401 Cabell Hall
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400866
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4866
(434) 243-8855 Fax: (434) 243-8869
Overview Media Studies is an interdisciplinary department focused on the forms and effects of media (radio, film, television, photography, print, digital, and electronic media), including the study of aesthetics and form, individual perception, and the history of media (primarily mass-circulation prints, journals, and newspapers, recorded media, communications and broadcast media, film, and electronic modes). Also of concern are the ethics and effects of media in the arena of policy studies, the social impact of media on public opinion, and the relations between media and the law with regard to free speech issues, as well as the commerce and regulation of media in the public sphere. The department is critically engaged with creative analysis, production, and research into traditional and emerging forms of media. The department explores digital media through approaches to its history, theory, and technology, and their impact upon contemporary life.
Media studies considers the transformation of the public sphere and individual imagination through the effects of media upon social practices. It also takes, as a prime topic, the concept of mediation, or the production of social relations, cultural values, and political forces. In doing so, the program provides intellectual tools for understanding the rhetoric and influence of media in their construction of illusion and reality. It draws on methodologies across the humanistic disciplines of sociology, history, critical theory, philosophy, art history and visual studies, the creative arts (video, photography, music, print, film, and digital media), anthropology, technology, political science, computer science, commerce, and law.
Internships and courses in media production provide opportunities for first hand experience in journalism, video, digital arts, business, and other areas. Media studies is a single, synthetic major constituted by the substantive examination of media in their aesthetic, historical, and cultural dimensions. The major is not a vocational, pre-professional training course in journalism, broadcast, or communications. Rather, the major has a strong commitment to emphasizing the fundamental values and skills of critical thinking, research, writing, and intellectual inquiry essential to a liberal arts education.
Faculty There are currently several faculty members with joint appointments in Media Studies and other fields, including the Chair. In addition there are numerous faculty from other disciplines whose courses are cross-listed with media studies; these represent a range of scholarly and teaching interests that explore the forms and effects of media from various disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives.
Students from across the University are encouraged to explore the offerings in Media Studies as part of their undergraduate experience. Those wishing to focus on production or creative arts, law, commerce, policy, research at an advanced level, or in development and research applications of digital technology, should use media studies as the first step toward a master’s or doctorate degree in their fields. Graduates can expect to find work in publishing, radio, television, digital media, and the business environments of traditional and new media.
Special Resources The University of Virginia has a number of special resources that enrich the Media Studies department. The Robertson Media Center in Clemons Library is equipped with viewing stations, study rooms for group viewing and discussion, and classrooms with film, video, and computer equipment. The Center also houses a significant and expanding collection of video recordings including classic cinema, television programs, and other video materials regularly used in Media Studies classes and research projects. The Digital Media lab in Clemons Library provides drop-in work stations for image capture and editing, and video cameras are available for student use upon certification. A widely distributed system of labs, workstations, and digital classrooms are also available for student use. The electronic centers of the University Library (the E-text center, Special Collections, and the Geospatial and Statistical Data Center) offer considerable resources in digital formats. Moreover, the University has been a leader in digital technology and the humanities at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities and the Virginia Center for Digital History. Both engage students in their activities on a project by project basis. The University of Virginia Art Museum, the Virginia Foundation for Humanities, the Women’s Center, the various on-Grounds publications, and other institutions affiliated with the University or part of the Charlottesville community offer possibilities for internships and work experience in media production.