COMM 372

Contemporary Media Culture: Deconstructing Disney

The course focuses on critical understanding and evaluation of Disney as a constitutive element of contemporary culture both in the United States and globally. Through analysis of Disney animated films, Disney corporate reach and marketing, and Disney theme parks ("Where dreams come true") students engage questions highlighted by Henry Giroux about Disney, "such as what role [Disney] plays in (1) shaping public memory, national identity, gender roles, and childhood values; (2) suggesting who and what qualifies as an agent; and (3) determining the role of consumerism in American Culture around the globe" (The Mouse that Roared, p. 10, 2010). The course draws heavily on literature and theory from rhetorical criticism, media criticism, and cultural studies to engage the textual productions of Disney, Disney's historical location in U.S. culture, Disney's corporate structure and self-presentation, and its experiential vacation through theme parks, resorts, and vacation clubs. Disney broadly, and its theme parks specifically, offers highly orchestrated and managed immersive entertainment spaces. A clearer understanding of Disney cultural reach allows the course to enter discussions about citizenship, identity production including race, gender, ethnicity, and nationalism, labor and capital flow, ideology and interpellation, cultural appropriation and homogenization, consumerism and commodification, hyperreality, narrative, and resistance. Satisfies the Knowledge, Identity, and Power graduation requirement. Prerequisite: COMM 240.

Prerequisites: COMM 240 or permission of instructor.