This course list contains courses that students interested in Global Media Studies may want to enroll in.
Communications 159: First-Year Seminar: Media Microclimates
In the twentieth century, the United States became an economic and military super power that boasted a profitable arsenal of media/communication technologies and a widely circulated popular culture that altered the place of“America”in the world. Meanwhile, particularly toward the end of the twentieth-century,with the advent of satellite TV and the Internet, the nation-state as the locus of modern politics and socio-cultural identity was changing. Global capitalism, human migration, and mass communication and media circulated with increasing breadth and intensity across borders and frontiers; The peoples of the world were coming together in new physical and virtual settings, particularly mediated ones. This seminar uses historical and contemporary case studies and theory to help you begin to make sense of global processes of change and of mass-mediated communication’s role in these changes.It considers how the spread of U.S. popular culture and its appropriation by others has played overseas. We will examine processes through which European and non-Western cultures have blocked, taken up,and otherwise transfigured the forms of U.S. commercial cultural production at the national, transnational, and sub-national level.This seminar is designed to introduce you to critical terms and problems in processes of globalization and identity formation that are changing the ties that bind and differentiate citizens and peoples of the 21st century world.It is also designed to give you a college-level introduction to performing original research.
Communications 261: Views on the News
This course offers a framework for thoughtful understanding of processes involved in the production,dissemination, and reception of mediated news content. We will examine sociological, psychological, and critical perspectives on the factors influencing the content, structure, and effectiveness of news in our civic lives. You will learn about various social structures, practices, and forces that shape news content, including individual, organizational, political, economic, cultural, and institutional factors.Through this course, you will gain a better understanding of the profound changes, and current challenges, facing journalism practitioners and news consumers, as well as the innovative prospects for the field.
Communications 271: Revolutions in Communication
This course examines the emergence of selected communications/information technologies from ancient times to the present. We will explore the rise of communications/media technology and information production across pre-electronic, electronic, and analogue/digital spheres with an eye toward understanding patterns of historical continuity and rupture in the formation of what might be called the contemporaryU.S. media “climate”and its carryover into the ‘networked’ world-at-large.We will speak of “revolutions in communication” in several ways: First, to analyze changes, continuities, and cyclical features of innovation and uptake of communication/media technologies, information systems, and media forms;Second,to consider “revolutions” as processes (social, political, technological,cultural),which tend to be sudden, unpredictable, and difficult to compare. When, where, why, and how revolutions“start,”not to mention when or where they “end”and their consequences, cannot be determined in advance, nor in the midst of their turbulent unfolding;Third, while techno-boosters in the media today (marketers, pundits)are quick to announce the ‘revolution’ of the latest technical tool, it is often the case that the true revolution(or its lack)only becomes visible in retrospect, which brings us back to the value of historical perspectives to put what we see today into context. This survey will give you a foundation in modern communications history. It will help you to see communication technology’s place in U.S. society and culture; to recognize continuities and discontinuities between past and present communication systems in their social, cultural, and political forms;and to distinguish between superficial ‘innovation’ and deeper evolutionary patterns and predicaments in form, organization, and character of modern communications.
Communications 325: Media and Globalization
This course offers students a framework for exploring the media’s role in processes of globalization and how the globalization of media shapes the socio-cultural, political, economic, ethical and moral dimensions of our lives in this world. Under the impact of new technological advances and transnational flows of people, culture, and capital, media artifacts routinely move across national borders with audiences playing an increasingly participatory role. While paying close attention to audiences and the relationship between media circulation, geography and cultural identities,we will also focus on the ways in which contemporary media industries are grappling with the challenges and opportunities of globalization. Within these broad frameworks, topics explored will include: media and modernity, globalization and hybridity, transnational storytelling, media and refugees, terrorism and social media, and global brands.
