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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Nancy Rivenburgh
SIS 490
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Content varies from quarter to quarter.

Class description

Media and Peace

Looking back over the past century we have seen both the promise and peril of media in relation to war and peace. While there has been much scholarly attention to the media’s role in war, there is little concerning the media in relation to peace. This course investigates the complex relationships among the media, journalistic practice, and our understanding and pursuit of peace. Students will conduct original research on topics including: how media ‘define’ peace; media coverage of peace activists, media employed in peacebuilding efforts, citizen-based – and UNESCO - initiatives to employ media to create ‘cultures of peace’ and more. In addition, students engage in the practice of public scholarship by producing two issues of a webzine, for public distribution, on the topic of the media and peace.

Student learning goals

- Students will become conversant in the many ways that media are employed in the pursuit of peace around the world. They will be able to offer both examples and analyses of what’s going on.

- Students will be able to identify particular sources and types of journalistic bias that affect media presentations of war and peace.

- Students will understand the key steps in conducting original research; they will collect data, analyze, and present results in both oral and written formats.

- Students will be able to translate research into written and oral material aimed at educating the public about the media and peace.

General method of instruction

This course is a research (i.e., task force style) workshop heavily dependent on student initiative, interaction, and teamwork. The professor acts primarily as a project facilitator and advisor, although there will be occasional lectures given throughout the quarter.

Recommended preparation

Introductory Communication or International Studies courses are highly recommended. A familiarity with basic research methods is a plus.

Class assignments and grading

Assignments include two team-produced reports (a progress report and final), the creation of an annotated bibliography, four professional-quality, magazine-style articles (1/2 – 3 pages long), and two team presentations (progress and final).

All activities have point values, including participation. There are no exams.


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 M Jane Meyerding
Date: 10/07/2009