Academic Year 2022/2023 - Teacher: Salvatore MARANO

Expected Learning Outcomes

As per the Dublin descriptors, students, at the end of the course, will demonstrate:

Knowledge (contents)

Cultural and TV/Media Studies in the UK and US (1960-to date). TV series and US popular culture.

Know-How (skills)

Critical reading of the representation of popular culture in the US (Case study: a successful 1970s TV series and its replica between the 1980s and the beginnig of the xxi century.

Learning to learn

Ability to learn while attending the course and actively studying; overall ability to communicate contents and acquired skills with clarity and autonomy of judgment.

Course Structure

Traditional classes and class discussion of the assignements

Required Prerequisites

English B1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Attendance of Lessons


Detailed Course Content

Module A “Introducing Cultural Studies

Introduction to Cultural Studies in the UK and the US. Focus on: sociology; ethnic studies, material history, gender studies.

Module B “America discovers Columbo

Media and TV Studies. The representation of the 70s in Columbo, by R. Levinson and W. Link (seasons 1-7) and the further development of the character (seasons 8-12).

Textbook Information

Module A

1) The Cultural Studies Reader (3rd ed.), ed. S. During, London and New York: Routledge, 2007. È obbligatorio lo studio di:

S. During, “Introduction” (pp. 1-30); S. Hall, “Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies” (pp. 33-44); R. Barthes, “From Work to Text” (pp. 81-87); B. Anderson, “Imagined Communities” (pp. 253-263); J. Butler, “Subversive Bodily Acts” (pp. 371-382); Th. Adorno, M. Horkheimer, “The Culture Industry: Enlightment as Mass Deception” (pp. 405-415); S. Hall, “Encoding, Decoding” (pp. 477-487).

2) S. Streeby, “Popular, Mass, and High Culture”, in A Concise Companion to American Studies, ed. J. C. Rowe, Malden (MA): Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, pp. 432-452 [*]

3) One essay, in its original edition or in translation:

R. Hoggart, The Uses of Literacy, London, Chatto & Windus, 1957; B. Rosenberg, D. M. White (eds), Mass Culture: The Popular Arts in America, Glencoe, The Free Press, 1957; E. Morin, L’Esprit du temps, Paris, Éditions Grasset & Frasquelle, 1962; R. Williams. Culture and Society, New York: Columbia University Press, 1963; M. McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, New York, McGraw-Hill, 1964; J. G. Cawelti, Adventure, Mystery and Romance: Formula Stories As Art and Popular Culture, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976; L.A. Fiedler, Freaks: Myths and Images of the Secret Self, London, Simon and Schuster, 1978; H. White, Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism, Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press, 1978; C. Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism, New York, Norton, 1979; M. Foucault, Histoire de la sexualité. 1: La volonté de savoir, Paris Gallimard, 1976; id., Histoire de la sexualité. 2: L’usage des plaisirs, Paris, Gallimard, 1984; id., Histoire de la sexualité. 3: Le souci de soi, Paris, Gallimard, 1984; P. Bourdieu. Ce que parler veut dire: l’économie des échanges linguistiques, Paris, Fayard, 1982; A. Khatibi, Amour Bilingue, Montpellier, Fata Morgana, 1983; G.C. Spivak, In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics, New York, Methuen,1987; H.L. Gates jr., The Signifying Monkey. A Theory of African American Literary Criticism, New York, Oxford University Press, 1988; E.S. Herman, N. Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, New York, Pantheon, 1988; J. Fiske, Understanding Popular Culture, London, Unwin Hyman, 1989; A. Easthope, Literary into Cultural Studies, New York and London, Routledge, 1991; J. Guimond, American Photography and the American Dream, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991; N. Postman. Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, New York, Vintage Books, 1992; M. de Certeau, La culture au pluriel, Paris, Seuils, 1993; E. Said. Culture and Imperialism, London, Chatto & Windus, 1993; H.K. Bhabha. The Location of Culture, New York and London, Routledge, 1994; b. hooks, Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representation, New York and London, Routledge, 1994; James G. Carrier (ed.), Occidentalism. Images of the West, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1995; J. Dean, Publicity’s Secret: How Technoculture Capitalizes on Democracy, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 2002; J.P. Russo, The Future without a Past: The Humanities in a Technological Society, Columbia, University of Missouri Press, 2005; D. R. Bach, The American Counterculture. A History of Hippies and Cultural Dissidents, Lawrence, University Press of Kansas, 2020; M. Garber, Character. The History of a Cultural Obsession, New York, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2020.

Module B

1) T. Miller, Television Studies. The Basics, London and New York, Routledge, 2010.

2) B. Baley, D. Farber (eds.), America in the Seventies, Lawrence, University Press of Kansas, 2004. È obbligatorio lo studio di:

B. Bailey, E. Farmer, “Introduction” (pp. 1-8); E. Porter, “Affirming and Disaffirming Actions. Remaking Race in the 1970s” (pp. 50-74); B. Bailey, “‘She Can Bring Home the Bacon’. Negotiating Gender in the 1970s” (pp. 107-128); T. Moy, “Culture, Technology, and the Cult of Tech in the 1970s” (pp.208-228). [*]

3) M. M. Brundsdale, “Columbo: The Disheveled Detective”, in Icons of Mystery and Crime and Detection: From Sleuth to Superhero. Vol. 1, Santa Barbara (Cal.), Greenwood Icons, 2010 (pp. 199-228). [*]

4) Four episodes, for choice, from Columbo (two from seasons 1-7, two from seasons 8-12).

[*] The texts marked by the star will be available in .pdf, according to the dispositions concerning their fair use.

Briefing Note on Copyright

Please remember that in compliance with art 171 L22.04.1941, n. 633 and its amendments, it is illegal to copy entire books or journals, only 15% of their content can be copied. For further information on sanctions and regulations concerning photocopying please refer to the regulations on copyright (Linee Guida sulla Gestione dei Diritti d’Autore) provided by AIDRO - Associazione Italiana per i Diritti di Riproduzione delle opere dell’ingegno (the Italian Association on Copyright). All the books listed in the programs, when not in the Library, will be made available online.

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1Introducing Cultural StudiesDuring
2Cultural Studies in EuropeDuring
3Cultural Studies in the USDuring
4Gender StudiesDuring
5Ethnic StudiesDuring
6Media and TV StudiesMiller
7The US in the SeventiesBaley & Farber
8Television and Media StudiesMiller,
9Case Study: Lt Columbo Seasons 1-7Brundsdale
10Case Study: Lt Columbo Seasons 8-12Brundsdale

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures


The following are evaluated, in order of importance: (a) skills (know-how); (b) knowledge of North American literature in English (knowledge) (c) presentation (d) individual programs.

Entry (a) refers to logical coherence, to the ability to produce back-up evidence, and to the  ability of recognition, use and mastery of Cultural Studies methodology, with special attention to Media and TV Studies; entry (b) refers to the contents of the mandatory readings and their correct contextualization; entry (c) refers to analytical and synthetic skills in communication; linguistic cohesion; the adequacy of the stylistic registers; richness and lexical appropriateness; entry (d) refers to the criteria of the individual study program.

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

There follows a list of possible topics on which to reflect and discuss in the oral exam. Of course, the list is just an example:

1) What are Cultural Studies

2) What Are Television Studies

3) Discuss US in the 70s

4) Provide a Cultural Reading of episode X from TV Series Y