


Sample Projects

ASTU 100

Indigenous Digital Walking Tour – “Knowing the Land Beneath our Feet”
Students will participate in a digital walking tour that highlights Indigenous knowledges and histories in relation to UBC Vancouver campus. Our goal is to connect what we learn in the classroom about Indigenous issues in Canada to a very local context, our campus.

Academic Speed Dating: Each student works on a question based on a selection of texts that expands on class discussion. They then have approximately 6 minutes in pairs to ask each other their questions and generate discussion about the texts. After 6 minutes, they rotate and work with another student and, at the end, they have a selection of different answers. Afterwards, they produce written responses to the exercise where they analyze their discussions and give a critical response to their classmates’ answers. It transforms the traditional classroom space into a dynamic forum for discussion and debate and allows students to apply their own frames of reference and experiences to the texts.

ASTU 100 & VISA 110

UBC’s Centre for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) project – the Media Studies stream will be working with a media-focused community organization and working on a related media project in one or more courses.

Appropriation Project – Starting with the dissection and analysis of a chosen moving image source from popular culture, students appropriate the footage into a new video artwork.  Sources are obtained from already circulating artifacts such as film, television, talk shows, commercials, news, cartoons, video games or Vlogs, and are used to create a new art work by new juxtapositions in editing, alterations, or other effects that reveal, expose or changes the way one understands the meaning of the original footage.

CRWR 213

Tumblr Literary Project—we’ll spend the last month of the semester working primarily on the Tumblr Literary Project that marks the third and final writing assignment in this class. Through a series of weekly collaborative Tumblr Literary workshops, students will build a multimedia Tumblr site showcasing three original pieces of postcard fiction or creative non-fiction of a similar length. Sampling work from across the web, students will furnish the site with images, video, animation, and text that works to shed new light on and assign new meaning to their writing.

JRNL 100

Group presentations: Students will be assigned in groups to present the history and context behind major new media and journalism events.

Tweeting and Blogging: Students will be assigned in groups to use Twitter and an in-class blogging tool to report on class presentations.