Communication Studies Course Offerings
2017/18 Proposed Course Offerings
Please see the LORIS Dynamic Schedule
2017/18 Proposed Special Topics Descriptions
CS340: SPECIAL TOPICS
- CS340L: Mobilities
- CS340M: Critical Studies in Health Communication
- Public understandings of what does and does not constitute health and what behaviours promote it are increasingly shaped by communication practices. This course will explore these communication practices, critically assessing the assumptions that underlie them in order to assess how our ideas about health, and attendant ideas about illness or disease, are framed in it and with what affects. We will look to diverse genres of health communication, including public service announcements, direct-to-consumer marketing of pharmaceutical products, and social marketing campaigns, in order to critically study the ways health is represented and how health messages are constructed. We will also look to current examples of communication in case studies that may include Superbugs and antibiotic resistance, outbreaks and pandemics, the dieting and exercise industries, and recent discussions of the microbiome in health and illness.
CS400:SENIOR SEMINAR IN COMMUNICATION STUDIES
The course integrates communication concepts from the humanities, social sciences and media components of the communication studies specialization. Special attention is given to contemporary issues as they affect individuals and society.
- CS400A: Work and Cultural Industries
- This course examines contemporary trends in the world of work in media and cultural industries and beyond. Drawing on political economy, cultural studies, and social theory, the seminar introduces critical perspectives on ongoing transformations in employment conditions, work processes, and labour politics. The course engages with such issues as: the increasing economic importance of creative industries and employment within them; theoretical debates on ‘immaterial labour’ and the ‘feminization of employment’; the ambiguities of occupations and workplaces that promise opportunity for creative self expression; the politics of internships; the restructuring of work through information and communication technologies; high tech outsourcing and the changing global division of labour; networked platforms as a means to mobilize media audiences as a workforce; and media and cultural workers’ collective responses to the challenges they face at work. Throughout the course special emphasis will be placed on the precarious nature of employment as a contested feature of media and cultural work. The seminar will provide students with the opportunity to reflect on issues directly relevant to them as they negotiate their own employment futures.
- CS400D: Political Economy of Art and Architecture
- Art and architecture are usually perceived as purely cultural activities with little connection to economic, political, or social issues. This course will challenge this apolitical construction of cultural production through a discussion of critical art history, spatial politics, the role of museums as social/political/cultural institutions, post colonial theory, globalization, and cultural resistance. Course requirements include a group field project focussing on a specific museum, artist, architect, cultural group, or architectural development.
- CS400I: Music and Society
- In this seminar, we examine a range of research on music in society. Topics will include music’s social and evolutionary origins, the cognitive aspects of musical experience, music's communicative power, politics and music, and the uses people have for music in everyday life. We will pay special attention to certain genres of popular music including heavy metal and jazz. Course pedagogy is pursued through lectures, class seminar discussion, weekly written exercises, and writing assignments. All of these pedagogical elements are oriented toward the explanation of the key ideas and issues in the course and toward the student’s successful completion of the assessment components.
- CS400J: Creative Industries and the City
- Why do creative movements, from film to music to publishing to software development, almost always cluster geographically? Why are major media industries so closely linked to major global cities? How do a city's shape and global connections interact with local specificities to foster creative production? How does urban space shape creative industries from film to music to software development? This class is an exploration of the relationship between creative production, creative industries and the hubs in which they are based, most often a major globally connected city. The class will also look at the representation of cities themselves in media productions, on a global level.
- CS400M: Cultural Industries in Canada
- Canada's cultural industries encompass book, periodical, newspaper and online publishing; radio and television broadcasting; film, television and video production; telecommunications; video game production; the music industry and various work under the umbrella of "new media." These industries represent a major sector of the Canadian economy and exert profound influence on many aspects of Canadian life and on cultures around the world. This course examines these cultural industries in Canada.
