Media & Communication Structure Courses


COM 205 - Asian/American Media

1 course unit

Students will examine diverse Asian media representations in cinema, television, and new media in relationship to the geopolitical and community history of Asian diaspora in the U.S.  It will critically interrogate stereotypical images of Asian/Asian-American identities, culture, religions, and politics as well as representations that challenge and contest such stereotypes.  In doing so, the course will locate the politics of Asian media representation within a broader historical, political, cultural, and aesthetic context that includes issues of cross-cultural appropriation, globalization, immigration, nationalism and citizenship, race, ethnicity, gender, class, and sexuality. 

Meets general academic requirements SL and DE. 


COM 210 - Media Law

1 course unit

Knowledge of media law and the First Amendment is key for daily consumers of news and the Internet, including print, radio, advertising and electronic media outlets. This course navigates the legal landscape as it relates to communications, including important concepts such as defamation and slander, confidentiality, liability, advertising and privacy. Students will examine the history and case law behind these topics and discuss both real world and hypothetical examples within the changing media and advertising fields. Understanding the delicate balance between the rights of news gatherers and advertisers, and the rights of the subject, will help students become more savy media consumers and professionals.


COM 244, 245 - Media & Social Movements

1 course unit

Examines the interrelationship between mass media and twentieth century social movements in the United States.  How have actors within social movements used mass media to raise awareness, mobilize, and/or demand redress?  How have various mass media portrayed those movements, actors, and events?  Using an historical approach, we will explore how context - technological change, political, social, and economic climates - deeply influence how mass media and social movements interact.  Primary attention will be given to social movements during the age of the Cold War (1945-1990), including the Civil Rights/Black Power, the New Left, the New Right, Feminist, and Gay Rights Movements.  Students will be challenged to consider local examples of present-day social change advocacy in relation to media use and representation. 

   Meets general academic requirement HU (and W when offered as 245).

COM 312 - Media Industries

1 course unit

Considers the forces (legal, political, economic, historical, and cultural) that shape what we watch on television, read in books, or hear on the radio.  Explores a wide range of print and electronic media industries as well as developing media like the Internet.  Economic and critical analysis is used to examine both the institutional forces and individualized decisions that ultimately shape the content and format of mass media messages.  Selected topics include media conglomeration, target marketing, media integration and digital television, and globalization of media markets. 


COM 314 - Audience Analysis

1 course unit

Examines the concept of audiences from a variety of qualitative and quantitative research perspectives: as “victims,” users, subcultures, and market commodities.  Television ratings, public opinion polls, and other strategies for measuring audience feedback are analyzed and assessed. 


COM 316 - Propaganda & Promotional Cultures

1 course unit

Examines the historical development, social roles, communicative techniques, and media of propaganda.  Thematic emphasis varies from semester to semester with case studies drawn from wartime propaganda, political campaigns, advertising, and public relations. 

Meets general academic requirement SL.

COM 319 - Play & Interactive Media

1 course unit

Examines videogames as a theoretically contested object and pervasive cultural form.   Considering questions of play, pleasure, narrative, computation, genre, art, industry, embodiment, violence, race, gender, and sexuality, students will closely play videogames and critically analyze them in terms of their formal structure and aesthetics as well as their social and ideological contexts. 


COM 341 - Social Media & the Self

1 course unit

Explores the performance of identity on social networking sites like Facebook and Tumblr, against the backdrop of the history of consumer culture.  A core theme is the tension and overlap between ideals of authenticity and self-possession.  Other themes include subcultural style, emotional labor in the workplace, and self-help culture.  Students explore the online self with the emergence of the internet and into the Facebook era, with an emphasis on changing definitions of public and private, algorithmic memory, gender and sexuality, and the economics of sharing. 


COM 344 - Documentary Film & Social Justice

1 course unit

Examines documentary and other non-fiction based modes of film, video, and digital media production and the assumptions these forms make about truth and authenticity and how they shape our understandings of the world.  Both historical and contemporary forms will be considered. 

   Meets general academic requirement AR.