Communications 371: Media, Culture and Society
The course is an introduction to the academic study of the media as it developed in the last century. There were two key moments in this development: a sociology of mass communication was established at Columbia, NY, in the 1930s and the study of culture began in Britain in the 1950s, developing into ‘media studies’ in the 1970s. These two moments mark the beginning of the American ‘effects’ tradition, and the British ‘cultural studies’ approach to the media. Today they remain the two mainstream approaches to the study of the media in North America and Europe. Their theories and methods form the basis of most of the advanced courses on communication that we teach in the Department of Communication Studies.Our approach will be historical: not simply ‘the history’ of the development of Mass Communication and Cultural Studies but also why did they develop where they did and when? Why was the question of the media posed as a social question in pre-war America, and as a cultural question in post-war Britain? Media, society and culture: these are the three key terms that the course examines, while including two alternative approaches to the study of media that remain influential today: the Canadian communication and technology approach and the German critical theory (or Frankfurt School) tradition.We will deepen our understanding of these developments by a parallel study, after the mid-term break, of the impact of television on American society and culture from its beginnings through to the present. Each week you will view in class and discuss in your sections popular fictional TV shows, decade by decade, from the 1950s onwards.For your third assignment you will each choose a TV drama program from any decade in the second half of the last century and discuss the ways in which American social and cultural life at that time is portrayed in your program of choice. Thus you will apply what you have learnt from the sociology of mass communication and media studies to the analysis of television output.
Communications 404: Media Events in A Globalizing World
This course examines the media coverage of news events that have attracted large international audiences. These exceptional news events interrupt the flow of time, and provide us with uplifting or traumatic experiences and memories. The course’s case studies will include the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Beijing Olympic Games, the September 11 attacks, Princess Diana’s funeral, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and others. We will examine the events’ journalistic coverage and their global social remembrance.
Communications 405: Participatory & Public Culture in the Digital Era
Can voting for a singer in a reality show spread and teach democratic principles? Is curating a social justice Tumblr real work that can make a real-world difference? This upper-level undergraduate seminar will explore these questions and the ways in which scholars, artists, and activists have tried to understand, promote, and problematize participatory and public culture. At stake is how we, as a society, define and encourage meaningful civic engagement and activism in the digital era through the production and sharing of media. The course will also give students hands-on experience exploring and creating digital and traditional media associated with the ideas of participatory and public culture, such as Tumblrs and zines. Key terms with which we will engage to varying degrees: public culture, participatory culture, public sphere, civic engagement, identity work, mobile publics, hacktivism, “ slacktivism,” crowdsourcing, curation, “ hypermedia” and ubiquitous media, and fandom.
Communications 405: Women & Islam: The Politics of Representation
In the Western imagination, Muslim women are often seen as oppressed by Islam and in need of saving by the modern West. Monolithic ideas on women and Islam have been used to justify political positions ranging from support for the war in Afghanistan to symbolic exclusion from citizenship of “Arabo-Muslims” in France. Such representations often have significant consequences in both national and transnational contexts, justifying exclusion of Muslims and Muslim women from full citizenship, and denying them recognition, respect and rights, including to religious practice. This course explores past and present constructions of women in Islam, including study of the foundations of contemporary thinking around Islam and gender, the complex sociology of religious and gender identity, and the political stakes of representations of the Muslim woman, with attention to the consequences of media representation and stereotyping. Goals for student learning include an understanding of these elements
Communications 408: Comparative Digital Politics
This course explores several important ways in which digital media and internet infrastructure are shaping and constraining citizen participation and social organizing in developing and emerging countries. The course will introduce the topic of comparative politics and the comparative method to communication and media studies students interested in global communication.The course will balance theory, methods, and case studies to understand mediated crowd behaviors such as protest cascades,and social movements being facilitated by ICTs and digital media. The readings and discussions address important findings in a rapidly changing field. To address these complex relationships between diverse actors and the tensions between them, this course is organized around four themes: 1) user-centric perspectives to understand modern forms of social organizing; 2) infrastructure-centric perspectives to understand the affordances and constraints of digital technologies on organizational forms; 3) comparative cases from a range of developing countries from authoritarian to emerging democracies; and 4) contemporary tensions arising between technology activists and the infrastructure stakeholders attempting to re-structure global communication systems.
Communications 432: Foreign News Coverage
This course investigates coverage of foreign news as a reflection of the structure and function of media systems. What factors influence media decisions on covering events overseas? What criteria do the media use for deciding which events to report and at what length, and how valid are these criteria? What value systems do they reflect? How successfully do the media make foreign news relevant to American readers, listeners, and viewers? What special problems do foreign correspondents face?
Communications 440: Global Iconic Events
This course examines the media coverage of news events that have attracted large international audiences. These exceptional news events interrupt the flow of time, and provide us with uplifting or traumatic experiences and memories. The course’s case studies include Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, Steve Jobs’ death; the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Beijing Olympic Games, the September 11 attacks, Princess Diana’s funeral, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and others. We will examine the events’ journalistic coverage and their global social remembrance.
