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January 2005, Week 3


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Jeremy Butler <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 17 Jan 2005 07:10:34 -0600
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I also use Channels of Discourse, Stephen, as the second part of my 
intro to TV studies course -- starting the semester immodestly with my 
own textbook, Television: Critical Methods and Applications ( ). 

I'd be curious to hear your comments on how your students receive 
Channels.  I think it's a terrific book, although I wish Bobby Allen 
would consider updating it as the "reassembled" edition is now 12 years 
old.  However, most of my undergraduate students would disagree.  Each 
time I use it, I have to cope with students (juniors and seniors) 
complaining that its vocabulary is too hard.  This always surprises me, 
because I think it's quite lucidly written.  I wonder if the mistake I 
make, however, is including it in the FIRST TV-studies course we offer.  
Perhaps it's too difficult for students who are unaccustomed to thinking 
about TV in a critical fashion.  Or perhaps it's just more of a 
graduate-level book.  I dunno.

This is all part of an on-going issue I'm struggling with:  How does one 
encourage students to do course readings?

I've relied on a variety of methods -- ranging from tests/quizzes only 
on the readings to assigning specific students as discussion respondents 
to hoping my own enthusiasm for the topic will inspire students to crack 
open the books -- but lately, in some classes, nothing seems to work.  
I'd be curious to hear what approaches others have taken.

In any event, you'll find my syllabus, with my choices for illustrative 
examples, here, but wait until tomorrow (Tuesday) to check it out as I 
just noticed that our Web server is down (which always happens during a 
holiday when no one's there to fix it):

Also, there are several TV-studies syllabi listed on and 
you can search for "channels" on it -- if it weren't on the same 
off-line server that is on:


> Date:    Sun, 16 Jan 2005 12:34:08 -0800
> From:    Stephen Tropiano <[log in to unmask]>
> I am currently putting a syllabus for my television studies course.
> I am using :Channels of Discourse" as my primary text.  I would
> appreciate it anyone who teaches a similar course could share
> series and/or episode titles they have used in class in conjunction
> with the major methodologies ( SEMIOTICS, MARXISM,
> Yours in the struggle,
> Stephen Tropiano
> Editor, Journal of Film and Video
> Director, Ithaca College LA Program
> [log in to unmask]

Jeremy Butler

Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite