COMP 316
An American Family and "Reality" Television
Last Offered Spring 2016
Division I Writing Skills
Cross-listed WGSS 312 / AMST 333 / ARTH 310 / COMP 316
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

An American Family was a popular documentary series that featured the Loud family from Santa Barbara, California, whose everyday lives were broadcast on national television. The series generated an enormous amount of media attention, commentary, and controversy when it premiered on PBS in 1973. Today, it is regarded as the origin of so-called “Reality TV.” In addition to challenging standard rules for television programming, the show challenged social conventions and asked viewers to think seriously about family relations, sexuality, domesticity, and the “American dream.” Documenting the family’s life over the course of eight months, the series chronicled the dissolution of the Louds’ marriage and broadcast the “coming out” of eldest son Lance Loud, the first star of reality television. In this class, we will view the An American Family series in its entirety, research the program’s historical reception, and analyze its influence on broadcast and film media, particularly on “reality” television. A final 16- to 20-page research paper will be prepared in stages, including a 6- to 8-page midterm essay that will be revised and expanded over the course of the semester.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 14
Class#: 3468
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class presentations, research assignments, and final 16- to 20-page research paper
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: junior majors, followed by senior majors
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ARTH or COMP; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST or WGSS
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGSS 312 Division I AMST 333 Division I ARTH 310 Division I COMP 316 Division I
Attributes: AMST Arts in Context Electives
FMST Core Courses

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