Schedule • MW 3:35-4:40 section

Week 1 – Civics, media and the new Normal

Aug. 24

Aug. 26

Reading 1. (Include this number in the heading of your reading notes entry). These reading notes are due today so you should have read the two things below for today’s class.

Rights vs. responsibilities, participation, engagement, participatory civics

Week 2 – Social capital and the public sphere

Aug. 31

public sphere, counterpublics, subaltern

Sept. 2

social capital, social trust, associational membership

Transit ethnography assigned

Here is an example from a couple of semesters ago.

Week 3 – Newspapers and their (dis)content

Sept. 7

Labor Day – No reading 4.

Sept. 9


Topic proposal discussion. In your reading notes for today, list three issues that interest you. Think broadly about this. Issues can range from mass incarceration to blight to improving education.

Here are some possibilities: death penalty, child abuse, Dream Act, equal pay, felony disenfranchisement, gentrification, health care disparities, HIV/AIDS, homelessness, human trafficking, hunger, poverty, teen pregnancy, veterans’ issues, prison reform, minimum and living wage, migrant worker issues, gun violence, fair housing, juvenile justice, mass transit.

Week 4 – Mapping grassroots media

Sept. 14

Case study: #blacklivesmatter

Sept. 16

In class – Stakeholder mapping your issue.

Transit Ethnography Due

Final project groups:

Human Trafficking
Connor, Kayla, Molly, Erin
Hunger/Food issues
Teddy, Jess, Steve
Criminal/juvenile justice
Chris, Casey, Evan, Matt
Chandler, Joe,, Ben
Stephanie E., Kat, Kaitlin
Digital divide/Homework gap
Meg,, Tyler, Stephanie

Week 5 – The Digital Citizen

Sept. 21


• Chris Wells, The Civic Organization and The Digital Citizen: Communicating Engagement in A Networked Age (required book) Ch. 1 – “Young Citizens and the Changing Face of Information”


civic information, civic information paradigms, civic information styles, 

Based on this first chapter, what do you expect this book to be about?

Sept. 23


• Wells, Ch. 2 –“ Two Paradigms of Civic Information”


He mentions, “emerging forms of civic engagement popular among youth exhibit three characteristics.” …List them and explain.

In class – Stakeholder interviews assigned

Week 6 – Civic orgs and new media

Sept. 28


• Wells, Ch. 3 – “Civic Organizations In the New Media Environment”

In class – MoveOn: The Movie

Sept. 30


• Wells, Ch. 4 – “Civic Organizations’ Communications on the Web”

In-class – Proposal formally assigned, MoveOn: The Movie

Week 7 – Meeting people where they are

Oct. 5

We’re going to postpone this reading and discuss and work on the final proposal.


• Wells, Ch. 5 – “Civic Organizations’ Communications Through Facebook”

Case study: #PHLED

Oct. 7


• Wells, Ch. 5 – “Civic Organizations’ Communications Through Facebook” – moved to Wednesday.

Oct. 8

Extra-credit opportunity

Come to this talk and you will get 5 points added to your mid-term grade.

Never poster
(click to enlarge)

Week 8 – 

Oct. 12 – Fall Break, No classes

Oct. 14


Wells, Ch. 5/6

“Take-home” mid-term. The mid-term will be posted on this site after class and will be due on your reading notes Google doc by 5 p.m. on Friday.

Week 9 – Media advocacy

Oct. 19


• Center for Healthy Communities, Communicating for Change: Making the Case for Health with Media Advocacy (pdf)

Case study: Health communication

Case study: New Media Advocacy Project

Terms: media advocacy, agenda setting, framing, information gap, power gap

Oct. 21


• Matt Ratto and Megan Boler, “Introduction” from DIY Citizenship: Critical Making and Social Media pdf: DIY Citizenship Intro

Week 10 – Fan Activism

Oct. 26

Stakeholder interview due on your google doc. Either upload the audio file directly to the google doc or upload it to SoundCloud first and then upload that link to your Google doc.



• Henry Jenkins, “Fan Activism as Participatory Politics: The Case of the Harry Potter Alliance” pdf: Jenkins – Fan Activism as Participatory Politics

• Watch: Jenkins NYED Ted Talk

Oct. 28

No class. I am at a conference in Austin.

Week 11 – Storytelling, narrative and activism

Nov. 2

Stakeholder interview due on your google doc. Either upload the audio file directly to the google doc or upload it to SoundCloud first and then upload that link to your Google doc.

SPECIAL TO THE SPOKESMAN REVIEW--FILE--Whites pour sugar, ketchup and mustard over heads of sit-in demonstrators at a restaurant lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi June 12,1963. (AP Photo/Jackson Daily News /Fred Blackwell)

• Francesca Polleta, “It was like a fever…”: Narrative and identity in social protest

Polleta – It was like a fever

Terms: narrative, frames, free rider, emplotment.

How do these relate to the sit-ins? What is Polleta’s point in this article?

Nov. 4


• Sam Gregory, Transnational Storytelling: Human Rights, Witness and Video Advocacy (PDF)

Gregory – Transnational Storytelling

Case study: Witness

Week 12 – Politics, media and campaigns

Nov. 9


• Watch: Frontline: The Digital Campaign

Nov. 11

We’re going to veer off the path a little here to talk about the protests at the University of Missouri. Give this a read before class. Still read the article below – it’s kind of related and quite short. Reading notes for that one.


• Ron Fournier, The Outsiders: How Can Millenials Change Washington if They Hate it?

Week 13 – Counterpublics, cute cats and the Arab Spring

Nov. 16



• Wael Ghonim, “Kullena Khaled Said” from Revolution 2.0. pdf: Kullena Khaled Said

“sales tunnel approach,” silent stand

Nov. 18



• Ethan Zuckerman, The Cute Cat Theory Talk at ETech

This article was written in 2008. What is the theory and does it still hold up?

Week 14

Nov. 23

• In-class: Proposal work

Nov. 25 – Thanksgiving Break, no classes

Week 15

Nov. 30

• In-class: Proposal work

Dec. 2

• Proposal Presentations

Final – Dec. 11 – 1 p.m.

Proposals due


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