With the acceleration of global integration, the scope of international migration is so large, that an enormous body of migrant writings has been amassed for the last one hundred years. The course introduces students to Literatures of Mobility through texts on exile, migration and expatriation. They main goal is to examine how encounters between different cultures – between the East and the West as geographical locations and as mental constructs – shape individual identities, and how creative expressions both reflect and reflect on these processes. Literature can function on a par with sociology and anthropology in providing significant insights in exploratory travels, migratory flows, exilic and neo-nomadic experiences. The problems of displacement, uprootedness, cultural allegiance and identity and their reflections in language are examined through the prose of exiled writers: Eva Hoffman, Milan Kundera, Lyubomir Kanov, Radka Yakimov, and contemporary Bulgarian authors, defined as transcultural: Miroslav Penkov, Zahari Karabashliev, Ilija Trojanov, Kapka Kassabova, Nikolai Grozni, Krassi Zourkova and others. The following questions are addressed: How are heterogeneous identities produced in the process of transcultural mobility? How are they represented in imaginary, creative outputs through different genres, styles and language experiments? How does the debate on transculturalism concern the construction of the West versus the East, of Self versus Other, of ‘Europeanness’ and ‘Americanness’?  

Students complete the readings each week for discussion in the virtual classroom and through forums or chat. Each students does a presentation on one of the main course readings, individually or collaboratively. The final exam consists of a written paper on a topic related to the themes addressed in the course. 

Students completing the course should be able to:

  1. Discuss various theoretical perspectives in relation to migration, the interaction between cultures, the relation between Self and Other, East and West;

  2.  Outline the "poetics" of migrant writings and distinguishing features of the Literatures of Mobility in their different forms. 

Курсът запознава студентите с мигрантското писане и тематиката на изгнанието, миграцията и експатрирането. Проблемите на дислокацията,   носталгията,  двойната идентичност и връзките й с езика, контрапунктното мислене, съвместяването на родната и чужда култури и  ролята на миналото се проследяват в прозата на писатели преминали през изгнанието като Ева Хофман, Милан Кундера, Любомир Канов, Радка Якимов, и съвременни български автори, определяни като транскултурални: Мирослав Пенков, Захари Карабашлиев, Илия Троянов и др. Като се изхожда от избрани  теоретични постановки, свързани с взаимодействието между културите, с отношението свой-чужд, Аз-Друг, с понятията Изток-Запад и др., се обръща специално внимание на характерни литературно-стилистични подходи за предаване на мигрантската тематика с цел да се очертаят типологични белези на мигрантското писане и на транскултуралното мислене в съвременния свят. 

The course studies the production, dissemination and reception of North American popular culture in a global context. Globalization is the buzzword of our current historical moment. Why is globalization any different from older forms of internationalization that have marked modernity? Do American media and popular culture artefacts bring cultures together or do they simply Americanize everyone? How does this spectacle of sameness and replication - promoted in the Hollywood formula film, in the rush to mallification or in Walt-Disneysation - connect to the differences in local cultural practices and identities today? How American can you get? The issue of Americanization as globalization is examined with a particular focus on its presence in the Bulgarian context.

In the course we will work through these questions by analyzing visual and new media forms (films, animation, cartoons, TV, tabloid culture, Internet culture) as well as theoretical and journalistic texts. Special attention will be paid to North American popular culture as a highly politicized domain of social life where political ideas and meanings are conveyed through an industry often controlled by political and economic elites but also contested. While ideologies and belief systems are directly instilled through the official institutions, such as schools, governments, etc, popular culture also serves to advance specific values and a definite mind-set. Television, literature, the movies, the World Wide Web reinforce the power of the dominant groups in a society, but can also be sources of innovation and change. Accordingly special attention will be paid to the challenge popular culture presents to social organization and the values of the establishment.

The course introduces a variety of critical approaches to the study of popular culture and develops skills for critical thinking and analytical writing.

MASS MEDIA AND CULTURE

The aim of the course is to help students gain deeper insight into the way the mass media work in Britain and the USA and to become aware of  some of their specific problems  in the age of electronically delivered information. The course focuses on some of the most important issues in this field such as private and public media, media regulating institutions, censorship. BBC is taken as the example for the processes governing the working of the mass media in the UK, which provides useful models for discussion. American mass media are discussed in historical perspective first and then a comparison with Britain is made which strives for better understanding of the underlying processes within the mass media in the two countries. Special attention is paid to the problems surrounding the use and the  function of the Internet and the processes of globalization.

The course is also devoted to the discussion of the various cultural theories, which can be used in elucidating the nature and the role of the mass media in contemporary society. Particular attention is paid to the theories of  "culture industry," "information society," "global village." Finally, the electronically delivered information is discussed as a new mode of information and a new kind of language which determines the various pictures contemporary cultural theories paint of society.

The students are expected to do the two activities in the Forum sections of Topic 4 & 5 and to write a final essay on an aspect of the mass media in the UK or the USA using one of the theoretical models/techniques of analysis discussed in the course.     

