2017-18 MM Advertising: Literary Representations and Cultural Experience

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  • Time: Thu, 16-18h
  • Venue: A09 0-018
  • Course: 3.02.990
  • Lecturer: Anton Kirchhofer
  • Modul: ang991/2/3 - Media and Markets
  • Course Description:

Please, make sure to obtain and read / watch the following materials in advance:

1. Mad Men, season 1 (2007?)

2. South Park, season 19 (2015)

3. Anthony Trollope, The Struggles of Brown, Jones, and Robinson. By one of the Firm (1870)

4. James Joyce, Ulysses (1922): only chapter 7 'AEOLUS' and chapter 13 'NAUSICAA'

Advertising has been an increasingly visible element in our public sphere ever since the nineteenth century. It hss often been confined to particular sections in print media, or to particular segments and intervals in visual media. The cultural image of advertising has some paradoxical aspects: it is, on the one hand, a content claiming our attention without being bona fide information. As a consequence, the ability to distinguish public content by classifying it as either 'information' or 'advertisement' is part of our cultural literacy. But on the other hand, it has been recognised as an important part of the economic basis sustaining a free and diverse culture of media pluralism.

This course will invite students to explore and reflect the (changing) cultural experience of advertising, on its changing forms and media, on its functions within the public sphere and its relation to other forms of public address (including literature, art but also news media). Our course will not focus on the analysis of advertisements themselves, but on literary representations of the cultural experience and the cultural status and relevance of advertising. We will analyse and discuss fictional representations of advertising as a cultural practice from the nineteenth century to the present, focusing specifically on 'tales of the advertising industry' (Southpark Season 19 for advertising in contemporary digital media, Mad Men Season 1 for a semi-nostalgic look back at the advertising practices of the 1960s, Anthony Trollope's novel The Struggles of Brown, Jones and Robinson for a look at the emerging advertising industry of the later 19th century). In addition, in regard to these stories as well as to two chapters from James Joyce's Ulysses, we will pay specific attention to the question of how the stories represent the ways in which advertising affects the ideas and the consciousness of individuals.

PLEASE NOTE: All primary materials will be made available through the university library. A mastercopy of Trollope's novel (which is out of print), based on the Project Gutenberg eBook, will be made available for photocopying. The other materials can also be obtained through the CVO book store.

  • Course Requirements


  • Requirements for 9 KP: regular attendance and a (oral/)written contribution in the form of xxx, with based on the topic of the seminar.
  • As part of the "Aktive Teilnahme" regulation:
    Die aktive Teilnahme besteht aus folgenden Komponenten
    - regelmäßige Anwesenheit: max. 2 Abwesenheiten und gegebenenfalls Nacharbeit
    - Vor- und Nachbereitung des Seminarstoffs (Expertengruppen, Vorbereitung/Lektüre von Texten) 
    - Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Fragestellung aus dem Problembereich des Seminars, durch:
      *Übernahme von Ergebnispräsentationen und 
      *(nur falls Seminararbeit angestrebt, verschriftlicht, ansonsten als Teil der Präsentation) 
       Entwicklung einer Research Paper Outline im Laufe des Semesters (die Zeitangaben verstehen sich als Empfehlungen): 
       Wahl eines Themenbereichs (bis 25.April),
       Abstract mit Fragestellung inkl. Forschungsbibliographie (RPO) (bis ###), 
       Vorstellung der Fragestellung in der letzten Semestersitzung.

Session 1: xxx

  • Introduction
  • Course syllabus

Session 2: xxx

Session 3: xxx

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Session 14: xxx

  [Hand in research papers until xxx]