Course syllabus



Lecture:         Wednesday 2 – 4 pm, 303-101 (Sci Maths & Physics, 101)

Tutorial:         Friday 2 – 3 pm, 303-G16 (Sci Maths & Physics, G16                                                                        

Convenor:     Associate Professor Nabeel Zuberi                                                                          


                        Office hours: Friday 12 – 2 pm, or by appointment
                        Room: 536, Social Sciences Building (formerly Human Sciences)

                        Tel: 923 7722


Course announcements will be posted weekly on Canvas, so please check it regularly.


This course is taught concurrently with FTVMS 218. The lectures are the same, but tutorials are separate and assessment is differentiated.


Aims and objectives of the course

The course explores the relationships between popular music and visual media, including film, television and social media. The course analyses textual forms (e.g. documentaries, feature films, music videos). It considers the production, circulation and social meaning of these texts which are embedded in debates about popular culture and power relations, particularly those marked by class, gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity. We consider the sounds, looks and feelings associated with musical styles and cultures. We focus on musicians, fans, songs, genres, dance and the representation of music technologies on media screens of various kinds. The course engages with a range of theories, methods and approaches to music and screen media, including those in the fields of popular music studies, sound studies, film studies, television studies, (new) media studies, communication studies and cultural studies.


Skills and competencies

You will develop skills for the analysis of sound and image in a range of audiovisual forms, media spaces, industries and experiences. You will enhance your knowledge of media studies and its related fields. You will conduct independent research projects, and produce formal academic and more journalistic writing on relevant topics of your choice (not only the required course texts). You will have opportunities to improve your presentation skills and collaborate in the exchange of ideas during group exercises and workshops on research ideas and writing in progress in tutorials.



Required course reading is available via Canvas under each week and topic. The reading should be completed by the time of the lecture, but definitely before the tutorial on that topic. All assessment requires detailed knowledge and understanding of the required reading and additional research. Students are expected to use library databases for their own research.



Required viewing material is available in the General Library and via Canvas. You must view and make notes before the lecture, and absolutely before the tutorial on the topic.



Lecture attendance is essential. Due to copyright regulations, no lecture recording will be posted.



You must participate actively (not only attend) tutorials in order to receive marks. All required reading and viewing must be completed before the tutorial on that topic. You will not be awarded full participation marks if you do not demonstrate in the classroom that you have completed these tasks. We will discuss the required viewing and reading in detail. You must bring the reading to class. Tutorials also involve in-class preparation for the assignments, including presentation of your research topic, thesis statements and paper outlines. Tutorial tasks will be discussed in lectures and on Canvas. Students must bring some talking points and notes from lectures, viewing and reading to every tutorial. Your active participation in the tutorials constitutes 10% of the assessment for the course.



There are four assessment components for this course:


  • Active participation in tutorial exercises (10%)


  • Research Paper 1 on a topic from weeks 1-5

      (2000 words; 40%; due by 11:59 pm on Friday 1 September, week 6)


  • Research Paper 2 on a topic from weeks 6-9

      (2000 words; 40%; due by 11:59 pm on Monday 16 October, week 11)


  • Quiz/test on the semester’s required reading in tutorial in Week 12 (10%)


There is no plussage on this course. A total of 50% (C-) is the minimum pass mark.


Presentation of coursework

You must type your research papers in plain, 12 pt. font and double-space. Allow a 1-inch left and right margin for the marker’s comments. Number your pages and also give the word count at the end of your paper (the word count includes footnotes/endnotes but not the list of works cited). You may include carefully chosen images. Keep electronic and hard copies of your assignments as backup. Failure to present your coursework appropriately will lose you marks.


Referencing correctly and avoiding plagiarism

You must reference the sources from which you have taken ideas, arguments and/or quotations, according to MLA style. Please consult the following University website which provides information on referencing: and/or the 2009 MLA Guide at You must cite relevant page numbers, full titles and publication details when you refer to other people’s work. All directly quoted writing must be placed in quotation marks. You must include in-text referencing and a list of Works Cited. You may also use footnotes.


Anything that is the work of another person must be referenced. Page numbers and web addresses must be included. All direct quotations must be placed in quotation marks. All students in this course are required to submit their coursework assignments to, which reveals both direct and paraphrased use of published material. The University of Auckland regards plagiarism seriously and proven cases will result in a fail grade and the assignment being withheld. All cases of plagiarism are brought before a Disciplinary Committee and a record of the student’s academic misconduct is kept on file until one year after the student graduates. The most serious cases can result in disciplinary action at the Faculty level, suspension or expulsion from the University and/or a fine. The University of Auckland’s approach to plagiarism can be found at


Submission of coursework

The research papers must be submitted by the deadline in electronic form only to Canvas before midnight on the due dates.


Deadlines, late penalties and extensions

Deadlines for coursework are non-negotiable. In circumstances such as illness you may seek an extension but you will require a doctor’s certificate. Extensions must be personally negotiated with the course convenor at least two days before the assignment is due. All late assignments will be penalised one mark per day. This includes each day of the weekend.


Tuakana Arts Undergraduate Mentoring Programme

This programme provides academic support for all Maori and Pasifika students. The Tuakana tutor is Lillian Hanley. Contact:


Other University-wide academic support and services

UoA provides a range of resources to support students towards achieving their academic potential. These resources are not restricted to assisting students who are encountering difficulties in their studies. To access information about the range of academic and learning support services at the University, please visit:

Student Learning Centre web site:

ELSAC web site:




Week 1                  (26 July)                 Popular Music and Visual Culture

Topics: The visual cultures of popular music; the many screens of music; the multiple forms of visual music and music visualization; multidisciplinary analysis of music and audiovisual culture; sound vs. vision debates; the textual analysis of music and moving images


Week 2                  (2 August)             Documentaries

Topics: Capturing ‘live’ performance on screen; the concert spectacle; discourses of fidelity, the ‘real’ lives of musicians, performing selves, and ideas of authenticity; types of music documentary; documentaries as histories and archives


  • Strachan, Robert and Leonard, Marion. “Reel to Real: Cinema Verité, Rock Authenticity and the Rock Documentary.” Sound and Music in Film and Visual Media: An Overview. Eds. Graeme Harper, Ruth Doughty, Jochen Eisentraut. New York and London: Continuum, 2009. 284-299.


