Critical Media and Cultural Studies

Critical Media and Cultural Studies (CMC)

Effective Spring Term 2016

Cummings Schoen Tillmann

Active, responsible citizenship and civic participation are the core of Critical Media and Cultural Studies (CMC). This program exposes students to the world's most pressing challenges--for example, climate change, war, mass incarceration, and economic inequality--and helps them envision and enact strategies for change.

Our major and minor investigate: what forms of media and culture facilitate and undermine our participation as citizens in a free democratic society? Whose political and economic interests drive media and cultural systems? Who profits from the status quo, and at whose expense? CMC aims to cultivate a community of intellectually curious, socially aware, and politically engaged citizens who can both critically read media and cultural texts and produce evidence-based arguments in oral, textual, and mediated form.

Qualified students may be invited to participate in the department's honors degree program and/or independent study projects. Majors will work with an approved CMC faculty advisor to create an area of concentration and work toward a senior documentary project.


Three five-semester-hour courses; seven four-semester-hour courses; and one of the following: an academic international experience, an approved CMC internship, or service to campus media. At least eight courses (including all core courses) must be taken at Rollins.


Complete ALL of the following.

CMC 100 Media and Cultural Studies
CMC 200 Researching Media and Culture
CMC 400 Senior Seminar/Research Practicum (after completion of all other core courses and 4 or more electives)

Complete ONE of the following.

CMC 300 Critical Frameworks for Contemporary Culture
SOC 302 Sociological Theory


Complete BOTH of the following.

An academic international experience, four semester hours of an approved CMC internship, OR involvement with a campus media outlet (e.g., Sandspur, The Independent, or WPRK).
electives in an area of concentration, at least three of which must be 300- or 400-level courses.

See the Career Services website for a list of pre-approved CMC internships. In general, we approve internships with public media (e.g., NPR/PBS), independent media (e.g., Democracy Now,, and some alternative media (e.g., the Watermark) as well as social justice organizations (e.g., Amnesty International).

Service to campus media might involve: a) a one year term as editor or staff writer for The Sandspur or The Independent OR no fewer than five published pieces reflective of CMC; b) a one-year term as staff member, DJ, etc., for WPRK OR no fewer than three original pieces reflective of CMC. A portfolio of work is due to the student's CMC advisor no later than the last day of class in the semester prior to the student's semester of graduation.


1. International Media. This concentration examines media in international contexts, helping students understand the history, scope, diversity, politics, and economics of global media.

Sample relevant courses:

ANT 452 Seminar: Cinema and Society in China
CLS 105 Ancient Rome in Contemporary Film and Media
INB 215 The Global Entertainment Business
RSN 234 Russia in the Movies
SPN 341 Spanish Film/Cultural Trends
SPN 342 Latin American Film

2. Power and Persuasion. This concentration focuses on links between political discourse, mass media, and public policy.

Sample relevant courses:

CMC 320 Political Economy of Body and Food
CMC 325 Incarceration and Inequality
ENG 210 Language and Power
PHI 218 Argumentation and Media-Manipulation
POL 330 Peace and Conflict Studies
POL 370 Comparative Modern Ideologies

3. Specialized Concentration. We highly encourage each major to work with her/his approved CMC faculty advisor (contact CMC department chair for a list) to design a specialized area of concentration. Elective choices must be approved by a CMC faculty advisor or the chair of CMC in order to count toward an area of concentration, with the exception of the following electives, which count toward ANY area of concentration.

CMC 110 Digital Storytelling
CMC 150 Topics in Media and Cultural Studies
CMC 220 Writing Lives
CMC 230 Media and Disability
CMC 250 Topics in Media and Cultural Studies
CMC 310 Media, Peace and Justice
CMC 320 Political Economy of Body and Food
CMC 325 Incarceration and Inequality
CMC 350 Topics in Media and Cultural Studies
CMC 397 Internship in Media and Cultural Studies
CMC 398/399/498/499 Independent Study in Media and Cultural Studies
ECO 142 Political Economy of the Media
ECO 242 Economics, Media and Propaganda
PHI 218 Argumentation and Media-Manipulation
SOC 302 Sociological Theory
(unless taken in lieu of CMC 300)

Other sample courses that, with CMC advisor approval, could count toward a specialized area of concentration include:

ANT 277 Women and Gender: Middle East and North Africa
ARH 101 Introduction to Visual Culture
CLS 321 Gender and Sex in Antiquity
ENG 211 Visual and Verbal Text Design
FIL 150 Introduction to Film
HIS 337 American Graphic Media
HIS 370 Race and Ethnicity in the United States
PHI 312 Feminist Theory
SOC 345 Sociology of Gender
SOC 356 The State of Black America
SOC 360 Poverty and Social Welfare
SWAG 205 Introduction to Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies

If a student wishes to study and/or utilize a particular medium (e.g., film), her/his CMC faculty advisor may recommend one or more additional media history and/or practice courses. These courses are encouraged, but, in general, do not count toward areas of concentration.

