Special Topics in Book and Media Studies II: The Media Franchise SMC301H1S

One of the most significant developments in popular media since the late 1970s is the rise and proliferation of media franchises, which spread their commercial interests and fictional worlds across many multiple media. Reflective of the broader logics of media industry conglomeration and convergence, in media franchises movies, television series, novels and comics, games of all kinds, toys and merchandise, paratexts like promotional materials, etc. are linked together in order to maximize profits. These dense networks of commercial products serve as a platform for new forms of serial narrative and world-building such as “transmedia storytelling,” and also generate vibrant, diverse fan cultures that extend far beyond the official franchise and its canonical texts. Drawing on a wide range of scholarly and critical work, this course examines the modern media franchise from historical, industrial, formal/aesthetic, and sociocultural perspectives. Media franchises to be examined include Marvel, Star Wars, DC, Harry Potter, The Matrix, and more. (This course was previously offered as SMC301 Seriality and Transmedia.)