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Research Leave

posted Apr 8, 2016, 5:24 AM by Mack Hagood

I'm on research leave for Spring 2016 but I'll be back in the Fall, when I'll be teaching a class on Sound and Media (CMS 350) and Intro to Comparative Media Studies (CMS 201). 

Sound, Media, and Everyday Life--Spring 2015

posted Mar 15, 2015, 11:53 AM by Mack Hagood   [ updated Mar 15, 2015, 11:55 AM ]

In this seminar, students will explore the human experience of sound in our mediated age. We take three fundamental premises as our starting point: 1) Sound is an important aspect of our environment; 2) hearing and listening are physiological, but also profoundly influenced by culture; and 3) the use of technology exploits sound (including music and voices) as a material that can be reshaped, preserved, compared, bought, and sold. We hear the combination of these three factors in our everyday lives—our constantly evolving ways of sounding, listening, “musicking,” and interacting with our soundscape.

Learning Outcomes

Use critical approaches in sound studies from media studies; ethnomusicology; acoustic ecology; cultural studies; philosophy; and science, technology, and society (STS).

Identify a meaningful research question, use appropriate methods to generate qualitative data, and use these data to provide preliminary answers to the question.

Analyze sound and media in everyday life through writing and audio production, including documentary and/or sound art. 

CMS 201H--Intro to Comparative Media Studies (Honors)--Spring 2015

posted Mar 15, 2015, 11:49 AM by Mack Hagood

It’s become something of a cliché to say that media have changed the world. Most middle-class Americans spend much of their days interacting with sights, sounds, and feelings of electronic media, as they text, email, word process, surf the web, play games, watch TV and online video, listen to radio and podcasts, follow the directions of their GPS device, and so on. Indeed, some media theorists go so far as to say we no longer use media, but rather live inside media—in other words, our daily life is so pervasively mediated that it no longer makes sense to talk about life outside of media. Is this really the case? If so, is this a good or bad thing? Questions such as these feel important to many of us as we experience rapid changes in our everyday mediascapes and media practices.

In this class we will tackle such questions head on. What is the meaning and import of changing media technologies and practices? Is evolving technological complexity the same as progress? Are we truly experiencing a new media era with new hopes and anxieties—or have such changes and feelings been around for hundreds or even thousands of years? Who/what is the primary agent of change? The inventor? The media producer? The user? The technology itself? How do our media practices change us as individuals and as society? Does more mediation mean less authenticity? Through media, are we becoming more independent or more dependent? Connected or alienated? Omniscient or merely distracted?

Obviously, we won’t come to conclusive answers on all of these questions. However, we will learn media theory and put theory to work as we experiment with media devices and observe our peers’ everyday media use. By putting critical media theory into practice, you will be able to make more educated and sophisticated assessments of media’s roles in everyday life. This critical stance on media will help you make more informed choices in your life going forward.

Method: Comparative Ethnography 

In this class you will use ethnographic methods to observe and analyze media use on and around the Miami campus. “Ethnography” literally means “writing about people.” It involves interviewing people, observing their normal activities, and even participating in those activities when appropriate. Ethnography allows us to test the writings of media theorists against our own local culture and experiences “in the field.” And conversely, the theories we read will help us experience everyday life in Oxford with fresh eyes and ears as we do our fieldwork. This interaction between critical media theory and everyday life through ethnography is what our class is all about!

As the title of this class suggests, comparison will be central to our analyses. Comparison is a fundamental mode of analysis—we are constantly comparing things to make judgments, whether we realize it or not. As mentioned above, we will be comparing the ideas we read to the experiences we have in the field. Moreover, we will deploy three important modes of comparison to better understand the roles of media in the everyday: historical comparison, cultural comparison, and comparisons between media technologies.

The semester will culminate in your Media Ethnography Project (MEP), in which you will examine a question you have about local media practices. Some examples: What are the roles of video games or a favorite TV show in your circle of friends? How does social media use affect interpersonal relations in your sorority? How do your friends use texting to initiate, maintain, or end romantic relationships? Do people in your dorm have strategies and techniques for regulating or limiting their own media use when it’s time to get things done? What are the unwritten rules about cell phone use in social settings? How do students discipline one another for breaking unwritten rules about decorum on social media? Why is fan fiction or MMORPGs so important to your friend? Do your friends of different genders, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, or social groups seem to use particular media differently from one another?

