Creative Economy



How does culture circulate?

Distributors – from film studios and television networks to search engines and social network sites – are integral but hidden agents in the production and reception of art in media. They connect producers (artists, creators) to consumers, allowing the former to profit from the latter. The rapid expansion of free-market capitalism and digital networking has made the study of distribution more pressing and complex. This course gives students an introduction to key texts in the growing field of “distribution studies” in the radio, television, film and digital media industries. Readings and screenings will explore historical and contemporary debates over how changes in the technologies, practices and regulation of cultural distributors affect art and texts, artists and workers, citizens and audiences across indices of identity, from race, citizenship, class, gender and sexuality.




Theodor Adorno, “On Popular Music”

Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception,” Dialectic of Enlightenment

Elihu Katz and Paul Lazarsfeld, “Images of the Mass Communication Process: I. Between Media and Mass and II. The Part Played By People,” Personal Influence, the Part Played by People in the Flow of Mass Communications

Stuart Hall, “Encoding/Decoding,” The cultural studies reader

Amanda Lotz, “Rethinking Distribution for the Future of Media Industry Studies,” Cinema Journal




Jennifer Fuller, “Branding blackness on US cable television,” Media Culture Society

Herbert Gans, “The Critique of Mass Culture,” Popular Culture and High Culture

Douglas Kellner, “Toward a Critical Theory of Television,” Television and the Crisis of Democracy

Beretta Smith-Shomade, “Eyes Wide Shut: Capitalism, Class and the Promise of Black Media” and “Now that’s Black! BET Business,” Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy: Selling Black Entertainment Television

Janet Staiger, “The Hollywood mode of production, 1930-60,” The Classical Hollywood Cinema : Film Style & Mode of Production to 1960

Optional readings:

Todd Gitlin, “Nothing succeeds like success,” Inside Prime Time

Janet Wasko, “Introduction: Hollywood and the Culture Industry” and “The Way We Were: An Historical Look at Hollywood and Technology,” Hollywood in the Information Age: Beyond the Silver Screen




Susan Douglas, “Inventors as Entrepreneurs: Success and Failure in the Wireless Business, 1906-1912” and “Popular Culture and Populist Technology: The Amateur Operators, 1906-1912,” Inventing American Broadcasting 1899-1922

David Hesmondhalgh, “Post-punk’s attempt to democratize the music industry: the success and failure of Rough Trade,” Popular Music

Peter Lunenfeld, “The Secret War,” The Secret War Between Upload and Downloading

Alisa Perren, “Majors, Indies, Independents: The rise of a three-tier system (Winter 1996—Spring 1997),” Indie, Inc.: Miramax and the Transformation of Hollywood in the 1990s




Aymar Jean Christian, “Indie TV: Innovation in Series Development,” Media Independence: working with freedom or working for free?

Jennifer Holt, “Introduction,” Empires of Entertainment: Media Industries and the Politics of Deregulation

Dan Schiller, “The Neoliberal Networking Drive Originates in the United States,” Digital Capitalism: Networking the Global Market Systems

Fred Turner, “Triumph of the Network Mode,” From Counterculture to cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism

Tim Wu, “The Internet Against Everyone,” The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires




danah boyd, “White Flight in Networked Publics? How Race and Class Shaped American Teen Engagement with MySpace and Facebook,” in Race, Gender & Class: An Anthology

Lisa Nakamura, “Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game: The Racialization of Labor in World of Warcraft,” in Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory

Tavia Nyong’o, “Queer Africa and the Fantasy of Participation,” Women’s Studies Quarterly

Stephanie Schulte, “The ‘WarGames Scenario: Regulating Teenagers and Teenaged Technology,’” Cached: decoding the Internet in global popular culture

Optional readings:

Robin Kelley, “Kickin’ Reality, Kickin’ Ballistics: ‘Gangsta Rap’ and Postindustrial Los Angeles,” Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class

Lisa Nakamura, “Race In/For Cyberspace: Identity Tourism and Racial Passing on the Internet,” in Bell, David J. and Kennedy, Barbara M. The Cybercultures Reader




Teresa Rizzo, “Programming Your Own Channel: An Archaeology of the Playlist,” TV Futures: Digital Television Policy in Australia

Henry Jenkins, “Why Media Spreads,” Spreadable Media: Creating value and meaning in a networked culture

Henry Jenkins, “Rethinking Convergence Culture,” Cultural Studies

Derek Johnson, “Occupying Industries: The Collaborative Labor of Enfranchised Consumers,” Media Franchising: Creative License and Collaboration in the Culture Industries

Michael Serazio, “Crowd-sourced Marketing and the Freedom to Labor,” Your Ad Here: The Cool Sell of Guerilla Marketing

Optional readings:

danah boyd, “Why youth♥ social network sites: The role of networked publics in teenage social life,” The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning,

Henry Jenkins, “What Constitutes Meaningful Participation,” Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture

Chuck Tryon, “The Rise of the Movie Geek: DVD Culture, Cinematic Knowledge, and the Home Viewer,” Reinventing Cinema: Movies in the Age of Media Convergence



Matthew Hindman, “The ‘Googlearchy’: The Link Structure of Political Web Sites”and “Online Concentration,” The Myth of Digital Democracy

Hye Jin Lee and Mark Andrejevic, “Second-screen theory: from the democratic surround to the digital enclosure,” Connected Viewing: selling, streaming & sharing media in the digital era

Anna McCarthy, “The Public Lives of TV,” Ambient Television: Visual Culture and Public Space

Tarleton Gillespie, “The Relevance of Algorithms,” Media Technologies

Fred Turner, “Introduction”and “The Museum of Modern Art Makes the World a Family,” The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties

Optional readings:

Todd Gitlin, “Introduction” and “Supersaturation, or, The Media Torrent and Disposable Feeling,” Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives

Devon Powers, “Bruce Springsteen, Rock Criticism, and the Music Business: Towards a Theory and History of Hype,” Popular Music and Society





Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig De Peuter, “Cognitive Capitalism: Electronic Arts,” Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games

Lisa Henderson, “Introduction” and “Queer Visibility and Social Class,” Love and Money: Queers, Class and Cultural Production

Tim Havens, “Introduction” and “The Cosby Show, Family Themes and the Ascent ofWhite Situation Comedies Abroad in the 1980s,” Black Television Travels: African American Media Around the Globe

Aswin Punathambekar, “Introduction” and “‘It’s All About Knowing Your Audience’: Marketing and Promotions in Bollywood,” From Bombay to Bollywood: The Making of a Global Media Industry




Daren C Brabham, “Crowdsourcing: Concepts, Theories and Cases of Crowdsourcing,” Crowdsourcing

Mark Deuze, Axel Bruns and Christoph Neuberger, “Preparing for an Age of Participatory News,” Journalism Practice

José van Dijck, “Engineering Sociality in a Culture of Connectivity” and “YouTube: The Intimate Connection between Television and Video Sharing,” Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media

P2P Foundation, “Beyond Corporate Open Innovation: Commons-Oriented Peer Production,” Synthetic Overview of the Collaborative Economy

Siva Vaidhyanathan, “Render unto Caesar: How Google Came to Rule the Web,” Googlization of Everything: (and why we should worry)