2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
    Jul 20, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Media, Culture and the Arts Major

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Media, Culture and the Arts Overview

Media, Culture and the Arts combines hands-on media production experiences with the cultural and historical study, and critical analysis of media practice. Students engage with histories and theories of production informed by philosophical, artistic, and technological traditions, while learning to produce creative works that interrogate these traditions. MCA faculty members comprise specialists in the history of media, theorists of media, and practitioners/makers of media.

In the context of this major, the term “media” includes both art works and forms of mass communication; pre-electronic analog through digital forms; performance, broadcast, installations, print (from literature to journalism) and all “new” and developing manifestations. MCA will emphasize the study of media in their historical, economic, social, and political contexts. MCA courses draw on a broad range of cultural theories and historical approaches spanning a spectrum of concerns and historical periods, all centrally relevant to the functioning of media in a diverse and globalizing cultural environment. MCA pushes the boundaries of interdisciplinarity–a triangular nexus of history, theory, and practice, none of which assumes priority over the other.

Students considering declaring MCA as their major are strongly recommended to take MCA 101 and begin work on the major during, or prior to, the second semester of their sophomore year.

Media, Culture and the Arts Major Requirements

13 courses required - A minimum grade of C is required for all courses. (MCA 101 requires a minimum grade of B-)

  • One Core Course - MCA 101 - Introduction to the Theory, History & Analysis of Media  (Students may count toward their major one MCA course taken prior to taking MCA 101; all other MCA-qualifying courses must be taken either alongside or after MCA 101.  MCA 101 must be taken prior to declaring the major.  A minimum grade of B-minus is required in this course.)
  • Three Media Production Workshops (choose 3 from different program areas)

ARTS 100 - Visual Studies: 2D Design and Color  
ARTS 102 - Drawing: Eye, Mind, Hand   

ARTS 119 - Introduction to Photo Media  
ARTS 122 - Introduction to Digital Photography 
ARTS 120 - Introduction to Photography  
ARTS 124 - Introduction to Graphic Design  

ARTS 125 - Graphic Design Workshop   

ARTS 126 - Art & the Alphabet  

GAME 095 - Digital 3D Modeling  

GAME 130 - Digital Audio Production  
MCA 282 - Radio Journalism and Podcasting in the Arts and Beyond  

MCA 281 - Urban Community Journalism  
MUSC 121 - Theory I: Principles of Tonal Analysis  

MUSC 129 - Introduction to Composition 
MUSC 141 - Computers and Music  
MUSC 220 - Composition Seminar  
SCRN 107 - Introduction to Digital Filmmaking  
SCRN 214 - Social and Cultural Issue Documentary Production  
TA 219 - Directing Seminar  
TA 230 - Playwriting  


Media Production Workshops are a course category that helps students develop hands-on media production techniques in an interdisciplinary, group-oriented setting. These courses encourage the development of intellectual and practical skills, including inquiry and analysis, critical and creative thinking, quantitative and technical/information literacy, collaboration, and problem solving. The curriculum emphasizes a breadth of experiences, requiring students to study a minimum of three substantially different disciplinary approaches to media production.


  • Three Histories of Sight & Sound (choose 3, one each from Classical & Early Modern, Modern, and Contemporary categories; each course must be from a different program area)

Classical and Early Modern:
ARTH 109 - Greek Myth and the Classical Ideal in Art  
ARTH 114 - Ancient Cities and Sanctuaries  
ARTH 124 - Italian Art from Giotto to Botticelli  

ARTH 125 Art in the Age of Michelangelo
ARTH 131 - Baroque Art in the Age of Bernini  

ARTH 219 - Special Topics in Ancient Art  
ARTH 234 - Art and Architecture of the Early Americas  
ENG 227 - The Book in the Early Modern World 
MUSC 101 - Bach and Before: Exploring Music in the Early Modern World  

ARTH 140 - Modern Art: 19th Century  

ARTH 142 - Art and the Experience of Modernity, 1880-1940  

ARTH 245 Urban Art and Society in Jazz Age New York
ENG 225 - American Print Culture 1700-1900  
MUSC 102 - Music of the Classical and Romantic Periods  
MUSC 104 - Music and Modernism in Society, 1885-1945  
SCRN 119 - History of U.S. Film Until 1960  
SCRN 121 - History of International Cinema Until 1960  
SCRN 122 - History of American Broadcasting and Electronic Media  

ARTH 144 - Art Since 1970  
ARTH 243 - Design in the 20th Century: Arts & Crafts to Ikea  

GAME 010 - History of Game Development  
MUSC 103 - Post-Music  
MUSC 151 - Jazz History  
SCRN 120 - History of U.S. Film Since 1960  
SCRN 124 - History of International Cinema Since 1960  

Histories of Sight and Sound courses appear at the intermediate level of the curriculum, and focus on the study of media in historical, cultural and social contexts. These courses combine the comparative analysis of diverse texts-visual and verbal, literary and historical, theoretical and popular, imaginative and archival-with the study of contemporary modes of representation and creative practice in a range of media. Through studying diverse media and time periods, students become critically sophisticated and knowledgeable about an array of media contexts and periods. They also learn to produce innovative works of historical scholarship that interrogate and transforms conventional understandings of media forms.


