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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jennifer R. Mcclearen
COM 451
Seattle Campus

Mass Media and Culture

Empirical and theoretical framework for analyzing role of mass media in cultural change. Historical and contemporary cases consider ethnic, gender, class, and urban-rural conflicts and cultural roles of sports, elections, and national rituals. Focus on visual electronic media.

Class description

James Carey defined communication as “a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired and transformed.” In this course, we will discuss this “symbolic process” as it relates to mass media and culture. Media programming, images, and technologies permeate culture and society in ways that are visible and invisible to the average citizen. The goal of this course is to pay particular attention to the invisible and understand how “reality is produced, maintained, repaired, and transformed” through the reciprocal relationship between media and culture.

We will approach the study of media and culture through a “critical” cultural perspective. Critical does not mean fault-finding or negative; rather, critical refers to an intellectual traditional that studies power, privilege, and difference within political, economic, and cultural spheres. As such, we will examine how power operates through media, who wields media power, and how ideologies are constructed and contested via media.

The course will cover four units: Frameworks for the Critical Study of Media and Culture Media Culture 2.0 Contemporary Ideologies in the Media Media Activism

Student learning goals

Articulate a nuanced understanding of the reciprocal relationship between media and culture

Apply foundational critical theories of representation, audiences, and political economy to media texts, industries, and technologies

Evaluate your own media usage and its impact on your participation in U.S. culture

Deconstruct the ideologies embedded within contemporary media texts, practices, and technologies

Increase digital literacy of the new media technologies you use in your daily life

Examine opportunities for media activism on individual and community levels

General method of instruction

Course Objectives:

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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 Jennifer R. Mcclearen
Date: 06/25/2013