- CS400T: Risk Communication
- We live in a world we have come to understand as increasingly “risky,” from the food and water we consume, the viruses and bacteria we encounter, the technologies on which we increasingly depend, and to the global political scene that seems more and more volatile. In the words of Ulrich Beck (1992), we live in what might best be characterized as an emerging “Risk Society.” Whole industries are concerned with the production of knowledges about the risks we confront, while others, primarily the news media, have the task of communicating information concerning risk to the so-called “general public.” In this senior seminar, we will explore the production and dissemination of “knowledges” about risk in what has come to be known as “risk communication.” We will look to the ways that individuals and their behaviours come to be problematized in the production of knowledges around risk as well as the social, political, and cultural implications of such problematization. We will address questions regarding the ways that “information” about risk both feeds out of and informs social and cultural norms, and how we as individuals negotiate and assess risk in our daily lives. Working through case studies that may range from BSE or Mad Cow Disease and HIV/AIDS, the threat of the atomic bomb and the Cold War, the “War on Terrorism,” and to genetically modified foods and the Walkerton water crisis, we will address not only the ways that “information” is produced and communicated but also the strategies we use to respond to or resist information about the risks we face on individual, community, and global levels.
- CS400V: Robotic Intimacies
- This course will explore the growing societal prominence of robots and the emergent field of human–robot communication. While robots have long been a part of human society, especially in relation to areas such as manufacturing, mining, and sea and space exploration, we are seeing an exponential growth of robots being used for other purposes, such as the military and security use of drones and other robot automatons, the use of care robots in the health industry, and the commercial use of robots in the service industry. Robot companions (both animal, humanoid, and other) are proliferating across markets and for use with children, adults, and the elderly. In addition, AI and cyborg experiments are further blurring the lines between biological and synthetic entities. Finally, as we wake daily to headlines about bionic eyes, campaigns against sex robots, racist AI rants, autonomous Google cars, and weaponized sentry bots, we find ourselves inching closer and closer to the science-fictional figurings of how societies where humans and robots co-exist might function—from practical coexistence to utopian/dystopian destinies. We will consider sources from theory to sci-fi to journalism to explore the current state of robotic intimacies in all of these use-cases, addressing related issues such as labour, agency, sexuality, surveillance, imperialism, war, healthcare, ability, and the Singularity, with a dual focus on present discourses and possible futures.
- CS400W: Material Culture as Social Discourse
- What can things communicate and how do we communicate through things? This seminar will invite students to consider the role of material culture in communication. Commencing with but quickly departing from the more familiar object-as-text approach, students will be directed through a number of different but overlapping approaches to the meaningfulness of things, including actor-network theory, consumption studies, and posthumanism. Drawing from multiple disciplines such as philosophy, anthropology, sociology, cultural and media studies, and linguistics, students will be expected to be open to venturing into areas of study that may require further background reading on their part.
- CS400X: Markets, Myths & Media
- This seminar will explore popular representations of the causes and consequences of the recent financial crisis that began in 2007-08, which includes investigating ‘myths’ about ‘markets’ that circulate and often dominate public discussions of economics in general and the crisis in particular. The different media forms that will be explored include popular journalistic accounts, comics and graphic novels, videos and documentaries. Students do not need any specialist knowledge of economics or markets.
- CS400Y: Work Cultures in Tech Ecologies
- Description TBA
CS411: ADVANCED STUDIES IN MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION HISTORY
An examination of the current literature and debates in the subfield of media and communication history. Topics may include media and communication historiography, media archaeology, and periods and thinkers in media and communication history.
- CS411B: Whistleblowers
- This course explores recent high-profile cases of whistleblowers, including Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Chelsea Manning. Taking an historical perspective, it looks at these cases in relation to the phenomenon of the whistleblower as it emerged and developed in the 1970s. It examines this phenomenon in the context of the complex roles played by the mass media and the state in a liberal democracy.