  • Three Theories of Culture (choose 3 from different program areas)

ARTH 248 - Gender and Representation  
ARTH 230 - Caravaggio  
ARTH 250 - Special Topics in Visual Culture  
ARTS 274 - Contemporary Directions  

ENG 244 Literatures of Remebrance:Empire, the Holocaust, and Global Memory

ENG 256 Ecologies in Crisis

ENG 275 Fictions of Empire

GERM 250 - German Film and the Frankfurt School  

GAME 030 - Examining Play  

IDND 020 Vienna, 1890-1938: Capitol of Tradition, Inovation, Promise, and Peril
MCA 116 Sex, Media and Culture in the 1990’s

MCA 218 - Meme Culture and Comedy Theory  
MUSC 119 - Hip Hop & Social Identity  

MUSC 219 - From Wagnerism to Nazism: the grandeur and catastrophe of German music  
MUSC 210 - Topics in Music History and Criticism 
MCA 224 - The Ethics and the Aesthetics of the Sublime in Art and Society 
SCRN 217 - Cult Logics  
SCRN 231 - Film Theory  
SCRN 261 - Critical Perspectives on Television  
SCRN 288 - Gender and Film  

SOC 251 - Media and Society  

SOC 290 - Living in a Digital Age: Technology, Economy, and Culture  
TA 211 - Performance Philosophy  


Theories of Culture courses explore how culture is defined and expressed in and through art and media, how meaning is produced through media texts, and when and why media cultures change over time. These classes examine cultural production from the perspective of technological, aesthetical, social, cultural, legal and political issues that come along with the emergence of media, Theories of Culture courses explain how relations of power and ideological control are manifest in media of various periods, locations, and forms. Representations of race, class, and gender are examined in order to identify what media culture is, and how our understanding of it has been established over the past four centuries.


  • Two Creative Intermedia Seminars (choose 2)

ARTS 209 - Motion Graphics 
ARTS 296 - Special Topics: Gallery Culture and Practice  
MUSC 125 - Musical Acoustics  

ARTS 220 - Portfolio Development  

ARTS 254 - Designer as Entrepreneur  

ENG 215 Publishing and Literary Journals

GAME 242 - Interactive Theater  

GGRA Animation and Motion Graphics

MCA 180 - Podcasting - technique & story  

MUSC 142 - Recording Practice and Audio Art  
MUSC 126 - Jazz and Popular Music Composition and Performance  
MUSC 235 - Community Music and Social Action  

MUSC 242 - Soundtracks  
MUSC 270 - Senior Tutorial in Computer Music  
SCRN 209 - Genre Production Workshop  

SCRN 219 - Advanced Production Topics  
TA 206 - The Image and the Word  
TA 212 - Actor as Thinker  


Creative Intermedia Seminar (CIM) is a signature MCA course category in which students apply their historical and theoretical knowledge in a hands-on, fully collaborative, definitively interdisciplinary workshop setting. Each Creative Intermedia Seminar investigates a topical and conceptually abstract, but focused subject which spans two or more disciplines represented by the other five V&PA programs. These courses foster “intellectual risk-taking” (Stanley Fish), while the innovative, forward-thinking subject matter of the courses themselves constitute intellectually risky enterprises. All CIM Seminars involve a demonstration phase in which this creative work meets the public, or has some public impact (conceived in a relatively broad sense).



During their senior year, each MCA major completes either the MCA capstone course (offered each spring) or an honors thesis/project. All capstone experiences in the major bring students together and provides an intellectual and technical support for ambitious independent and collaborative projects. Capstone work always involves advanced work that addresses a significant issue, problem, or theme in the field-or in the world-and takes the form of a scholarly or production project which each student defines and carries forward on their own initiative. Participation in the public MCA Graduation symposium at end of spring semester is required.



MCA students with a strong interest and commitment to advanced study in the media may elect to complete a senior honors thesis. Students are expected to use this opportunity to develop a substantial research or production project that builds on the MCA major’s unique blend of historical, theoretical and production perspectives. Students planning to go on to graduate work in Media Studies, or to pursue an MFA in Digital Production, are especially encouraged to apply for the honors sequence.


All theses and projects require a full year commitment and must take place during the student’s senior year. All honors theses and projects must be designed in dialogue with an honors project adviser in the major, and proposals require the approval of MCA faculty and program director. A successful/passing honors thesis and defense satisfies the MCA capstone requirement.


To be eligible for consideration, a student must have completed at least six MCA-qualifying courses with at least a 3.5 grade-point average. All students interested in the pursuing honors must apply to the MCA program director by April 1 of their junior year. If any student plans to graduate in December (i.e., “out of sequence”), they must apply before November 1 of their junior year.)


Interested students should consult the MCA program director as early as possible in their junior year for the full policy and instructions on beginning the application process.



Students may register for MCA298 to complete an internship under the guidance of a MCA faculty member. But generally, internships do not satisfy any MCA major requirement. To count an internship toward a MCA major requirement, MCA majors may propose that an internship experience with a MCA subject code (MCA298) substitute for one of the Creative Intermedia course requirements.


Please consult the MCA program director for the full policy and instructions on how to apply.


Media, Culture and the Arts Faculty


Stephen DiRado, BFA

John Freyermuth, M.F.A.

Sherry Freyrmuth, M.F.A.

Benjamin Korstvedt, Ph.D.

Stephen Levin, Ph.D.

Matthew Malsky, Ph.D. - Director

Hugh Manon, Ph.D.

Meredith Neuman, Ph.D.

Rox Samer, Ph.D.

Gohar Siddiqui, Ph.D.

Toby Sisson, M.F.A.

Soren Sorensen, M.F.A.

Kristina Wilson, Ph.D

Media, Culture and the Arts Courses

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