Course Description

This course provides an overview of some contemporary debates about theoretical approaches to the study of communications. Special attention will be paid to how digital media, environmental concerns, individual and collective identity intersect with media and communication.

The course is organized as a weekly seminar that will combine lecture, class discussions and occasional screenings. The objectives of the course are to present the major conceptual issues in contemporary communication research, and to encourage an analytic and critical reflection on these issues. No particular background beyond a general familiarity with the concepts in communication studies and upper-year standing in an undergraduate program.

Since Communication Studies deals with a wide range of topics, the models and theories that will be discussed in the course will be treated as part of the broader field of social theory; this means that it will be necessary to think about the theories and concepts in communications as part of theories and concepts about society and its structure as a whole. And since many of theories we will discuss are the product of the development of ideas over long periods of time, the course will also be placing many of these theories in their historical context. By the end of the course students will be expected to be able to use these broader social theories to more fully understand the implications of claims made about communications.

The course is part of a pair of related courses. The second of the pair, COMN 3100: Foundational Communication Theory, is offered in the Winter Term.

The course outline for this course can be found here (password required.)