Media History
ARH 361 History of Photography
MUS 160 History of Jazz
MUS 165 History of Rock and Roll
THE 203 History of American Film
THE 205 History of American Musical Film
THE 206 History of Radio and Television

Practice Courses
ART 223 Graphic Design I
ART 230 Introduction to Digital Media
ART 295 Photo I: Technique, Form and Content
ART 300 Photo II
ART 323 Graphic Design II
ENG 273 Journalistic Writing I
ENG 373 Journalistic Writing II


CMC 100 Media and Cultural Studies
CMC 200 Researching Media and Culture
CMC 300 Critical Frameworks for Contemporary Culture
Three CMC-prefix electives, including two at the 300-level or above*

*At the CMC department chair's discretion, one CMC-congruent course taught outside the department may count toward the minor.

Courses and Descriptions:

CMC 100 Media and Cultural Studies: We are immersed in media and culture that profoundly shape our lives, often in ways we don't even notice. This course examines the impact of media and culture on how we see ourselves, other people, social groups, and the world. We analyze how forms of culture and media reflect, reinforce, and potentially transform structures of power and inequality, and how they serve and fail to serve the public interest. Our goal is to be more active, effective, and critical consumers and producers of media and culture. The course includes a lab to build competency in photo, sound, and video editing.

CMC 110 Digital Storytelling: More and more, the stories we tell are digital, and you can have the skills to tell them! This course centers on multimedia expression. We will study the ways stories convey who we are and how we understand others and our world. Then we will practice telling evocative, creative, powerful stories that connect personally significant aspects of ourselves to important issues in the world. Projects will include a photo essay, short audio documentary, and short video.

CMC 150 Topics in Media and Cultural Studies

CMC 155 Solidarity, Equality, Community: Explores a spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities with particular focus on LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and more!) identities, histories, and social movements. A welcoming inclusive environment for the serious and the playful. Expand creative horizons. Engage seasoned activists. See how you can answer Gandhi's call: "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

CMC 200 Researching Media and Culture: What issues keep us awake at night? How might we address pressing challenges like climate change, war, and economic inequality? What separates assumption, belief, and knowledge about those challenges? How can we best translate knowledge into evidence-based arguments? This course explores multiple ways of researching culture and media. Each of us undertakes a project on a topic of our choosing, bringing together both background (library) research and original research. The 1-credit lab builds information literacy, helping us find, evaluate, and synthesize information from multiple reputable sources. Prerequisite: CMC 100 or consent.

CMC 220 Writing Lives: The title of this course has at least two meanings, and we will explore both. We will become more introspective about our lives as writers, and we will write creatively, analytically, and ethically about lived experience, our own and that of others. This class is for those who yearn to read and write in order to understand and bring meaning to their life journey.

CMC 230 Media & Disability: Using media as text, this course examines the (mis)representation of people with disabilities in TV, film, documentary, graphic novels, and digital media. We will analyze disability at the intersection of culture and identity, and consider how media vary when created by and for the non-disabled. Several problematic implications include able-bodied actors in disabled roles ("crip face") and acquired disability as a fate worse than death (Million Dollar Baby). Using a hands-on approach, we will engage in analysis to understand how emerging media challenge stigma and employs contemporary disability theory.

CMC 270 Media, Gender and Sexualities: Examines how media portray gender and sexuality; how those portrayals intersect with race, class, and other identities; how television, music, social media, etc., shape and constrain personal and social power.

CMC 310 Media, Peace, and Justice: Develops and applies talents to realization of peace and justice through study of media and hands-on learning: Global Peace Film Festival Production, multimedia making, lab instruction in digital video. Prerequisite: CMC major, FIL minor, or consent.

CMC 320 Political Economy of Body and Food. What's wrong with the ways we relate to our bodies, to others' bodies, to eating, and to food - and what can we do about it? This course examines the political and economic interests behind body and beauty ideals, body image, body dissatisfaction, eating disorders, steroid abuse, our cultural fear and hatred of fat, anti-fat prejudice, and inequalities related to the current food system.

CMC 325 Incarceration and Inequality: The U.S. incarcerates more people than any other country. Class, race, nationality, and sex profoundly affect a person's interactions with official "justice" systems, influencing who gets stopped, patted down, searched, arrested, and/or charged; who receives what kind of legal representation (if any); who is prosecuted, pressured to plead guilty, and/or convicted; who does time and how much. This course examines ways privilege and inequality manifest in, for example, the War on Drugs; the militarization of policing; prison privatization; solitary confinement; the death penalty; and extrajudicial imprisonment, torture, and killing.

CMC 330 Native American Media and Cultural Studies: Through investigating visual and cultural representation, this course explores how contemporary indigenous peoples reclaim textual production to form identity, reconstruct the past, revitalize culture, and assert sovereignty and treaty rights.

CMC 350 Topics in Media and Cultural Studies

CMC 400 Senior Seminar/Research Practicum with Lab: Involves synthesizing scholarly research, conducting original research, and producing a documentary film pertaining to the student's area of concentration. Lab builds competency in documentary filmmaking. Prerequisites: all core courses, plus at least four courses toward area of concentration.