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120691 PS Proseminar Cultural and Media Studies (2020W)

#fame: The Cultural Politics of Contemporary American Celebrity Cultures

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").


max. 20 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, this class will be held ONLINE. It will mainly follow a synchronous setup (e.g. via Moodle-supported live-conferencing applications) each week at the scheduled time of class. In order to be able to actively participate in class, it is necessary for you to have functioning speakers and a microphone (ideally a headset). A camera is not required but ideal. If synchronous online participation does not work at all for you, please get in touch with me ahead of registering and so we can see how you can participate otherwise.
More details will be given in the first session. If you have any specific questions ahead of signing up, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me (eva.schoergenhuber@univie.ac.at).

Donnerstag 08.10. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Donnerstag 15.10. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Donnerstag 22.10. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Donnerstag 29.10. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Donnerstag 05.11. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Donnerstag 12.11. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Donnerstag 19.11. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Donnerstag 26.11. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Donnerstag 03.12. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Donnerstag 10.12. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Donnerstag 17.12. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Donnerstag 07.01. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Donnerstag 14.01. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Donnerstag 21.01. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Donnerstag 28.01. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

On March 30, 2020, The New York Times published an article by Amanda Hess titled "Celebrity Culture is Burning." In it, Hess explores the intersections between celebrities and the Covid-19 pandemic and foregrounds the every-present and now extremely highlighted class-disparities between stars and their audiences. However, the author also acknowledges the often welcomed distractions caused by the consumption of celebrities’ online content during such times of despair. What this goes to show is that celebrities embody manifold functions and are therefore a significant part of society.

In this class, we will explore how contemporary American celebrity cultures are produced, distributed and consumed by looking at a plethora of cultural texts from different media contexts. Among other things, we will theorize fame and celebrity, discuss the function of the celebrity body, trace the beginnings of celebrity culture in the United States, look at the role of scandals and gossip for the construction of star images and explore the economy and production of celebrity personas. To better illustrate all these aspects, we will analyze individual case studies of fictional and non-fictional star texts in each session, ranging from more traditional celebrities like Britney Spears to online personalities such as Jenna Marbles. The focus of this class will especially be on the current cultural cultural moment in the United States and we will ultimately seek to answer how celebrity texts are shaped by cultural politics - and in turn how they shape cultural politics just as much.

At the end of this course, students will be able to critically analyze contemporary celebrity texts in American popular culture with methods such as visual and discourse analysis and close reading. Students will also have gained a theoretical understanding of celebrity and fame in its cultural context through secondary readings from the field of celebrity studies, media studies and American studies.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

The assessment will be based on in-class and preparatory participation, an expert group session, a research proposal and a proseminar paper.

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

In-class and preparatory participation (e.g. active in-class participation, forum posts, peer review task): 15%
Expert group session: 20%
Research proposal (700 words +/-10%) with annotated bibliography: 15%
Proseminar paper (3500 words +/-10%, word count excluding bibliography): 50%
Overall Score of 100%, pass-mark 60%

1: 100-90%
2: 89-80%
3: 79-70%
4: 69-60%
5: 59-0%

In order to pass, you need to fulfill each individual requirement and complete tasks on time. Late submissions cannot be accepted. You can miss two classes.
The plagiarism detection software Turnitin will be used on most written assignments (research proposal, proseminar paper).


Everything that was covered in class (primary and secondary readings). For some tasks you will have to do additional research.
There will be no written exam.


You will have to watch the movie A Star is Born (2018) and do weekly celebrity researches.
All readings will be made available on Moodle.

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

Studium: BA 612;
Code/Modul: BA09.1;
Lehrinhalt: 12-4040

Letzte Änderung: Mo 05.10.2020 10:09