Ronald Stanley Krabill
Examines a variety of issues involved in understanding different forms of media and their impact on our lives, in contexts spanning from local to global, using a wide range of theoretical, disciplinary, and methodological approaches.
Spring 2013 Issues in Media Studies Human Rights Public Culture
What are the popular discourses around human rights, whether in mass media or daily conversation? How can those discourses be influenced? And how do media technologies, from television to twitter, shape the possibilities for influencing those discourses? We will take questions of both the form and content of media seriously, looking at case studies from around the globe. We will also explore the meaning of the terms "public" (as an adjective) and "publics" (as a plural noun), thinking through not only how human rights activists can communicate their ideas effectively, but also how new publics can be generated through discourses of human rights. Students may also have an opportunity to engage in a substantive, human rights-oriented project aimed at influencing human rights discourse locally.
Student learning goals
To develop critical and comparative media skills.
To become familiar with fundamental debates in human rights.
To become familiar with fundamental debates in theories of public scholarship, the public sphere, and the formations of multiple publics.
To gain experience in the practical issues surrounding attempts to influence discourses of human rights.
General method of instruction
This course will involve extensive reading of challenging, theoretical texts. Students will be expected to come to class having given the assigned readings some thought in preparation for discussion. In addition to general participation, students will serve as discussants for the readings. This policy comes out of the instructor’s belief that the best learning is collective as well as individual. Class discussion is not only a way to share what has been learned, but also a chance to ask questions, experiment with new ideas and explore issues which are unclear. The instructor will also utilize group work, film, guest lectures, and other methods of instruction.
There are no prerequisites.
Class assignments and grading
A number of short writing assignments will be assigned throughout the course, in order for students to demonstrate both their comprehension of and, more importantly, their ability to interrogate the readings. Students will also be asked to complete a larger project focusing on a particular human rights issue. The project will involve further research, applying media and human rights theories, and facilitating course session(s) on the chosen topic. Some quizzes and tests may also be assigned as necessary.