Monday, August 17, 2015

The Importance of Media Studies

Kevin Maher writes in The Times today:
" ... the Joint Council for Qualifications has revealed that the number of pupils taking allegedly tougher, more challenging subjects such as maths has risen this year. Simultaneously, and much to the delight of education snobs everywhere, the numbers taking so-called “flaky” subjects, such as media studies, has fallen.
Well, as someone who boasts a master’s in what must surely be one of the dumbest, flakiest subjects imaginable — film studies (I know, hilarious, isn’t it?) — I take enormous exception to the short-sighted assumptions behind this argument.
Under the guise of “studying film”, I was submerged, reluctantly it must be said (I was a student after all), in Italian social history (to back up the module on Italian neorealist cinema), German political history (for Weimar cinema), Marxist economics (for the term on the Paris riots of May 1968), Lacanian psychoanalysis (the Hitchcock class) and post-structuralist feminist theory (the Doris Day module).

It was ten months of non-stop brain-ache, speed-reading, essay writing, opinion-forming and tub-thumping debate, with a few movies thrown in. As a concentrated mind-expanding educational experience, it was more informative, inspiring and galvanising than anything I had done before or, to be brutally honest, since. "
So I was nodding along with this argument: Italian social history - OK; German political history - OK; Marxist economics - interesting but wrong; Lacanian psychoanalysis - obscure and wrong; post-structuralist feminist theory - opaque and wrong.

So in general you learned a great deal about stuff on a par with astrology, alchemy and theology - rigorous systems of thinking all and the cultural underpinnings of their times.


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