Prompt 1: Pomona's Critical Inquiry course is required of all first-year students, and is designed to be highly interdisciplinary and engaging. Recent class titles include: 'Molecules of the Mind', 'The Economics of Sin', and 'Punk: Poets, Politics and Provocation'. Imagine you were hired to design and teach a Critical Inquiry course. Describe the title of the class, its contents, and why you chose it.
Title of the Seminar: "Television: a Microcosm of the Political Culture and Economy of China"
Much of contemporary entertainment has been confined to small boxes connected to boundless networks of electrical power and invisible waves of energy. These boxes are called the television, a neologism derived from Ancient Greek to mean far-sight. While it is certainly one of the most popular forms of entertainment, television is by no means a shallow subject that has been exhausted of its potential for academic research. Beyond its simple role as an entertainer, the television can also serve as an indicator of a nation's political culture and economy, and even as the ultimate machine of mind control (as a part of the state media seen in totalitarian regimes).
China's President Xi Jinping lately seems to have put an emphasis on the regulation and guidance over arts and culture as he addressed a prominent group of artists last month on the issue of "immoral and incorrect art" and has since started to act on the instruction for establishing "correct viewpoints of history, nationality and culture". In this seminar, we will be looking at television and its politico-economic implications in China, whose entertainment scene has been booming since the "Reform and Opening Up" of the country in the late 1970s.
The seminar will begin with a discussion on a relatively recent official policy of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China, which was to censor the streaming and broadcasting of unapproved foreign television programs by private corporations. This discussion will serve as a starting point for students to examine China's political culture through the small screen, and students will be required to study the duties and historical policies of State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China (SAPPRFT), and how its decisions implicate China's official stance towards arts and culture. Subsequently, students will have the opportunity to view footages from popular Chinese television programs from different eras to have a better understanding of the contemporary Chinese preferences for television. Students are expected to critique and analyze these programs from a cinematographic point of view, and to form their own opinion on Chinese aesthetic standards. Furthermore, students will analyze data regarding television audience viewing rates, television advertisement, and commercial success of samples of Chinese television programs. Lastly, the seminar will conclude in a synthesis with the television entertainment scenes in different countries, each uniquely characteristic of its social and cultural environment.
The purpose of this seminar is to incorporate the study of contemporary popular culture into the broad disciplines of economics, political science, and international relations, ultimately establishing a comprehensive understanding of popular media's effect on political cultural and economy of states and especially in the Chinese society.