D-Z Courses

East Asian Languages and Civilizations

  • EALC-069-201: Japanese Pop Culture
  • Today, Japanese manga, anime, J-pop, and film have a global audience. But these exports can only be truly understood in light of longstanding domestic anxieties about sex, violence, gender, and "the kids these days." More recent concerns about the country's declining birthrate, weakening geopolitical position, and vulnerability to natural and anthropogenic disaster also deeply influence Japanese media products. This course explores some of these anxieties through critical examinations of manga, anime, video games, television, music, and fashion in Japan. Film screenings include work by directors Kon Satoshi, Otomo Katsuhiro, Takahata Isao, Miyazaki Hayao; Itami Juzo, and Takita Yojiro; manga excerpts include work by Tezuka Osamu, Urasawa Naoki, and Yazawa Ai. Secondary readings include scholarship in anthropology, history, sociology, literature, film studies and religious studies.


  • ENGL-001-401; COML-001-401: Approaches to Genres: Poetry Out Loud
  • Usually housed in the Program for Comparative Literature, this seminar engages questions of literary genre, including its function as a mediating presence for thinking about audience, literary history, and the marketplace. The theme of the seminar will change with the instructor. Customarily this course will be affiliated with Communication within the Curriculum (CWIC), and so will have a speaking and presentation component to it.
  • ENGL-159-301: Writing About the Presidential Election
  • A primer on writing about U.S. politics, in an era of major technological upheaval and serious voter polarization. Today's 24/7, wi-fi'd, blogging environment-along with the rise of new conservative media are changing the ways that writers cover politics and deliver the information.

Fine Arts

  • FNAR-074-401: A Virus in the Culture: Social Critique in Media Arts
  • In order to change the world, we must first learn how to infect it. A Virus in the Culture is a studio class that examines and generates various forms of media resistance to dominant hegemonic systems of power and control. Using filmmaking, publication design and interactive media we'll think through and develop responses to some of the most pressing issues facing us today. We'll look at historical models from the agitprop design work of Gee Vaucher for Anarcho-punk band Crass to Chris Marker's film Le Fond de L'Air Est Rouge, a radical analysis of global social and political turmoil in the late 60s and early 70s. We'll also look at experimental contemporary design firms like Metahaven who question the role of designers and filmmakers today - Bypassing the power dynamics of clients and briefs they took it upon themselves to create a graphic identity for WikiLeaks. Each example broadens the definition and possibilities of practice to create a more porous engagement with audiences and users while informing the practice of social critique today. Considering a diverse range of topics from education policy, to the rights of environmental refugees, we'll use the class to workshop a singular comprehensive project that targets researches and responds to a specific contested position. The outcome of which will be a class produced short film, publication and website that unpacks the social, cultural, and economic complexities of our subject. This class is co-taught by David Hartt, an artist and filmmaker along with graphic designer, Mark Owens. Reading, screenings, discussions and critiques make up the curriculum along with studio time. While the focus of this course is not technical, prior knowledge of design programs, camera functions, and post-production techniques is expected.
  • FNAR-264-401: Art, Design, and Digital Culture
  • This course is an introduction to the fundamental perception, representation, aesthetics, and design that shape today's visual culture. It addresses the way artists and designers create images; design with analog and digital tools; communicate, exchange, and express meaning over broad range of media; and find their voices within the fabric of contemporary art, design, and visual culture. Emphasis is placed on building an extended form of visual literacy by studying and making images using a variety of representation techniques; learning to organize and structure two-dimensional and three-dimensional space, and designing with time-based and procedural media. Students learn to develop an individual style of idea-generation, experimentation, iteration, and critique as part of their creative and critical responses to visual culture.

Folklore and Folklife

  • FOLK-201-601; ANTH-205-601: American Folklore
  • This course will examine American expressive culture, including everyday speech, narrative, music, foodways, religion, public celebrations, and material culture through an exploration of the multiple and changing avenues of diversity in the United States. Folklore can be considered the unofficial culture that exists beneath and between the institutions of power that we read about in our history books, and that is what we will be studying--the 99% of American life that goes unseen and unnoticed in other college courses. Some of the topics we will examine are: campus folklore; body art and adornment; contemporary (urban) legends and beliefs; public celebrations and rituals; and the adaptation and commodification of folk culture in popular media.
  • FOLK-270-601; GSWS-270-601: Folklore & Sexuality
  • Sexuality is usually thought of as being biological or social, divided into categories of natural and unnatural. Often misssed are its creative and communicative aspects. Examining the constructed social elements of sexuality requires attention be paid to folklore in groups, between individuals and on the larger platform of popular technological media. The most interesting locations for exploration are those places where borderlands or margins, occur between genders, orientations and other cultural categories. A field-based paper will be required that must include documentary research.

Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

  • GSWS-040-401; URBS-050-401: Womanism and Identity Politics in the Realm of Hip-Hop
  • This course centers on the intersections of womanism, woman of color identity development, and agency within hip-hop culture. We will touch on several topics that uncover the condition of minoritized women in hip-hop media, including creating/owning space, lyrical assault, defining womanhood, sexuality, and fetishes. In exploring music, literature, advertisements, film, and television, we will discuss the ways women of color construct understandings of self, while navigating and reimagining reality within hip-hop contexts.


  • HIST-165-401; CINE-167-401: Hollywood & American History
  • This course examines crucial events in American history, from the Puritans to the present, through the lens of Hollywood film and other media. We will consider how these visual representations have influenced our present understanding of key matters such as the Constitution, presidential politics, Protestant religion, racial tensions, and war-making. Material to be viewed includes The Patriot, Gettysburg, Gold Diggers of 1933, The Best Years of Our Lives, West Side Story, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?


  • MKTG-270-401: Digital Marketing, Social Media, and E-Commerce
  • MKTG 270 explores the digital marketing environment from both a consumer and business perspective. The course provides an overview of various online business models and delves into digital advertising and social media marketing techniques and technologies. A mixture of case studies, guest speakers and assignments, including one that uses real advertising data, translates theory into practice. It is recommended that students enrolling in the course be comfortable using Excel and are knowledgeable in applying regression analysis techniques. Students who would prefer a less technical course may wish to take MKTG 227, Digital Marketing and Electronic Commerce, a half cu course offered by the department.

Political Science

  • PSCI-320-401; URBS-320-401: Who Gets Elected & Why: The Science of Politics
  • What does it take to get elected to office? What are the key elements of a successful political campaign? What are the crucial issues guiding campaigns and elections in the U.S. at the beginning of the 21st century? This class will address the process and results of electoral politics at the local, state,and federal levels. Course participants will study the stages and strategies of running for public office and will discuss the various influences on getting elected, including: Campaign finance and fundraising, demographics, polling, the media, staffing, economics, and party organization.Each week we will be joined by guest speakers who are nationally recognized professionals, with expertise in different areas of the campaign and election process. Students will also analyze campaign case studies and the career of the instructor himself. Edward G. Rendell is the former Mayor of Philadelphia, former Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and former Governor of Pennsylvania.


  • SOCI-137-601: Sociology of Media & Pop Culture
  • This course relies on a variety of sociological perspectives to examine the role of media and popular culture in society, with a particular emphasis on the power of the mass media industry, the relationship between cultural consumption and status, and the social organization of leisure activities from sports to shopping. Specific course topics include the branding of Starbucks, the rising importance of aesthetics and style in everyday life, and how young people use social media in the digital age.


  • WRIT-011-303: Writing Seminar in Global English: Ethics of Social Media
  • WRIT-016-301