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Media & Pop Culture Critique

An introduction to the field of mass media, rhetoric, and cultural studies. The course is designed to develop students' abilities to critically examine how factors of identity such as gender, race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality take shape in messages of mass media, including television, radio, internet, and movies, as well as in media messages like advertising. Students will be introduced to mass media theories and the principles of persuasion. The central focus of the course is on learning to research how depictions of identity in mass media play a role in civil society, and on producing a critical evaluation of a media artifact (publication, television show, etc.).

Students completing the course should be able to:

  • Describe how the Communication discipline critically frames the PACS 1 question "What is a good society?"
  • Explain how answers to "What is a good society?" are affected by markers of identity, including gender, race, class, and sexuality.
  • Analyze media messages in terms of their persuasive dynamics.
  • Develop research questions and skills in retrieving, evaluating, and documenting information for scholarly assignments.
  • Critically reflect on the relationships between mass media and American culture in written and oral work.