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As defined by the Media Studies Program, “media” includes all forms of representational media (oral/aural, written, visual), mass media (print, television, radio, film), new media (digital multimedia, the Internet, networked media), their associated technologies, and the social and cultural institutions that enable them and are defined by them.

The program emphasizes several interrelated approaches to the study of media: multidisciplinary perspectives derived from the arts, humanities, social and natural sciences; the historical study of various forms of communication and the representation of knowledge; theoretical and critical investigation of how media shape our understandings of reality, and the dynamic interrelationship of media industries, cultural texts, communications technologies, policies, and publics; examination of global, as well as non-Western, indigenous, and oppositional media forms and practices; and practical work in media production and the use of media technologies.

(Mission Statement, adopted by Steering Committee, 2004)

Building on the wide-ranging teaching and research interests of program faculty, a primary goal of the Media Studies Program is to provide students with the intellectual and creative tools to become sophisticated analysts of both contemporary and historical media environments, developing theoretical and critical skills that can be utilized in everyday experiences of media consumption and (increasingly in the age of digital and desktop media) production. Program curricula will include considerations of form and aesthetics of media objects; the history of traditional and contemporary media; the economic and organizational structure of media industries; local, indigenous, and oppositional media forms; relations between media technologies and intellectual property; and the social implications of and ethical issues associated with old and new media.

Because the media studies concentration incorporates courses originating within the program as well as a wide range of courses from other programs and departments, students wishing to concentrate in media studies should consult with the program director as early as possible to design their course of study in consultation with a faculty advisor who will be drawn from the Program Steering Committee.