By some measures, media studies has not had a strong tradition of foregrounding authorship, in comparison to literary and film studies’ robust and even contentious traditions. At times, those traditions have influenced media scholarship. But in analyses of television, video games, social media, transmedia, and other forms, some media scholars have set aside the preoccupation with singular authors that is commonplace throughout literary and film studies. In doing so, we have regularly instead made visible the interplay of corporate imprimatur, creative and technical personnel, and active audiences. And yet other media scholars have engaged with author theories in a limited manner, adapting them to television’s mode of production, and focusing on a small set of individual auteurs. Why is the author so categorically emphasized in regard to some media texts and products—and not others? That is, why is an author? Why has media studies taken approaches that differ from those of our apparent disciplinary cousin, film studies, or what has been at stake in our limited engagements with those approaches? What is gained, and what may be lost, in each approach? The answers to each of these questions are quite entangled.

This essay may be found on page 21 of the printed volume.

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