Media Lab 

This is a 4-hour class in which you will learn by doing—that is, we will learn about media by using media and reflecting upon our media practices. Through the use of digital applications and audio and video production you will analyze your data and present your findings in ways that go beyond the written word. At semester’s end you will present your MEP with an audio-visual production of your choosing. But don’t worry—you don’t need advanced media production skills to do well in this class.

COM 212--Media, Representation, and Society--Fall 2014

posted Aug 8, 2014, 6:39 AM by Mack Hagood

We live in a thoroughly mediated society.  Through representation, media profoundly influence how we think about our selves, others, and the world around us. Because the media are such an integral part of our daily lives, it’s easy to assume that we are all experts. Yet being highly experienced media consumers doesn’t give us the analytical tools or perspectives required to engage with media representations critically. Such critical engagement is vital if we are to have a more sophisticated understanding of our social world.  This class will give you some of those tools. 

CMS 201--Introduction to Comparative Media Studies--Spring 2014

posted Jan 23, 2014, 5:36 PM by Mack Hagood

Class Meetings: Wed/Fri 1:00-2:50, Williams-Radio & TV 123. It’s become something of a cliché to say that media have changed the world. Most middle-class Americans spend much of their days interacting with sights, sounds, and feelings of electronic media, as they text, email, word process, surf the web, play games, watch TV and online video, listen to radio and podcasts, follow the directions of their GPS device, and so on. Indeed, some media theorists go so far as to say we no longer use media, but rather live inside media—in other words, our daily life is so pervasively mediated that it no longer makes sense to talk about life outside of media. Is this really the case? If so, is this a good or bad thing? Questions such as these feel important to many of us as we experience rapid changes in our everyday mediascapes and media practices.

In this class we will tackle such questions head on. What is the meaning and import of changing media technologies and practices? Is evolving technological complexity the same as progress? Are we truly experiencing a new media era with new hopes and anxieties—or have such changes and feelings been around for hundreds or even thousands of years? Who/what is the primary agent of change? The inventor? The media producer? The user? The technology itself? How do our media practices change us as individuals and as society? Does more mediation mean less authenticity? Through media, are we becoming more independent or more dependent? Connected or alienated? Omniscient or merely distracted?

Obviously, we won’t come to conclusive answers on all of these questions. However, we will learn media theory and put theory to work as we experiment with media devices and observe our peers’ everyday media use. By putting critical media theory into practice, you will be able to make more educated and sophisticated assessments of media’s roles in everyday life. This critical stance on media will help you make more informed choices in your life going forward.

Method: Comparative Ethnography 

In this class you will use ethnographic methods to observe and analyze media use on and around the Miami campus. “Ethnography” literally means “writing about people.” It involves interviewing people, observing their normal activities, and even participating in those activities when appropriate. Ethnography allows us to test the writings of media theorists against our own local culture and experiences “in the field.” And conversely, the theories we read will help us experience everyday life in Oxford with fresh eyes and ears as we do our fieldwork. This interaction between critical media theory and everyday life through ethnography is what our class is all about!

As the title of this class suggests, comparison will be central to our analyses. Comparison is a fundamental mode of analysis—we are constantly comparing things to make judgments, whether we realize it or not. As mentioned above, we will be comparing the ideas we read to the experiences we have in the field. Moreover, we will deploy three important modes of comparison to better understand the roles of media in the everyday: historical comparison, cultural comparison, and comparisons between media technologies.

The semester will culminate in your Media Ethnography Project (MEP), in which you will examine a question you have about local media practices. Some examples: What are the roles of video games or a favorite TV show in your circle of friends? How does social media use affect interpersonal relations in your sorority? How do your friends use texting to initiate, maintain, or end romantic relationships? Do people in your dorm have strategies and techniques for regulating or limiting their own media use when it’s time to get things done? What are the unwritten rules about cell phone use in social settings? How do students discipline one another for breaking unwritten rules about decorum on social media? Why is fan fiction or MMORPGs so important to your friend? Do your friends of different genders, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, or social groups seem to use particular media differently from one another?

Media Lab 

This is a 4-hour class in which you will learn by doing—that is, we will learn about media by using media and reflecting upon our media practices. Through the use of the class wiki, audio and video production, PowerPoint, Prezi, Twitter, Storify, and Meograph, you will analyze your data and present your findings in ways that go beyond the written word. At semester’s end you will present your MEP with an audio-visual production of your choosing. But don’t worry—you don’t need advanced media production skills to do well in this class.

