American Soap Operas

A hand turns on a small vintage television set.

Tuning into soap operas has become a daily ritual for television watchers around the world. (Photo by jof on Flickr.)



MIT Course Number

CMS.603 / CMS.995

As Taught In

Spring 2008


Undergraduate / Graduate

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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

The television landscape has changed drastically in the past few years; nowhere is this more prevalent than in the American daytime serial drama, one of the oldest forms of television content. This class examines the history of these "soap operas" and their audiences by focusing on the production, consumption, and media texts of soaps. The class will include discussions of what makes soap operas a unique form, the history of the genre, current experimentation with transmedia storytelling, the online fan community, and comparisons between daytime dramas and primetime serials from 24 to Friday Night Lights, through a study of Procter & Gamble's As the World Turns.

Related Content

Sam Ford. CMS.603 American Soap Operas. Spring 2008. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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