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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Misti L. Williams
COM 306
Seattle Campus

Media, Society, and Political Identity I&S

Explores how society and culture are both represented in and shaped by communication technologies and media content. Media include film, advertising, news, entertainment television, talk shows, and the Internet. Explores how media represent and affect individual identity, values, and political engagement. Offered: jointly with POL S 306.

Class description

The purpose of this course is to explore how consumerism and modern marketing practices are transforming the nature of politics and democratic citizenship in the United States. As citizens face an ever-expanding stream of media content, advertisers become more reliant on branding and products based on the personal identities of consumers. This then changes the nature of politics, as citizens become more interested in private life and personalized appeals to individual identity, than in abstract notions of a "public good." As a result, political appeals utilize the same branding and advertising practices used by commercial marketers. The course will also critically examine the increasing backlash against such practices and question whether these movements represent a viable alternative for citizens with the goal of returning to a less commercialized public life. Students will be asked to critically examine the media's social and cultural power and to question the role the media play in their everyday lives.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Students will be graded on two take-home exams and participation in class discussion. Students are expected to do *all* of the reading and come to class ready to discuss the required reading materials as well as examples of the course concepts found outside of class.

Exam #1: 40% Exam #2: 40% Participation: 20%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Misti L. Williams
Date: 06/25/2008