COM 346 - Exploratory Cinema

1 course unit

Examines the origin and growth of “avant-garde” cinema.  Traces the history of film and video art from the early 1920s to the present, focusing on its structural evolution, thematic shifts, coexistence with commercial cinema, and its impact on contemporary media. 

   Meets general academic requirement HU.

COM 350 - Children & Communication

1 course unit

This course investigates the meanings of media in children’s lives.  It adopts a cultural historical approach to understanding the role of media in children’s cognitive, social, and moral development.  Looking at children’s interactions with media artifacts, it considers how childhood is constituted by the languages and images of media and situates these interactions within the broader political economic context constructing the child consumer.  Children’s media studied include television programs, video and computer games, films, books, toys, and the Internet. 


COM 370 - Popular Culture & Communication

1 course unit

Traces the development of popular forms with emphasis on the ways that social class has structured access, use, and creation of cultural artifacts and practices.  Topics explored include both commercial and non-commercial forms of amusements, leisure, and entertainment. 

Prerequisite(s): COM 201 Media & Society.


COM 372, 373 - Race & Representation

1 course unit

Explores the social construction of the concept of race and barriers to communication erected by prejudice, discrimination, and marginalization of minority voices.  Examines topics in multicultural, cross-cultural, and interpersonal communication as well as analysis of documents, personal narratives, and media images.  Primary emphasis is placed upon African American experience in the U.S. 

   Meets general academic requirement DE (and W when offered as 373).

COM 374 - Gender, Communication, & Culture

1 course unit

This course explores how culture establishes, maintains, and cultivates gender through forms of social movements, communication, and institutional structures, particularly commercialized media.  Students will examine how youth and adults are socialized to think, talk, and make sense in American culture; the implications of these differences for the construction of gendered identities (e.g., masculinity, femininity, transsexuality), communication, and relationships; and the construction of gender in media, including digital and print advertising, television programs, the Internet, books, magazines, video games, and the cinema. 

Prerequisite(s): COM 201 Media & Society.


COM 378, 379 - Sport, Culture, & Media

1 course unit

Explores the cultural artifacts, historical developments, and related systems of power that comprise sport media.  Students observe, document, and analyze mediated sport and its prominence in our cultural environment.  Includes analysis of the conventions of sports journalism (electronic and print) and transformations in those arenas.  Emphasizes writing. 

   Prerequisite(s): COM 201 Media & Society.
   Meets general academic requirement W when offered as 379.


COM 450 - Dublin Seminar (Sp 2020)

1 course unit

The Dublin Seminar is offered every spring by the Resident Director of the Media & Communication and Film Studies dedicated study abroad program in the Dublin, Republic of Ireland.  The course is taught at Dublin City University in an accelerated format.  Each spring has its own focal topic, designated by the faculty member, and may include mobile media, community media, image ethics, media spaces, or contemporary European cinema. 


COM 470 - Media & Communication Honors Seminar

1 course unit

Each year this course will have a different thematic focus which will allow honors and non-honors seniors to engage with faculty and visiting lecturers in challenging dialogues and research experiences, culminating in the production and presentation of an original research project or creative work based on the seminar theme. Provides students with extensive opportunities to work closely with faculty mentors in developing their research project and creative work. Fall only.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of the instructor.


FLM 336 - African American Cinema

1 course unit

This course surveys African American filmmaking from the silent ear to the present, along with a few films that represent the broader African Diaspora. In addition, readings put all the films in the context of theoretical discussions concerning what constitutes “black,” “African,” or “Third Cinema,” politically and aesthetically. As the course proceeds chronologically, it briefly demonstrates images of African Americans in mainstream Hollywood films, but focuses primarily on how filmmakers of African descent have sought to respond to mainstream representations and create their own narratives and styles. The emphasis is on narrative films,

Attendance at weekly screenings is required.
Meets general academic requirement DE.


Special Topics Courses

Special Topics Courses are not offered every year, but still count toward the major.  Check the Curiculum Checklist or with your advisor to see what special topics are availble.