COM 212— Media, Representation, and Society— Spring 2014

posted Jan 23, 2014, 5:32 PM by Mack Hagood

Class Meetings: Wed/Fri 10-11:20 am, Williams-Radio & TV 160. We live in a thoroughly mediated society.  The Internet, television, newspapers, magazines, film, and radio shape our culture and politics. Through representation, these media profoundly influence how we think about our selves, others, and the world around us. Because the media are such an integral part of our daily lives, it’s easy to assume that we are all experts. Yet being highly experienced media consumers doesn’t give us the analytical tools or perspectives required to engage with media representations critically. Such critical engagement is vital if we are to have a more sophisticated understanding of our social world.  This class will give you some of those tools. 

Like school on a Sunday...

posted Jun 18, 2012, 10:14 AM by Mack Hagood

That's right, I've got no class. As I diligently pound out the pages of my dissertation, I am not teaching this semester--rather I am acting as Research Assistant for my advisor and Senior Researcher at the Social Media Collective, Microsoft Research New England, Mary Gray. I'm grateful for the six semesters I got to interact with students at Indiana University and I look forward to my next teaching gig... wherever that may be!

C121 Public Speaking

posted Aug 22, 2011, 8:25 AM by Mack Hagood

This fall I am excited to be teaching public speaking for the first time at IU. I'll be sharing acting tips and techniques I learned while getting my B.A. in Drama and Speech. Just like acting, public speaking is about creating an effective persona and connecting with your audience. We'll also learn how to use mindfulness meditation to instill calm and confidence.

Here's the course description:

C121 at Indiana University is a contemporary course in the art of rhetoric. What is rhetoric? Gerard A. Hauser (University of Colorado) is as follows: 

"Rhetoric is an instrumental use of language. One person engages another person in an exchange of symbols to accomplish some goal. It is not communication for communication's sake. Rhetoric is communication that attempts to coordinate social action. For this reason, rhetorical communication is explicitly pragmatic. Its goal is to influence human choices on specific matters that require immediate attention."

C121 works from this view of rhetoric as communication directed toward social action. In this course, you will learn how to recognize situations in which your rhetorical action (e.g., speaking, writing) can contribute to the well being of a community. 

Each assignment in C121 is an opportunity to bring an audience together not just physically, but psychologically and emotionally through your use of language, delivery, research, and many other speaking resources. Moreover, you’ll then be able to help your audience understand events or issues and motivate them to help resolve current social problems.

Wherever your future path leads, you’ll find public speaking is an indispensable resource.

C385 Audio Production as Service: Sounds and Stories in the Path of I-69

posted Apr 29, 2011, 9:51 AM by Mack Hagood   [ updated Apr 29, 2011, 1:47 PM ]

2011 Summer Session I: M, T, R 3:00-5:00 p.m.

 

In this service learning class, we will use audio production to document and evaluate coming changes to the Southern Indiana soundscape. Breaking into small teams, students will interview rural residents and record human and natural sounds in the pathway of the controversial new Interstate 69 extension. Though there will be readings, we will mostly learn through doing—practicing ethnographic and audio production methods while serving the community. The stories and soundscapes we record will be edited for an audio documentary broadcast on community radio station WFHB. We will also archive and share our recordings, photos, and fieldnotes through Traditional Arts Indiana.

What is a soundscape? Over the past decade an increasing number of artists, musicians, and scholars have turned an ear to the sonic dimension of everyday life and lived space.  Focusing on the “soundscape” means paying close attention to the natural, mechanical, and mediated sounds that help shape our lives. It also means critically examining—and even intervening in—human activities that alter the aural world. The sounds of I-69 will radically alter the soundscape and aural experience of local people. As scholars, we will theorize the nature of these changes. As community activists, we will draw attention to the soundscape as a threatened aspect of the environment.  

What will we be doing in class? We will read materials on three topics: 1) soundscapes and human experience of sound, 2) ethnographic research methods, and 3) audio production techniques. Skills learned in class will include audio recording, sound editing, and ethnographic interviews, transcription, and analysis. Visiting lecturers will include local activists, folklorists, and audio producers. Students will spend much of their time “in the field,” doing interviews, taking photos, and making field recordings. You will compile an ethnographic portfolio, archive your data, and write a five-to-seven page paper discussing your work.

Is this class for me? Students with interests in sound, ethnography, media production, journalism, and/or environmental issues will particularly enjoy this class. It is recommended (but not required) to have prior experience in at least one of two areas: ethnography (C122 or a class in folklore, cultural anthropology, or ethnomusicology) or production (audio, video, or journalism). 

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