  • 20 Feet from Stardom (Morgan Neville, 2013, 91 minutes)


Week 3                  (9 August)             Biopics

Topics: Real musicians’ lives turned into fictions; discourses of stardom and celebrity


  • Marshall, Lee and Kongsgaard, Isabel. “Representing Popular Music Stardom on Screen: The Popular Music Biopic.” Celebrity Studies 3.3 (2012): 346-361.
  • Corbella, Maurizio. “Unpacking Performance in the biopic.” Popular Music Today: Proceedings of IASPM 2017. Ed. Julia Merrill. Kassel: Springer, 2017. 67-74.


  • Control (Anton Corbijn, 2007, 122 minutes)


Week 4                   (16 August)          Performance on Television

Topics: Rock ‘n’ roll film and television; on-screen relationships between musicians/stars and fans; television formats and popular music


  • Coates, Norma. “Elvis from the Waist Up and Other Myths: 1950s Music Television and the Gendering of Rock Discourse.” Medium Cool: Music Videos from Soundies to Cellphones. Eds. Roger Beebe and Jason Middleton. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007. 226-51.


  • A Hard Day’s Night (Richard Lester, 1964, 87 minutes)


Week 5                   (23 August)          Songs in Film and Television Narratives

Topics: Industrial synergies; Soundtracks and musical moments; the integration of songs and moving images; songs in full and in fragments in many kinds of film and television content; soundtracks and listening formations; the influence of music genres on film and television narratives


  • Hubbert, Julie. “The Compilation Soundtrack from the 1960s to the Present.” The Oxford Handbook of Film Music Studies. Ed. David Neumeyer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. 292-318.
  • Anderson, Tim. “From Background Music to Above-the-Line Actor: The Rise of the Music Supervisor in Converging Televisual Environments.” Journal of Popular Music Studies 25.3 (2013): 371–388. 


  • Clueless (Amy Heckerling, 1995, 97 minutes)


Week 6                                     (30 August)          Music Videos
Topics: Precursors of the music video; approaches to the study of music video; the proliferating forms of music video


  • Vernallis, Carol. “Music Video’s Second Aesthetic.” The Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics. Eds. John Richardson, Claudia Gorbman and Carol Vernallis. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. 437-465.


  • Miscellaneous music videos


Assignment due Tuesday 29 August by 11:59 pm


                                                                        Mid-Semester break


Week 7                   (20 September)                   Music Genres and their Visual Aesthetics

Topics: The characteristic visual styles of music genres; case study: hip hop


  • Maira, Sunaina, and Magid Shihade. “Hip Hop from ’48 Palestine: Youth, Music, and the Present/Absent.” Social Text 30.3 (2012): 1-26.
  • El Zein, Rayya. “From ‘Hip Hop Revolutionaries’ to ‘Terrorist Thugs’: ‘Blackwashing’ between the Arab Spring Spring and the War on Terror.” Lateral (2016).


  • Slingshot Hip Hop (Jackie Reem Salloum, 2008, 87 minutes)


Week 8                   (27 September)                   Dancing on Screen

Topics: The body, dance and cultural studies; values and social differences in dance; dance studies and screen dance; the genre of the popular dance film


  • Dodds, Sherril. “Values in Motion: Reflections on Popular Screen Dance.” The Oxford Handbook of Dance and the Popular Screen. Ed. Melissa Blanco Borelli. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. 446-454.
  • Dyer, Richard. “White Enough.” The Time of Our Lives: Dirty Dancing and Popular Culture. Eds. Yannis Tzioumakis and Sian Lincoln. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 2013. 73-85.


  • Dirty Dancing (Emile Ardolino, 1987, 100 minutes)


Week 9                   (4 October)                             Social Media

Topics: Web 2.0; YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc.; musicians and fans on social media; live music and screens; the circulation of musical imagery


  • Marwick, Alice and boyd, danah. “To See and Be Seen: Celebrity Practice on Twitter.” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 17.2 (2011): 139-158.
  • Gaunt, Kyra D. “YouTube, Twerking & You: Context Collapse and the Handheld Co‐Presence of Black Girls and Miley Cyrus.” Journal of Popular Music Studies 27.3 (2015): 244-273.


Week 10                (11 October)                          No lecture, but study period for assignment 2 &                                                                            online office hours


Assignment 2 due by 11:59 pm on Monday, 16 October


Week 11                (18 October)                          Music Technologies and Formats on Screen

Topics: Music technologies, objects and devices such as records, radios and personal stereos in media narratives; representations of popular music’s material culture and the feelings associated with it; commodity fetishism and nostalgia; gender, technologies and listening


  • McNelis, Tim and Boschi, Elena. ‘Seen and Heard: Visible Playback Technology in Film.’ Ubiquitous Musics: The Everyday Sounds That We Don’t Always Notice. Eds. Marta García Quiñones, Anahid Kassabian and Elena Boschi. Farnham: Ashgate, 2014. 89-106.


  • Ghost World (Terry Zwigoff, 2001, 111 minutes)


Week 12                (25 October)                          Course summary & revision for quiz/test

                              Quiz/test on course reading and viewing during tutorial time on 27 October

Course summary:

Date Details Due