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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2017-18

MALS 361 Global Media and Culture

This course provides students the opportunity to study, discuss, and write about global media and the transformation of cultures and relations between peoples since the 1980s. Although most historians argue that globalization is an old process that began with the establishment of inter-regional trade many centuries ago, they also agree with other social scientists who see this most recent phase of globalization as qualitatively different from earlier stages of the process. Indeed it seems fair to say that what most people today mean when they use the word “globalization” would not exist without the new global media.

Perhaps the most important features of recent globalization are the continuous development of new media (especially the internet and social media) and the rapid global diffusion of those media. In this course students will study these subjects and how they are involved in ongoing changes in everyday life, social relations, high and popular cultures, and the practice of politics all around the world. Seminar meetings for most of the term will consist primarily of discussion of readings, films, and videos assigned to all students, and at the end of the term discussion the particular research projects done by each student.

This is not a lecture course. To be successful, all members of the seminar have to participate in discussions of course materials. Students are required to finish assigned readings and videos as preparation for in-class discussions. Readings include several required books, as well as articles that are available online. Videos include documentary and feature films on reserve at the Jones Media Center. Participation in the seminar’s discussions will count for 25% of the final grade.

Students will be required to write a series of three related papers focused on global media in a particular country. Students with good second language skills are encouraged to select a country in which English is not the native tongue. Having each student focus the independent component of their work in the course on media developments and culture in a particular country will enable the whole seminar to construct a unique global understanding of our subject that is grounded in many details drawn from many parts of the world by the students. Each student will report first on media development in the country they have chosen in a short factual report. Their second paper will describe and discuss the ways media in their particular country have covered a global news story of importance (ie. the election of Donald Trump). The student’s final paper on their particular country will present research on a narrowly defined media subject of special interest to them.


Ronald Edsforth; Joanne Devine