Spotlight on Pioneering Media & Cultural Studies Scholars

Take a seat in these veritable master classes from some of the great progressive intellectuals and seminal media and culture scholars.

The award-winning Requiem for the American Dream features legendary scholar and activist Noam Chomsky on one of the defining issues of our time: accelerating economic inequality. Combining Chomsky’s rare explanatory powers with breathtaking visuals and stunning motion graphics, the film dissects a long line of government policies that have benefited corporations and the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the vast majority of the population and the functioning of our democracy.

In bell hooks: Cultural Criticism & Transformation, the celebrated author, feminist, and social activist explores how popular culture reflects and reproduces dominant ideas about race, gender, and capitalism. hooks shows how even the most seemingly benign media representations can have a very real political and ideological impact, and makes a convincing case for media education as an invaluable tool for challenging unjust systems of power, oppression, and class domination.

In Edward Said: On Orientalism, the seminal postcolonial scholar examines the origin and evolution of Western attitudes towards the Middle East. Said summarizes the key ideas he developed in his paradigm-shifting book Orientalism, showing how contemporary Western representations of the Middle East as a land of exotics, villains, and terrorists are deeply rooted in history, and argues that this caricatured cultural heritage continues to blind too many Europeans and Americans to the complexity and diversity of the region.

The voice of the late cultural theorist Stuart Hall, a founding figure of cultural studies and one of the great anti-authoritarian political intellectuals of recent history, is more necessary than ever. In Stuart Hall: Through the Prism of an Intellectual Life, a recently discovered, newly restored video of one of his most famous lectures, based on one of his most influential essays, Hall speaks with dazzling precision about the responsibilities of intellectuals and educators in the face of undemocratic structures of power, injustice, racism, and inequality.

In Killing Us Softly 4, pioneering feminist scholar Jean Kilbourne examines how the advertising industry reinforces and glamorizes deeply destructive, unhealthy ideas about femininity and manhood. Kilbourne shows how contemporary print and television ads create a misogynistic fantasy world of undernourished, oversexed, and objectified women, and examines these warped representations against the real-world backdrop of eating disorders, men’s violence against women, and the ongoing political backlash against women’s equality.

In Digital Disconnect, acclaimed media scholar Robert McChesney looks at how corporate capitalism has turned the internet against democracy. With astonishing clarity, McChesney explains how internet giants surreptitiously collect personal data and sell it to advertisers, how telecom monopolies have helped advance mass surveillance programs, and how social media platforms have isolated people into ideological filter bubbles and elevated sensationalism and conspiracy theories at the expense of real journalism.