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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Communications (COMM)

COMM 411 Cultural Aspects of the Mass Media (3) The mass media as creators and critics of mass culture in American life; relationships between the media and mass culture.

COMM 411 Cultural Aspects of the Mass Media (3)

This course examines the mass media as creators and critics of mass culture in American life and the relationship between the media and the mass culture.

What are the mass media? What is culture? What are the relationships between mass media and culture? How do mass media help construct the way we live our lives? Do the mass media reflect or condition social reality? How does one study or engage the mass media? Why would you want to anyway? This course is designed to answer some of these questions by promoting a critical understanding of the mass media from historical, social, philosophical, cultural, and economic perspectives. Ultimately, the course will equip students to address these opening questions on their own terms, without simply allowing the mass media to provide their own pictures of how they should be understood. One of the goals of this course is to denaturalize the way people view the mass media-as simply a given, or as pure unmediated reality. Media culture has been and continues to be made. Course materials and lectures will provide several ways of thinking about and studying the conditions of media making and interpretation.

Students are encouraged to think as broadly and creatively as possible: to this end, the course will make use of research across a wide range of academic fields such as sociology, history, ethnography, cultural studies, literature, politics, gender studies, economics, art, and philosophy. The course is a communications elective for the Journalism and Telecommunications majors and the Media Studies minor.

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Social and Behavioral Science
Effective: Spring 2009
Prerequisite: 6 credits in the arts or the humanities; and 3 credits selected from the followingCOMM 100, COMM 110, COMM 118, COMM 150, COMM 180, COMM 251, COMM 260W, COMM 320 orCOMM 370

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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