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The Wire at Harvard November 5, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Books vs. TV.
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A new course being developed by a sociology professor at Harvard will use the HBO show “The Wire” as “a case study for poverty in America.”

I think its an interesting concept to develop a class based on a television show – one that I can’t imagine is particularly popular among ivy league universities. But, is any old book really better than a well-researched and written television show? Does the mere fact that the information is presented as a narrative through the medium of television make the information any less valid or authentic? I don’t think so. What do you think?

(via OpenCulture)

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1. pupfiction - November 5, 2009

It’s also interesting that the show is from HBO – a channel that you have to pay for. Although one could argue that you have to pay for books, they are always available through the library whereas HBO is a subscription service. Wonder if Harvard gets any kickback from HBO?

Either way, I think a cleverly written television show is just as valid as a book and I laud Harvard for being on the cutting edge as always! (If only someone would offer a class on Gossip Girl now!)

2. dataduchess - November 5, 2009

If you look at the article from The Crimson (the Harvard newspaper) it talks about a panel at Harvard with the professor teaching the class and some of the stars from the show. HBO is probably licensing the professor to offer viewings of the series. (Since we all know he could not just buy the box set on Amazon and show it in class without HBO’s permission). I doubt the students have to buy anything – except perhaps a fee towards the cost of the license.


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