Course 2014-2015 a.y.



Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31
CLEACC (6 credits - I sem. - OBS  |  L-ART/06)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Course Objectives

"Good night, and good luck".

The course primary objective is to provide students with the basic tools for reading the complex spectrum of television communication, from themes to languages to visual semiotics, and therefore guide their usage as a function towards a precise understanding of the relations which tie up the television product conceived and realized in any form and the historical, social, cultural, economic and political context. The focus is on the television events genre, typically broadcasted live and generally with traumatic effects on the audience, that is able, more than others, to take a precise picture of constitutive parameters, problematic conjunction, practices, moods and contradictions of the reference society. Thanks to its extraordinary capability in recognizing the social temperature of a given historical moment and in returning it to the audience, influencing its perception, the television events genre constitutes one of the most significant joining link between medium, contemporary History and our everyday life.

Course Content Summary

The course, based on a theoretical/critical basis, often connected to cultural studies and frequently supported by screenings of audio-visual media, is divided into two parts.

The first, and shortest one, focuses on the most important genres, languages and styles that distinguish the television universe and have contributed in the course of time to vest the medium with a symbolic function, capable of amplifying reality and directing its perception.

Under the theoretical umbrella of the most important medium scholars, from McLuhan to Beaudrillard, from Kellner to Dayan & Katz, the second part of the course, proportionally more relevant, is about the most significant historical events ever broadcasted: from John Fitzgerald Kennedy assassination in 1963 to the Lady Diana funeral in 1997, from the moonlanding in 1969 to the first visit in Poland by Pope John Paul II in 1979, from the numerous televised wars to the Twin Towers attack in 2001. The exploration in depth of the live broadcasts of these and others events, accompanied by an active exchange between students and lecturer, allows primarily the identification of those elements which make them effective representations of the cultural, economic and political texture of contemporary societies, and subsequently the complete knowledge of all the reasons why, in these cases, it could be correct to define them trauma television.

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

The exam program is different for attending and non attending students. Detailed information about exams and assignments is communicated at the beginning of the course.


The bibliography is communicated at the beginning of the course.

Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)


The course does not require proficiency in communication, mass media or contemporary history, but it does require a genuine interest in all these subjects.

Last change 25/03/2014 15:30