Green Media Syllabus Fall 2016

“When you can’t see something move, you don’t get out of the way.” Buckminster Fuller

In this course we will investigate how media makers deal with ecological crises; how environmental discourses use media; and the material connections between media and the environment. The course interprets the word media broadly to include not only film, games, social media, mass media and media-art, but also big data, simulation, visualization, modeling, sensing (plus all and any hybrids and mutts). In terms of theory we will look at eco-media issues that unpack questions of the consciousness-raising power of film, media, and journalism;  Marxist and material perspectives that trace the physical impact of our media obsessions; biopolitical questions of human/non-human boundaries; and affect-theory-driven examinations of eco- optimism, pessimism, gaia-ism, nihilism as the anthropocene draws on.  Students are encouraged to respond to the material with media/art practice  and scholarly writing.

LEARNING OUTCOMES
Upon Completion of the course student will be able to …
Assessment

1. Trace the development of and contemporary trends in media theory and practice at the intersection of media and the environment. Reading/Media Work Assignments, Class discussions, Presentations
2. Discuss major theoretical issues at the intersection of media and the environment. Reading/Media Work Assignments, Class discussions, Presentations
3. Engage in contemporary debate/practice at the intersection of media and the environment  with original work. Project proposal/paper abstract; project demo/paper first draft.
4. Integrate feedback and criticism into own work Final Project or Paper

Although these topics are inextricably interconnected we will start with the following six buckets.

MEDIA and

  • climate change
  • human impact and consumption
  • activism
  • oceans
  • environmental justice
  • animals

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING:

  • Reading, Participation and Attendance, – You are expected to come to class thoroughly read/immersed on the material (not simply skimmed) and prepared for engaged participation with written comments/questions. (20 points).
  • Discussion Leader for readings: Assigned discussion leaders will make write a short summary (1 page max) of the reading in note form and present it and their comments and questions.  Please make copies for all classmates (20 points).
  • Written Analysis of Artist/Group/Work. (20 points) Nov 16
  • Project Proposal or Paper Abstract (10 points)
  • Project Demo or Paper First Draft (15 points)
  • Project or Paper Final (15 points).

ATTENDANCE:

Attendance for every class is mandatory barring serious emergency. Each student is allowed two unexcused absences for whatever reason (e.g., illness, weather). If extenuating circumstances arise (e.g., serious medical problems, child care), please contact the instructor as soon as possible to address the situation. Barring emergency circumstances, each absence after two will drop lower the final grade by a full grade for each additional absence (i.e.,3 absences = B→C). Punctuality is also expected. For the purposes of grading, three tardies will equal one unexcused absence.

CRITERIA FOR INCOMPLETE:

It is the policy of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Media Study to grant incompletes for a semester only under extraordinary circumstances. Under any circumstances, incompletes will be granted only to students currently in good standing (i.e., regular attendance and passing completion of assignments). Requests for a grade of incomplete need to be submitted in writing, and should include a rationale, documentation for the reason, and a proposed schedule for completion.

University Statements: Please read this informational material on plagiarism, students with disabilities, and weapons as props.

PRIMARY TEXTS:

  • Stephen Rust, Salma Monani, and Sean Cubitt (eds), Ecocinema Reader:Theory and Practice,  AFI Readers, Routledge, New York, 2013, http://site.ebrary.com.gate.lib.buffalo.edu/lib/buffalo/detail.action?docID=10603744
  • Naomi Klein, This changes everything: capitalism vs. the climate, 2014, on reserve at library
  • Jennifer Gabrys. Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet,(University of Minnesota Press, 2016), Electronic book access via library,  JSTOR ; http://www.jstor.org.gate.lib.buffalo.edu/stable/10.5749/j.ctt1b7x5gq ; 

ALSO

  • Karen Barad. “Post-humanist Performativity: Towards an Understanding of how matter comes to matter.” Signs 2003
  • Donna Haraway: “Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene: Making Kin,” Environmental Humanities, vol. 6, 2015 http://environmentalhumanities.org/arch/vol6/6.7.pdf
  • George Lakoff, “Why It Matters How We Frame the Environment,”  Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture  4, no. 1, (2010): 70–81, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17524030903529749?scroll=top&needAccess=true
  • James Lovelock, Atmospheric homeostasis by and for the biosphere: the Gaia hypothesis, Tellus XXVI (1974),
  • Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan,  Slanted Truths: Essays on Gaia, Symbiosis, and Evolution, (Copernicus Books, 1997)
  • Richard Maxwell and Toby Miller, Greening the Media, (Oxford University Press, 2012), electronic version coming to library soon
  • Richard Maxwell, Jon Raundalen and Nina Lager Vestberg (eds), Media and the Ecological Crisis,( Routledge, 2014) http://www.buffalo.eblib.com.gate.lib.buffalo.edu/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=1811079&echo=1&userid=x9f%2f9rJPU8w%3d&tstamp=1467747628&id=53CCD1C53902BC4A94DDD1D9FCA23913E9F0F970
  • Nicole Starosielski, Janet Walker eds, Sustainable Media Critical Approaches to Media and Environment, (Routledge, 2016), http://p8991-bison.buffalo.edu.gate.lib.buffalo.edu/F/?func=direct&doc_number=003745013

MORE TEXTS

  • Karen Barad,  Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning, (Duke University Press, 2007)
  • Pat Brereton, Hollywood Utopia, Ecology in Contemporary American Cinema, (Intellect Books, 2005)
  • E. Eide and R Kunelius eds, Media meets climate: global challenge for journalism, (Peter Lang, 2012)
  • Jennifer Gabrys, Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics, (2011) online at http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?cc=dcbooks;c=dcbooks;idno=9380304.0001.001;rgn=full%20text;view=toc;xc=1;g=dculture
  • David Ingram, Green Screen: Environmentalism and Hollywood, (University of Exeter Press, 2000)
  • Bruno Latour, “Facing Gaïa: Six Lectures on the Political Theology of Nature,” Gifford Lectures, 18-28 February, 2013, view at http://www.ed.ac.uk/humanities-soc-sci/news-events/lectures/gifford-lectures/archive/series-2012-2013/bruno-latour/lecture-one
  • Richard Maxwell and Toby Miller, Greening the Media, (Oxford University Press, 2012)
  • James Urquhart, “Cloud Computing’s Green Paradox,” 7 January 2010, www.cnet.com/uk/news/cloud-computings-green-paradox/

MEDIA, ARTISTS, etc.