This course examines what media are and what they do; how specific media technologies affect democratic discourse; how media shape narratives of class, race, ethnicity and gender; the long-running conflict between information and propaganda, and how media conglomerates came to wield such enormous power in modern society.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Understand the origins, architecture, and role of the mass media as a cohesive system in modern society.
- Analyze how each new technology has framed our understanding of the world, even the “way” we learn.
- Assess how repeated battles over media narratives were shaped by technological innovation, government communications policy, racial, ethnic, gender and class conflicts, and wars and domestic upheaval.
- Identify important lessons from mass media history that are key to understanding the enormous power media exert on society today.
- Document and discuss the main challenges our current media system poses to personal liberty and privacy, democratic rule, and racial, economic and social justice.