 COURSE CURRICULUM

 SESSION ONE

LECTURE: Introduction to Cultural Media Studies. Different theories of the mass media; historical and philosophical aspects of mass media studies.

SESSION TWO

LECTURE: The Development of the Contemporary American Press and Radio

SESSION THREE

LECTURE: The BBC and Editorial Values

SEMINAR: Writing News

SESSION FOUR

American Television and Cable

SESSION FIVE

LECTURE: New Information Technologies: The Internet, Digital TV

SESSION SIX

LECTURE: Theories of Mass Society; The Frankfurt School and their Critique of ‘Culture Industry’

SESSION SEVEN

LECTURE: The concept of the post-industrial society: Daniel Bell and the new mode of information

SEMINAR: Techniques of Media Analysis

The course examines how computer technologies, telecommunication networks, and digital arts are transforming contemporary culture. It focuses on the transformation of literacy, the role of the printed book and intellectual discourse itself in the digital age. Grounded in the fields of cultural and literary studies, the course stimulates critical analysis of the development of digital culture from a set of ideologies and practices such as new media theory, posthumanism and multimodality.

The course is designed to prepare students to investigate and apply new concepts of textuality, reading, and writing in personal, academic, communal and global writing spaces, including writing with words, images, graphics, and other media.  In peer discussions, students will analyze readings; build on writing and research knowledge and abilities with a strong emphasis on strengthening genre and rhetorical awareness. It positions writing as multimodal, and requires the use of reflection as a means to learn and strengthen composing abilities. By producing works using digital tools, students will not only learn to create meaning, tell a story, provoke a reaction with sound, images, animation, and other media, but they also learn how theoretical perspectives lead to the rethinking of conventional rhetorical concepts such as authorship, audience, process, revision, and design when applied to digital contexts. The ultimate goal is to advance students’ visual and digital literacy.

This course is structured so as to focus on two main types of writing projects: (1) collaborative class writing, and (2) writing a digital essay. It starts with introducing different means of expression afforded by writing online and includes discussion of what is digital writing and an analysis of different digital genres.

Course Goals:

  • Introduce students to language, theories, and concepts as it relates to digital writing and digital spaces;
  • Provide opportunities for students to analyze and compose in various digital genres;
  • Equip students with an understanding that technology has shifted writing practices, and has expanded the definition of “writing” to include multimodal and digital texts;
  • Equip students with an understanding of the rhetorical nature and communicative function of modalities and digital writing, as well as how various digital platforms influence communication.

В курса се разискват проблеми, свързани с дигитализацията и глобализацията, като основният акцент е поставен върху трансформациите на текста в епохата на дигиталната революция и свързаните с това промени в процесите на четене, писане, учене, преподаване и грамотност. Курсът стимулира студентите да изследват в теоретичен и практически план пресечните точки между традиционната грамотност (alphabetic literacy) и новите, най-вече дигитални, грамотности (visual and digital literacies) на днешното информационно общество, както и тези между традиционните жанрове и новите мултимодални форми на писане. Придобитите в лекционната част теоретични знания се използват за анализ на конкретни образци: 1. на текст в мрежата, 2. на мрежовата литература, както и 3. на иновациите в печатната литература, като на студените се възлага да направят собствени разработки и изследвания по зададените теми. В курса на обучение са предвидени устни дискусии и писмени задания, които формират текущия контрол. Част от заданията включват използването на форми на пораждане на текст в киберпространството: блогове, уики-та, онлайн резюмета, създаване на дигитално есе. Студентите представят своя разработка под формата на курсова работа и устна презентация в края на обучението.

[EN below]Курсът продължава обучението на студентите в специфичната дейност на междуезиковия превод, като надгражда езиковата компетентност на студентите в двата езика и обръща по-детайлно внимание на основни преводачески проблеми, свързани с употребата на граматическите и лексикалните структури на двата езика, спирайки се подробно на случаите на езикова асиметрия. По-сериозно внимание се обръща на случаите на езикова интерференция, както и на овладяването на някои основни стратегии в превода на различни стилови нива. Паралелно с разглеждането на конкретни междуезикови казуси, курсът цели да помогне на студентите да натрупат чисто практически опит, като планомерно увеличава трудността на работните текстове. Работи се и върху постепенното развиване на метаезик за описание на трансформациите при превод от английски на български език.

The course furthers the instruction of students into the specific activity of interlingual translation, building upon their linguistic competence in both languages and focusing on basic translator issues related to the usage of grammatical and lexical constructions in both languages, as well as paying specific attention to the cases of language asymmetry. Attention is drawn to some cases of language interference as well as mastering certain basic strategies in translating various stylistic levels. In parallel to the discussion of specific interlingual cases, the course aims to assist students in gaining practical experience by gradual increase in the difficulty level of work texts. The development of a metalanguage to describe translator transformations is also featured.