In this course, students engage with a variety of modes (written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal) to engage in critical thinking, articulate clear communication, and foster rhetorical awareness. Particularly, this course focuses on transnational popular culture mediated within what Henry Jenkins defines as a “convergence culture.” With the contemporary influence of social media and the constant engagement of worldwide fan communities, the lines between corporate and grassroots digital and material production is blurred, resulting in interaction between “the power of the media producer and the power of the consumer.” This includes the definition of community, the creation and dissemination of media, and the constant conversation taking place through social media platforms. The “source material” of this course will range from K-pop to Star Wars.
From hashtags to fan projects and from music videos to reaction videos, this course explores the ways that contemporary popular culture and fandom cross perceived boundaries through digital mediation while also considering the cultural, political, social, and economic issues present in such media convergence. The projects for this course engage each of the various modes that might include, but will not be limited to discussion board posts, Twitter responses, the creation of fan media, and analysis of social media circulation. Through engaging with a diverse range of media not only limited to academic theory, we engage in the transnational convergence culture of media, placing ourselves into conversation with source material while mediating our interactions through various modes of communication. The course employs both lecture and workshop teaching approaches.