Communications 455: Global Visual Cultures
This course examines the transnational flows of visual media.We will survey the growing literature of visual culture in multiple academic disciplines, while considering how images travel across cultural boundaries. The course’s case studies are organized around feelings we experience in all parts of the world: fascination, fear, admiration, solidarity, grief, hope and outrage, among others. The course raises the questions of which visuals do and do not resonate with international audiences, and why certain visuals resonate more than others.
Communications 458: Media and Identity in Global Context
This course focuses on transnational media flows in order to explore changing dynamics of race-relations and ethnic identities in an era of increasing global connectivity. Drawing from various scholarly traditions, we will examine how the production, circulation, and consumption of media serve as key sites for negotiating race relations and shaping constructions of socio-cultural and political identities. Exploring flows of film, television, and new media within and between North America, U.K., South Asia, the Caribbean and other contexts, we will tackle a number of themes and issues including: patterns of migration, representations of identity and difference, “ethnic”cultural production, disporic youth cultures, gendered dimensions of race-relations, relationship between class and race, and state policies. Students will also have an opportunity to conduct independent research on these topics as a final project for the course.
Communications 466: Global Digital Politics
In much of the world, in advanced and industrialized democracies to developing and democratizing societies, there is no longer an issue of whether the internet affects politics—but rather, where, why, and with what consequences. These consequences are also complex, where the digital politics of local contexts are increasingly determined by the decisions of stakeholders residing in altogether different countries, regions, and economies.How do we make sense of these global and transnational changes, and the world as it is being re-wired today? In this course, we will survey the growing literature of digital politics in international contexts, while considering how these lessons involve and affect other stakeholders in interconnected and disparate ways.The case studies for this capstone are the most advanced and cutting edge analyses available to date, and our discussions will also engage with current events as they unfold through the semester and in recent years. Your task in this course is to draw upon frameworks and concepts encountered in your time in communication studies, and apply and identify their capabilities and limitations towards understanding global digital politics today.
Communications 820: Citizenship After Television
Communications 820: Media Audiences
The sheer pace of technological change and the phenomenal global expansion of media and communications over the past 2-3 decades have raised a number of questions concerning what we do with the media and how media shape the socio-cultural, political, economic, ethical and moral dimensions of our lives in this world. Increasing levels of media convergence – technological, industrial, and cultural –also pose challenges for how one might go about studying and theorizing ‘audiences.’ This course will take a comparative approach – across media forms, across national contexts, and across historical periods – to understanding media audiences.Drawing primarily on scholarship in media and cultural studies, and in closely related disciplines including film studies, sociology, and anthropology, we will approach the study of media audiences through a set of keywords. Instead of a long march through time—starting with print and early broadcasting and moving up to new media—we will instead cut across time periods by focusing our attention on keywords/concepts that have been central to audience studies. For instance, we will discuss ‘audience as commodity’ by examining the politics of television audience measurement and set that in relation to contemporary discussions concerning algorithm-driven digital media systems and ‘big data’. In doing so, we will pay attention to methodological issues as well and students will have an opportunity to develop a proposal for an audience-focused research project.
Communications 820: Sexual Publics
This course investigates what Communication as a discipline brings to the study of sexual publics. Rather than assuming sex is a private manner, we will analyze the ways publics are constituted through sexual practices and representations; how changing ideas about sex have been communicated to “the public”; and how these discourses of sexuality construct their audience. We will consider sexual cultures from a transnational perspective and in historical context. The course will address how structural hierarchies such as gender, race, sexual identification, age, and location help to shape sexual publics.
Communications 820: Botz, Goz, & Monsters: Technological Mediations/History/Culture
History, like communication studies, can “pass” as both humanistic and social scientific, which creates opportunities, but also conundrums for historically oriented analysis of mediated communication. This interdisciplinary seminar introduces students to selected perspectives, conceptualizations, and critical modes of engagement with the interplay of technology, culture, and media/communication. It incorporates readings and case studies from a range of literatures,including social and cultural history, cultural studies, sociology, and science and technology studies (STS). The aims of the course are to explore ways in which history and critical theory have converged on questions/problems surrounding the role of media and communication in everyday life; to acquaint students with ways of thinking historically about the nature of contemporary phenomena, and to prepare students for further historically contextualized study and research.