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CMS 275 A: Perspectives On Visual Culture: Sex, Race And Power

Meeting Time: 
MW 12:30pm - 2:20pm
MGH 295

Syllabus Description:

CMS 275 Race Sex Violence and Power M/W 12:30-2:20


CMS275 Race Sex Violence and Power-AuQ17-Syllabus.pdf

Presentation Dates - Nov 29-Dec 6.pdf

Online Response Post.pdf

CMS 275 - AQ17 - Mini Series Assignment-1.pdf

Unit I Lecture for your review - UPDATED CMS 275 AQ17 Oct 2-11 – Lecture .pptx

Unit II Lecture for your review - UPDATED CMS 275 AQ17-Unit II – Lectures Oct 23rd – Nov 8th.pptx

Please Note - The Above Lecture for Unit 1 has CLEARLY INDICATED VOCABULARY on which you should focus and the stills from Marathon Man on which you should focus all for Test 1.  It also has the time frames on which you should focus for Empire and In the Heat of the Night.

All films will stream through Canvas. It is expected that students will obtain access to Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu independently since copy write infringement prevents the instructor from providing access to these forms of streaming. 

The course CMS 275 is designed as an introductory film and TV analysis course, which includes audience and filmic interactions with other forms of public media. While we examine the impact of market and technological innovation on public media in the forms of TV and film, not surprisingly we will focus primarily on themes of representations of love, sex and violence in the context multiple negotiations of power. It may seem like a catchy course title, but in the increasingly varied forms, representations of love, sex and violence demonstrate major changes in contemporary media, shifting social mores and consumer demands for both quality and reality-based or more relatable programming. Throughout the class, we will compare our current TV revolution to those of the decades between 1970 and 2000, which mark a coming-of-age for American TV viewers and American TV as a whole.


Through humour, 1970s shows like - All in the Family and M*A*S*H supplant an accepted popular version of the so-called all-American family who lived in the mythic ‘good old days’, while films like Dirty Harry and Marathon Man challenged those same ideas through extreme violence. In the 1980s family sitcoms are essentially less challenging, police and hospital dramas delve into the grit of everyday lives and Dallas offers a fantasy-driven peek into the world of money and corruption. Sound familiar? What of more current shows like Empire or serial dramas like The Fall? What of comedies like Arrested Development?


By the 1980/1990s American independent cinema experiences a renewed surge and reflects a new ethics against sexism, racism and homophobia. Just as stand-up comics dominate the stage with explicit hard-hitting humour, in the 1990s they begin to write a whole new form of humour aimed at the sitcom format and the big three networks – ABC, NBC and CBS – adapt yet again, faced with the spread of cable TV. Then as now, a TV viewing revolution of sorts responds to the desires of new audiences to see more.

Catalog Description: 
An introduction to the study of visual texts such as film, television, comics, or digital media. Focus on the representation of cultural differences including, but not limited to, sexuality, gender, ability, and race. Topics vary.
Department Requirements Met: 
Pre-req to Declare Cinema & Media Studies Major
GE Requirements Met: 
Diversity (DIV)
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
March 29, 2018 - 9:12pm