MED 501 Medya Kuramı I


MED 501 & MED 502

Media Theory I & II

Course Coordinator: Prof. Halil Nalçaoğlu (Santral E4-114; (212) 311 7716;; office hours: Tue. 14-15 & Thu. 14-15)

Course Title: MED 501 MEDIA THEORY I


This course as a whole (MED 501 & 502) aims to survey major theories of media and mediated communication. It will cover readings from a wide range of approaches from effects reasearch to media ecology, from gender theories to theories of audience and political communication as well as on a wide network of fundamental concepts that can be found underneath such theories. MED 501 and MED 502, however, will have different emphases.

MED 501 is designed as a course in which fundamental conceptual ground for a media theories course will be set. Therefore, in the first semester we are going to deal with a number of major concepts that underlie contemporary communication theories and approaches. Concepts do not stand alone in vacuum. They are integrated into a larger theoretical frame and are designed to solve real problems. In this respect, in the first semester, we will try to locate a number of concepts into a larger set of theories. Also, we will try to understand what real needs and problems do these concepts address. As for the latter goal, we will be “contextualizing” the conceptual frame with concrete cases from Turkey and the world.

The structure of the course comprises a number of “modules” each of which will be taught by different instructors. Each module will be built around a concept and last two to four weeks.

Objectives and Learning Goals:

The main objective of the course is to provide an overview of these theories in order to facilitate an understanding that research, including the “thesis research” requires a solid conceptual backing. By succesfully completing the course (MED 501) the students will be able to

  • have a general grasp of the epistemology of social sciences and major epistemological concepts;
  • understand and correctly use concepts like interaction, signification, identity, representation, medium;
  • locate these concepts (and some others) in the correct theoretical frameworks;
  • write argumentative academic papers with proper academic style;
  • analyse concrete situations by using proper conceptual scheme.

Required (and Supplementary) Texts and Readings:

Please see the weekly modules below.

Grading and Assessment:

Assessment will be done over one term paper and twelve (12) response papers, minumum 1,500 words for term pape excluding bibliography. The students are expected to choose one of the four modules and write their papers either on the discussion questions to be given by the instructor of the module or on a topic (relevant to the theme of the module) of their own choice.

Papers will be written according to MLA style, Times New Roman 12 font, double spaced, with a cover page indicating the course’s name, module theme, the student name, student id number, and module instructor’s name.

Term papers are due by the end of the semester following “tutorial week” (see weekly schedule below). Exact due dates will be announced.

Response Papers:

What is a “Response Paper”? A RP is one page-long reflection on the module’s readings. As its name imply, it should be your “response” to the readings, not a summary of them. The students are not required to respond to all of the readings assigned for the bi-weekly topics but must deal at least with one of them. Anybody who wishes to go beyond that is more than welcome. The important thing is that RPs are oral assignments as much as written. Please bring in the class whatever you have in the name of response and responsibility, so that we have fun.

Calendar and Readings:

Fall Semester 2011

Week Topic and Readings

Week 1

Sept. 27, 2011 Introduction and logistics of the course.

Module I

Interaction: Reflections on the relation between I and Thou by Itır Erhart

This module will start with the basic question “What is language?” and discuss the interdependent relation between language and the outside world. The sociocultural and interactive nature of language will be discussed. It will also expose the students to Wittgenstein’s notions of “language games”, “linguistic turn” and Bakhtin’s notion of “dialogicality”.

Week 2

Oct. 4, 2011

Language Games

Reading: Marie McGinn, Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (1997) Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Wittgenstein and the Philosophical Investigations, 113-134.

Feeling at Home in Language (What Makes Reading “Philosophical Investigations” Possible?) Edward H. Minar

Available at Bilgi Online

(Oct. 5-8 Add/Drop Period)

Week 3

Oct. 11, 2011

I and Thou

Reading: Establishing and Challenging Masculinity: The Influence of Gendered Discourses in Organized Sport, Adi Adams, Eric Anderson and Mark McCormack

Available at Bilgi Online

The Relationship Between Sexist Naming Practices and Athletic Opportunities at

Colleges and Universities in the Southern United States,

Cynthia Fabrizio Pelak

Also available at Bilgi Online

Module II

Signification / Identity-Representation

by Erkan Saka, Selen Ansen, Aydın Uğur, Esra Arsan

This co-module will focus on precarious state of representation and contemporary critical/and alternative approaches to representation and closely related concepts of signification and identity. On the one hand, anthropology will serve as a disciplinary base to discuss and on the other hand “classification” will operate asa case study to work around.

This co-module will focus on the works of representation as discursive practices and try to investigate the relation between discourse, knowledge and power. In this sense, language of the newsmaker(s) will be discussed as a signifying practice. How journalists produce and circulate the meaning of “things” and “ideas”? Does journalistic language reflect a “truth” about the world?

Week 4

Oct. 18, 2011

Erkan Saka Reading: Representations are Social Facts: Modernity and Post-Modernity in Anthropology in Writing Culture. The Poetic and Politics of Ethnography. ed. by James Clifford and George E. Marcus.

