This course deals with issues of racial stratification and inequality in the United States, and the ways in which we understand them - the stories we tell ourselves about WHY the world is organized as it. It deals with both the reality of race as well as the way that reality is represented, and why, as a society, we refuse to seriously address its disastrous consequences. (Gen. Ed. SB)
This course looks at how the industries of media and public relations have been used as instruments of social control and propaganda by economic and political elites. Examined will be the following: the historical roots of the public relations industry in government propaganda efforts; the contemporary influence of the public relations industry on public debate of social issues; the role of public relations in distorting discussion of the military/industrial complex; the effects of structuring media systems around the needs of advertisers; the role of media and public relations in how the public understands both domestic and international issues (such as war).
This course will examine the relationship between commercialized systems of representation and the way that gender and sexuality are thought of and organized in the culture. In particular, we will look at how commercial imagery impacts upon gender identity and the process of gender socialization. Central to this discussion will be the related issues of sexuality and sexual representation (and the key role played by advertising).
\This course looks at advertising from the viewpoint of social theory (that is, of how we can understand advertising's broad political, economic, social, and cultural role in modern society). The course will broadly examine the social role of advertising in consumer societies with a central focus its relationship to: the construction of individual identity, the quest for happiness; the evolving environmental crisis based on depleting resources and climate change; the process of globalization; the commercialization of childhood; the definition of health and wellness; and the crisis of financial debt.
Media play a central role in politics, economics, culture, and our everyday lives. Our key concern is to understand both the direct and subtle operations of media power in society today: How do media construct meaning? How new technologies transform our most intimate and personal relationships? How do data-driven corporations track and monetize their users often without their consent or political accountability? This class introduces students to different media studies traditions of medium theory, political economy, representations, and audience studies that examine media as (respectively) technologies, institutions, narratives, and audiences / users. The class takes an insistently global approach in analyzing the diversity and plurality of media cultures around the world. We also take a normative perspective in evaluating good and bad media practice in the ways that technologies and narratives can on the one hand deepen social inequalities and on the other hand challenge systems of oppression and amplify the voices of vulnerable communities.