School Of Culture And Communications Essay Cover Sheet

Open only to seniors in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication or by permission of the instructor. A culminating course integrating models of interpretation derived from the liberal arts with the analytical tools developed in media, culture, and communication coursework. Reflects current research interests within the department and encourages students to explore emerging issues in the field, including media and globalization, professional ethics, and the interaction between audiences and texts.

MCC-UE 1200-001 / Topic: From Surveillance to Sousveillance: Visibility/Invisibility/Opacity as Power and Resistance
Instructor: Allen Feldman, Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur, 12:00-3:50 pm

Deleuze proposes: “the seeing subject is himself a space within visibility, a function derived from visibility.” He describes the paradox of subjective seeing as sousveillance-- looking from below-- that is entangled within a web of surveillance—being seen from above. Surveillance is the right to inspect held by institutions-- the law, police and related powers. Sousveillance generates visual resistance and politicizing visual testimony through mobile media that inspect human rights violations.  The two forms now watch each other. They combine in on-line reality video and tv, as a culture of inspectacularity (fusing spectacle and inspection). They both pose the act of looking itself as a visible act that alters what is seen. Resisting the right to see and to be seen is the right to opacity-- the right not to be seen-- protecting privacy and secrecy. To visualize these acts of seeing and unseeing we will discuss readings and screen films and art that mobilize and inspect surveillance, sousveillance and opacity.

MCC-UE 1200-002 / TOPIC: The Media of the Senses
Professor: Allen Feldman, Wednesdays, 12:30-3:00 pm

This seminar will focus on introducing participants to the core theories and analytic methods of visual culture, and the socio-political history of the human sensorium in a variety of disciplines, including practice led media research, social history, urban studies, cinema studies social geography, material culture studies and media studies.

MCC-UE 1200-003 / TOPIC: Liberation Lab
Professor: Nicholas Mirzoeff, Tuesdays, 2:00-4:30 pm

How do we undertake media and visual activism in difficult times? Liberation Lab connects political projects in alternative learning like Free University with anti-racist politics and visual activist practice. We’ll visit key alternative archive spaces, and meet with activists and artists to discuss how anti-racism and non-hierarchical learning are being thought and worked. We’ll walk through the city to see how gentrification is rewriting space and overwriting histories. Collectively we’ll write a manifesto of how to make change.

MCC-UE 1200-004 / TOPIC:  The Aesthetics, Ethics, and Business of “The Real”
Professor: Susan Murray, Wednesdays, 9:30-12:00 pm

Moving image media has long promised its viewers access to “the real”—real experience, real emotion, real people. Yet, over the past twenty years of so, our notion of what is “the real” and how it is accessed, produced, and experienced has changed due to, among other things, the advent of reality television, shifts in various documentary forms, changes in broadcast regulation, the rise of social media, and the decline in the belief of “objectivity” in the news (which are accompanied by accusations of “fake news”). As a result, the question of what is real in the media and how that is defined has never been more urgent.

In this course, we will explore how forms of film and television have throughout their history constructed a sense of realism, authenticity, or access to direct experience through various production and performance techniques, aesthetic and generic forms, and marketing, programming, and promotion practices. In doing so, this course will survey the history of documentary film and video, news, DIY and amateur media, game and participation programming, reality television, and image based forms of social media in order to trace the history and analyze the repercussions of the ethics, aesthetics and business of “the real.”

MCC-UE 1200-005 / TOPIC: Television Industries of Latin America
Professor: Juan Piñon, Mondays, 2:00-4:30 pm

While today the new media landscape of digital convergence has opened a growing number of windows of video delivery, still broadcasting television in Latin America and for U.S. Hispanics are the most important source for information and entertainment for the Latina/os across the hemisphere. The grow and vitality of the Spanish and Portuguese language television industries have been recognized in the literature by the growing presence of Latin American programming in the world television market place.  Countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela and the USA Hispanic production from Miami have become key center of television production for audiences around the region and for the global market. However, the formation and characteristics of these different Latin American television industries have followed different paths based on the specific factors such as: the size and structure of their markets, the socio-political environment in which they growth, the specific national media policy that shaped them, and the relation with others kind of national media that give them particular chances of visibility at national or regional levels. While censorship or control over news and information in television have been historically key to maintain the status quo for the different Latin American States and their political and entrepreneurial classes across the region, fictional programming arose as an space in which the unspoken would be talked through the different dynamics on fictional storytelling, particularly telenovelas. In this seminar we will look at historical socio-economic and political roots for the surge and formation of the different television industries across the region to make sense of their particular programming characteristics. But also we will assess the contemporary media and television landscape and the presence of USA Hispanic and Latin American television flows at regional and global levels.  

MCC-UE 1200-006 / TOPIC: Mediating Death
Professor: Hannah Dick, Tuesdays 11:00-1:30 pm

In this senior media seminar we will investigate the role of death media: mediated forms of communication that represent, sanitize, and reconstitute death and dying for popular consumption. We will consider death alternately as a mediated object, a theoretical tool, and a representational paradigm. Bringing together literature in queer studies, critical race studies, religious studies, and visual culture, this senior media seminar will ask the following questions: What is the regime of representation surrounding death, dying, commemoration, and the corpse? How do news and entertainment media cover death controversies, including assisted suicide and the death penalty? How do these debates produce legible political subjects, and/or legitimize state-sanctioned violence? And finally, how has death been harnessed as a critical tool by marginalized groups? Students will have the opportunity to develop a semester-long media project on the topic of death and dying. 