Week 5

Oct. 25, 2011

Selen Ansen

“The Body and its Signs: Representing “limit-bodies””

Reading: Didier Anzieu-The Skin-Ego (Yale University Press, London and Newhaven, 1989)

Michael Bakhtin: “The Grotesque Image of the Body in Rabelais and its sources” (Chapter V), in Rabelais and his World.

Roland Barthes: “The World of Wrestling” and “Myth Today” in Mythologies (The Noonday Press, NY, 1991).

Week 6

Nov. 1, 2011

Aydın Uğur

“Cultural Identity”

Reading: Nov. 8, 2011 HOLIDAY (Kurban Bayramı)

Week 7

Nov. 15, 2011

Esra Arsan

Reading: Hall, Stuart (ed)(1997). “Discourse, Power and the Subject”, in Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, pp: 41-58, Sage Publications & Open University Press

Also available at Bilgi Online Domino Lecture

Week 8

Nov. 22, 2011 TBA

Module III

Media Ecologies by Halil Nalçaoğlu & Erkan Saka

The name “media” is conceptually and historically suspect. In daily usage, it generally refers to the means of communication, particularly the means of mass communication. However when we consider the subject with some sophistication, we observe that communication without media (a medium) is not possible. Historically speaking, the “mass” nature of communication has become subject of controversy thanks to the interactive digital technologies. In this module, therefore, we will consider all media as our subject matter, including air, paper, screen. Also all technologies will fall into our area of interest like hand writing, typing, broadcasting, e-mailing, video-ing, etc.

Week 9

Nov. 29, 2011

H. Nalçaoğlu

Reading: Eric A. Havelock, “The Modern Discovery of Orality,” in The Muse Learns to Write: Reflections on Orality and Literacy from Antiquity to the Present, by E. A. Havelock.

Reading: Friedrich Kittler, “The History of Communication Media,” from

Week 10

Dec. 6, 2011

H. Nalçaoğlu

Reading: Friedrich Kittler, “Grammophone, Film, Typewriter,” October Vol. 41 (Summer 1987) 101-118.

Suggested Reading: Friedrich Kittler, “Towards an Ontology of Media,” Theory, Culture & Society Vol. 26 (2-3) 23-31.

(Dec. 3 Withdrawal Deadline)

Week 11

Dec. 13, 2011

Erkan Saka

Reading: Hassan, R. & Thomas, J. “The New Media Theory Reader”, OUP: 2006. Part I

Available at Bilgi Online

Module IV

Mediatization by Esra Ercan Bilgiç

“Mediatization has become more and more a core concept to describe present and historical media and communicative change: If media become part of ‘everything’, we can no longer see them as a separate sphere but must develop an understanding of how the increasing spread of media communication changes our construction of culture and society. In such a perspective, mediatization is used as a concept to describe the long-term process of spreading different technical media and the linked interrelations between media-communicative change and socio-cultural change.”

The above quotation is from the introductory pharagraph of the call for papers for the Workshop of the ECREA TWG “Mediatization”, Goldsmiths, University of London to be held in 30th to 31st March 2012.

This module will focus on ‘mediatization’ as a concept that has been growingly discussed in recent media theory. The main question to be covered is the following: “Does the concept of mediatization help us to understand the relation between media and social change?”

Week 12

Dec. 20, 2011

Reading: Schulz, Winfried. (2004) ‘Reconstructing Mediatization as an Analytical Concept’ in European Journal of Communication, 19(1): 87-101.

Available at Bilgi Online

Reading: Krotz, Friedrich. (2007) “The meta-process of `mediatization’ as a conceptual frame” Global Media and Communication 3 (3): 256-260.

Available at Bilgi Online

Recommended Book: Lundby, Knut (ed.). (2009) Mediatization: Concepts, Changes, Consequences. New York: Peter Lang.


Those students who wish to submit their term paper on this module:

  • should visit the workshop’s site, and write on one of the topics recommended by the organizing commitee.
  • should present their paper on the Interdisciplinary Media Studies Graduate Student Conference to be held on May 2012 and organized by Bilgi University Media and Communication Systems Undergraduate Program.

Week 13

Dec. 27, 2011

Tutorial Week for Term Papers

(end of the term)

January 2-20 Final Examinations

January 24 Announcement of Grades

February 6-11 Academic Registration for Spring Semester

Spring Semester 2012

Course Title: MED 502 MEDIA THEORY II


This course as a whole (MED 501 & 502) aims to survey major theories of media and mediated communication. It will cover readings from a wide range of approaches from effects reasearch to media ecology, from gender theories to theories of audience and political communication as well as on a wide network of fundamental concepts that can be found underneath such theories. MED 501 and MED 502, however, will have different emphases.

Tentative themes and to be covered and instructors:

  • Media and Social Change by Esra Ercan 1
  • Audience by Aslı Tunç 1
  • Convergence Culture by Halil Nalçaoğlu/Erkan Saka 2
  • Digital and Social Media by Erkan Saka/Aslı Tunç 2
  • News Media and Politics by Esra Arsan 2
  • Media Policy and Regulations by Haluk Şahin 2

Bir Yorum Bırak