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124264 KO Critical Media Analysis (2021W)

'When They See Us'- streaming and cultural politics beyond Netflix and chill

6.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 26 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Wednesday 06.10. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Wednesday 13.10. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Wednesday 20.10. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Wednesday 27.10. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Wednesday 03.11. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Wednesday 10.11. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Wednesday 17.11. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Wednesday 24.11. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Wednesday 01.12. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Wednesday 15.12. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Wednesday 12.01. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Wednesday 19.01. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital
Wednesday 26.01. 10:15 - 11:45 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

In this class we will thoroughly analyse Ava DuVernay’s ”When They See Us” (2019), developed for Netflix, in order to explore the many ways media, power and visibility are entangled. Changing the conversation from „The Central Park 5“ to the „Exonerated 5“, the Netflix limited series powerfully retells the story of the 1989 New York Central Park ‘jogger case’ from the perspective of the 5 black and Latino teenagers who were wrongfully incarcerated for a rape they never committed.
We will address how the series calls out biased media coverage, harmful stereotypes and institutional racism through storytelling and its careful representations of the intersections of race, class, and gender back in the 1980s, as much as we will consider the media landscape today. More generally, we will interrogate the reputation of Netflix as a global streaming provider championing inclusion and diversity and how the educational and activist motivations driving a series like ‘When They See Us” do or do not complicate ideas linked to streaming like binge-watching, comfort TV and a profit-driven entertainment industry.
The series is a rich example for analysis, because it artistically employs televisual, cinematic and social media practices to foreground black experiences, to connect history and the present, and to force us to reflect on our own privileges.

Students will be equipped with a number of analytical skills to train critical media literacy in terms of tools for ‚close reading’ the series, but also in gaining a better understanding and conceptual repertoire of how to approach the wider cultural and (anti)racist context and politics of the series informed by cultural studies, media studies and critical race theory.

Students are required to have access to Netflix and watch the series at their own pace.
Trigger warning: the series has been described hard to watch, especially for people traumatized by police violence and institutional racism

Assessment and permitted materials

Part 1 (36 credits) participation: continuous preparation for class via moodle, in-class discussions, in-class presentation, feedback
Part 2 (24 credits) midterm reading cards: hand in 3 digitally annotated readings
Part 3 (40 credits) final essay (take home and open book) - based on readings and presentations

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Students must pass with more than 50% in every part and overall, (extra-credits possible in part 1)

89-100 credits: 1
76-88 credits: 2
63-75 credits: 3
50-62 credits: 4
0-49 credits: 5

Examination topics

material covered in class

Reading list

Assigned and recommended readings will be made available on moodle.

Association in the course directory

Studium: BA 612, BEd 046/407
Code/Modul: BA07.3; BEd 08a.2, BEd 08b.1
Lehrinhalt: 12-4260

Last modified: Tu 21.09.2021 12:48