From Mayberry to Netflix: Topics in Television Studies, Race, Gender, and Class

Course Description

Contrary to popular belief, the study of television is not a worthless endeavor for students hoping to take the easy route through college. Television is an unwieldy, unbounded combination of industry, text, and audience that defies attempts by scholars from many disciplines to tame it. By delving into television studies as a discrete discipline, we will investigate the attributes that make the televisual form unique. From there, we will engage with a variety of shows, from dramas deemed “highbrow” and worthy of study (i.e. The Wire, Mad Men, Transparent) to sitcoms (i.e. Black-ish) to “lowbrow” genres such as melodrama, teen television, and reality television (i.e. Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Gossip Girl, Riverdale, Veronica Mars, The Real Housewives of Atlanta).

Though this course will focus primarily on contemporary shows, we will also use a historical lens to trace the lineages of race, gender, and class on the small screen.

By the end of the course, you will:

• Be able to trace the historical lineages of race, gender, and class on the small screen.
• Through readings in Critical Race Theory, Feminist theory, and Marxist theory, you will build a toolbox that allows them to analyze the medium of television and televisual representations in interesting and novel ways.
• Be able to complicate traditional ideas about which televisual objects are worthy of study.
• Hone their analytical writing skills through collaborative and creative projects.
• Be able to identify the arguments of key theorists in television and media studies, as well as understand key industrial differences between network and internet-distributed television.

You will leave the course with the tools to think critically about what they watch in the future, as well as the background knowledge and skills necessary for further study of film, television, and digital media.


This course is open to all students.


Two Sections Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: June 27, 2022 - July 22, 2022
Duration: 4 Weeks
Meeting Times: Online - Mostly Asynchronous
Status: Closed
Format: Online
Instructor(s): Katherine Contess
Course Number: 10223

Dates: July 11, 2022 - July 22, 2022
Duration: 2 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 12:15P-3:05P
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): Katherine Contess
Course Number: 10075