COM 382 students leave messages on the Peace Wall in Belfast.

COM 473 The Beautiful Game: How Soccer Explains Media

Soccer (football) is more than the beautiful game. As one manager famously said, “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.” It has become a ritualized global spectacle more widely practiced than the world’s largest religions. The game is also highly stylized and curated entertainment.

This course looks at soccer as culture and commodity practiced and performed through media – television, journalism, literature, documentary film, photography, art and fashion. We will study the culture and history of soccer to better understand the ways that football fandom is intertwined with national identity, class, race and gender. Course texts  include Among the Thugs (a seminal journalistic account of football hooligans), British and Scottish football fanzines, scholarly articles, documentaries and podcasts. No knowledge of soccer – its rules, players, tactics or leagues – is expected or required.

COM 200 Communication Theory and Practice

This introduction to communication and digital media studies focuses on various ways people employ language, image, and more cinematic means for communicative purposes. Through a semester long class project, students will learn the basics of online writing, audio and video production and digital photography. While doing so, students will examine how communication technologies impact the relationship between media audiences, producers, and content.

COM 201 Ethics in Communications

This course explores the impact of these changes on our public discourse, our relationships with powerful institutions and with each other. We critically examine issues such as free speech, copyright, digital divides, privacy and the impact of technology on legal rights. Along the way we discuss photography, journalism and music, among other topics. This course serves as an introduction to the complicated issues raised by the proliferation of digital media.

COM 371 Civic Media

This course focuses on what people and organizations are doing – or not doing – with communicative power to promote civic action. We study how citizens, community groups and governments are using digital tools and platforms to create “civic media,” any media – from graffiti and murals to low-power FM radio and Twitter – at the intersection of participatory communication and civic action.

COM 473 Crime, Justice and Media

This course looks at media narratives of crime and justice. We study how those narratives have impacted sentencing, incarceration, policy and law. We then help produce new narratives, stories of redemption, through interviews with men and women who had served life-without-parole sentences and recently returned home. The course includes substantial work outside of class, including at least one trip to Graterford prison to talk to men serving life sentences.

COM 465 Bearing Witness: Photography and Social Change

This course examines the impact of photography on social movements and social issues from the early 20th Century to the present. Social issues exist in a nest of mediated content from newspaper and magazine articles to tweets and photographs. It is often photographs that last the longest in our collective cultural memory.

COM 382 Peace, Reconciliation and Community Media in Northern Ireland

This course combines a short course on audio production and community media and a survey on audio work done about Northern Ireland with a 10-day trip there at the end of the semester. We will focus on the role of the media in the reconciliation and peace process in country with a look specifically at the role of community media.

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