MCC-UE 1200-007 / TOPIC: Hot and Cold: Race, Power, and Sensory Theory
Professor: Nicole Starosielski, Thursdays 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

While most studies of media have focused on their visual, aural, textual, and even haptic dimensions, this class will explore the ways that temperature—heat and cold—communicates. Students will be asked to interrogate the racialized and sexualized dimensions of climate, reflect on the sense of thermoception, and think about theory in embodied ways. We will ask: who benefits from the current regimes of temperature control? How is race, gender, queerness and culture understood using thermal metaphors? Whose senses are manipulated, and does this apply differently across different kinds of bodies? How is thermal imaging—in airport security, in drone strikes, and in other contexts—a political tool? What about historical architectures of thermal manipulation: from sweatboxes on plantations to ice cures in hospitals. Can hot and cold media be used for social justice? The course will ask students to engage with theories of the senses, theories of culture (especially critical race theory, feminist theory, and queer theory) and activist projects, in order to develop ways to transform our understanding of heat and cold.

MCC-UE 1200-008 / TOPIC: Media, Populism, and Neoliberalism
Professor: Arun Kundnani, Wednesdays 12:30-3:00 pm

The election of Donald Trump and Britain’s vote for Brexit have brought the concept of populism to the center of political debates on both sides of the Atlantic. Populism could refer to political mobilizations against the wealthiest one per cent or the political expression of dangerous irrationalities. Populism could mean a threat to liberal-democratic institutions or their re-energizing through ordinary people taking a stand against elitism. Populism could spell the end of neoliberalism or its most profound iteration. Whatever populism means it means a mediated process. In this seminar, we will explore right-wing and left-wing populisms in the US, Europe, the Middle East, and India, and use the concept of populism to think about the role of media technologies in contemporary social movements; questions of race, gender, and class; the political economy of political information; and why the world feels like it’s falling apart.


Media, Culture, and Communication (MCCD-PHD)

Taking an interdisciplinary approach to the study of media and culture, this doctoral curriculum draws from a diverse array of research methods and incorporates historical as well as global and comparative perspectives. You’ll take courses in the following research areas: Global and Transcultural Studies, Technology and Society, Visual Culture and Sound Studies, Media Institutions and Politics, and Critical Theories of Media and Communication.

Academic Plan Code: MCCD

Degree: PHD

Credits: 48 credits if you have a master's degree, 54 credits without a master's degree

Academic Load: Full-time only. The time it takes for you to complete this program will vary, based the number of credits you register for each semester.

Application Deadlines
Spring: N/A
Summer: N/A
Fall: December 1

Program Information
Website | 212-998-5191

How to Apply

These instructions and requirements are for all applicants. If you are not a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States, please read the special instructions for international applicants.

1. Prepare Your Application

Your application will require the following items. The following are acceptable document types for uploads: .pdf, .jpeg, .jpg, .gif, .tiff, .png, .doc, .docx, and bitmap.


You are required to upload a copy of your most recent résumé or curriculum vitae as part of your application. 

Statement of Purpose

Not required.

MCC Essay

In lieu of a statement of purpose, you are required to upload a brief essay on the research area/topic you expect to pursue, your background preparation for advanced work in that area/topic, and some of the scholars whose work in that area has shaped your thinking. The essay should be 2-3 pages single-spaced or 4-5 pages double-spaced. 

Writing Sample

You are required to submit a copy of your master's thesis, or comparable evidence of sustained intellectual inquiry or writing you have done, preferably in the area in which you expect to focus your advanced study.

Letters of Recommendation

Submit three letters of recommendation. Be sure to request them well in advance of the deadline. Read detailed instructions.


Upload one official copy of transcripts from every postsecondary school you have attended. Make sure to request them in advance of the deadline. See detailed instructions.


Required. See testing requirements. 

Proficiency in English

See testing requirements.


2. Apply


Start your application now

After you fill in and upload the required information, you can submit your completed application. Your application must be completed, dated, electronically signed and submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST of the stated deadline.

Application Fee

You will be prompted to pay a $75 application fee, payable by major credit card only. After submitting your payment, you will see your application status change from “saved” to “submitted.” Please print this screen for your records, as it confirms that your application has been successfully sent to our school. If you have problems submitting your payment, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions. Learn more about our fee waiver policy.

Mailing Additional Items 

If any remaining application materials need to be mailed to our office, mail the materials together in a single mailing using this document cover sheet. Items received without the cover sheet take longer to process and match to your application. Please do not mail your materials in binders or folders. Any mailed materials must be received by, not postmarked by, the stated deadline. Only completed applications will be considered and reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Due to high volume, we are unable to confirm receipt of mailed materials.

Application Policies

Application deadlines are "in-office" deadlines, not postmark deadlines. It is your responsibility to ensure that all materials are in the Office of Graduate Admissions by the appropriate deadline, and we reserve the right to return any application that arrives after the deadline. Only completed applications will be considered. Should a deadline fall on a weekend, the in-office deadline will be the next business day. We advise you to apply early.

Please check the online system to confirm that you have successfully submitted your application. Due to the volume of applications and related materials received, the Office of Graduate Admissions will only contact you if your application was successfully submitted and is deemed incomplete because of missing required materials. Otherwise, you will hear from us when the admissions committee has made its decision.

Deferral policy: NYU Steinhardt does not allow deferrals. Applicants who wish to be considered for a future semester must reapply by submitting a new application with all supporting materials, including letters of recommendations, by the application deadline.


3. Receive Your Admission Decision

You will be notified about your decision by email. Typically, decisions will start going out in late March or early April for Fall enrollment. You may learn of your decision before or after this timeline.


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