- CS411C: Citizens, Publics, Audiences
- Citizens, Publics, Audiences addresses the role of communication as a resource for individuals as well as for media corporations. Individuals communicate as family members, friends, co-workers, citizens, and as activists of varying types. Media corporations have material interests in communication for, among other things, its connection to individuals as consumers. Citizens, Publics, Audiences examines the tensions between communication as a socio-cultural resource for individuals and communication as a material resource for corporations.
CS412: ADVANCED STUDIES IN MEDIA AND CULTURAL THEORY
An examination of the current literature and debates in the subfield of media and cultural theory. Topics may include discourse analysis, performative theories, gender and representation, rhetorical analyses, new media technologies, theories of meaning and politics of language.
- CS412B: TBA
CS413: ADVANCED STUDIES IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION
An examination of current literature and debates in the subfield of visual communication. Topics may include semiotic and social semiotic approaches to the visual, scientific imaging, lens-based media, information display and design, art, architecture and cultural production.
- CS413C: Analyzing Visual Communication in Multimodal Environments
- The notion of distinct and separate sensory systems can be traced back at least as far as Aristotle’s De Anima whereby each sense is allocated its own distinct organ of the body and medium through which information about its proper-object (colour, sound, etc) is perceived. This conception of distinct and separate senses and corresponding distinct and separate channels has dominated western thinking about communication and the biases of media. Likewise, in semiotics, the tendency has been to treat the process of meaning-making as being channel/sense specific. Quite simply, the world of signs, like the sensorium, was divided into definite semiotic modes such as visual, verbal, auditory, etc. whereby meaning was accomplished in one domain and then added to meanings realized in other modes. The multimodal turn in semiotics has lead to rethinking those assumptions about semiosis and fostered an alternative, ‘affordance’ based approach that looks to how communicators draw upon available resources to communicate in a cross rather than serial-mode fashion. Accordingly, this course explores how visual communication can be analyzed as a multimodal rather than monomodal practice.
CS414: ADVANCED STUDIES IN GLOBAL COMMUNICATION
An examination of current literature and debates in the subfield of global communication studies. Topics may include globalization, intercultural communication and cultural citizenship, political economy and policy, identities and media representation, and non-Western media.
- CS414B: Mimi Sheller`s Mobilities
- This course examines the contribution of Mimi Sheller’s scholarship to knowledge about mobilities at the global level. In 2006, Sheller co-authored The New Mobilities Paradigm, which named a “mobilities turn” in social sciences and humanities research. The Paradigm defined mobilities as the actual or potential flows of bodies, objects, images, ideas, and information. Despite the broad origins, scope, and manifesto of the New Mobilities Paradigm, mobilities research has focussed largely on mobilities in the West. Mimi Sheller’s scholarship has been an exception. In this course, we will examine Sheller’s mobilities research over the past decade, alongside contributions by other mobilities scholars on topics such as tourism mobilities, Caribbean mobilities, international aeromobilities, mobility regimes, migration, mobility justice, sustainable mobilities, and mobilities futures. Also, drawing on the postcolonial and feminist scholarship of Sara Ahmed, Stuart Hall, and others, we will consider how Sheller’s own mobilities, across geographic borders and across the boundaries of academic disciplines for research and collaboration, recapitulate and contest the Western bias of Mobilities Studies.
CS415: ADVANCED STUDIES IN CULTURAL AND CREATIVE INDUSTRIES
An examination of current literature and debates in the subfield of cultural and creative industries. Themes may include labour, policy, the specificity of the cultural commodity, geography, distribution/production processes and networks.
- CS415B: Global Sounds
- Description TBA
CS416: ADVANCED STUDIES IN DIGITAL STUDIES AND SOCIAL MEDIA
An examination of current literature and debates in the subfield of contemporary digital and social media. Topics for study may include digital networks and communicative power, the internet and the emergence of social media platforms, broadcast vs. social media, media convergence, and “big data.”
- CS416C: TBA
- CS416D: TBA