This course has two central aims:
- to introduce you to the study of a range of different television genres
- to explore the applicability of genre theory to television.
The course introduces you to theories of genre and to some of the different approaches that have been used to study genre in television. We will look at the sit-com, soap opera, and television news, as well as programmes that pose particular problems for genre theory, such as reality television and long-running series. Here we will explore how notions of generic conventions/expectations, generic hybridity, genre parody and formats complicate the applicability of genre to television.
Attendance at seminars is, unsurprisingly, compulsory. Attendance will be recorded each week, and failure to attend at least 70 per cent (i.e. seven weeks) without prior consultation or reasonable cause may result in your failing the course. Reasonable cause may include (but is not limited to): illness, family circumstances, transportation difficulties, acts of God, the Apocalypse, etc. Leave of absence on medical or other grounds can only be granted by the Head of Department, Susanna Capon, and only on production of appropriate written explanation (doctor’s/therapist’s letter, etc.). If there is an ongoing problem which is persistently affecting your ability to do your work, you should let your personal advisor know as soon as you become aware of it, so that we can make suitable provision. Don’t just let things slide and assume that you can make up the attendance later with no questions asked.
Each week’s topic and screening is accompanied by 1 or 2 designated readings in the Course Pack, which will form the basis for seminar presentations and class discussion. Purchase of the Course Pack is a prerequisite for enrolment in the course and weekly readings are compulsory.
Students who arrive at a seminar without having read the weekly reading will be asked to leave and an unexcused absence recorded against their name for that session.
Each week the course pack indicates preparation that you should undertake for the seminar, related to the reading in the course pack. The aim of this preparation is to make your reading more focused and to help develop your critical skills. This preparation will form the basis of the seminar, so you will be expected to have undertaken this preparation in advance of the seminars.
The course is taught by means of a weekly screening, one-hour lecture and one-hour seminar. Each week you will be required to read the assigned articles in the Course Pack, prepare in advance for the lecture/seminar, and attend the screening and lecture. Detailed discussion of the screenings will form a part of each seminar so it is essential that you attend the screening each week, even if it is a programme that you are familiar with.
Final assessment is by means of one 4,000-5,000 word essay to be submitted at the start of the term after you finish the course.
You may incorporate work from your seminar presentations in your essays. I will be available to discuss your ideas, essay structure, secondary reading, etc. in the final two weeks of the course.
Essays should be typed, double-spaced, and in all other regards conform to the style sheet included in the Students’ Handbook. (Marks will be deducted for sloppy presentation.)
If an essay is submitted up to 24 hours late, the mark will be reduced by 10 per cent, subject to a minimum mark of a minimum Pass. For essays submitted more than 24 hours late, the maximum mark will be zero.
Extensions can only be granted by the Head of Department, Susanna Capon, and only on production of appropriate written explanation (doctor’s letter, etc.). Neither I nor your personal advisor can grant them.
Each week of the course there will be seminar presentations of up to 20 minutes. During the course you will be required to give one presentation. The exact format of your presentation is up to you; but the purpose of the exercise is to offer neither a summary of the weekly reading, nor a film review, but rather to present thoughts, ideas or problems that can help provoke and structure group discussion.
You should take careful note of the regulations regarding plagiarism included with each list of essay questions. As you ought to know by now, plagiarism is a serious offence which will not be treated lightly and which can seriously affect your marks and even delay the award of your degree. If we have any suspicion that work submitted to us is plagiarised, we will immediately refer the issue to the College authorities for further action. If you have any doubts about what constitutes plagiarism, err on the side of caution or (better still) ask. If you are caught plagiarising, this will be indicated in all future references provided by the University (e.g. for job applications).