Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 Courses
For a list of all undergraduate Communication courses, click here.
COMM 125: Introduction to Communication Behavior (Jordan)
This course introduces students to the theoretical models and research methods used to study communication and behavior, with a focus on mass media processes and effects. Topics examined include: the social construction of meaning through communication, effects of media violence, children’s responses to educational television, the political impact of the news, and the influence of social media on relationships, and the role of media in creating and perpetuating gender, racial, and ethnic stereotypes. The aim of the course is to provide students with (1) a general understanding of research on attitudinal and behavioral aspects of mediated and interpersonal communication, and (2) the basic conceptual tools needed to critically evaluate the assumptions, theories, and empirical evidence supporting conclusions about communication behavior and media effects. Toward this end, thought the paradigms of critical and cultural studies will be reviewed briefly, the class will focus on social scientific approaches to understanding communication behavior. Students have the option of producing a multi-media capstone project or writing a term paper on a communication behavior-related topic of their choice. This class meets twice a week as a lecture and once a week in smaller group seminars.
COMM 210: Quantitative Research Methods in Communication (Bleakley)
This course is a general overview of the important components of social research. The goal of this class is to understand the logic behind social science research, be able to view research with a critical eye, and to engage in the production of research. The first third of the semester focuses on defining research problems, research design, and assessing research quality. We cover such topics as sampling, measurement, and causal inference. These topics are then illustrated through reviews of two research areas: survey research and content analysis. The last third of the semester focuses descriptive and inferential statistics, measures of association for categorical and continuous variables, and the basic language of data analysis. For those classes, we make use of STATA, a program useful for learning statistics. Most modules are illustrated through lectures, class exercises, reading published scientific articles, and discussing research featured in the news. This course fulfills the undergraduate “quantitative” requirement.
COMM 211: Media Activism Studies (Pickard)
This seminar provides an introduction to the politics and tactics underlying various types of media activism. The class will examine interventions aimed at media representations, labor relations in media production, media policy reform, activists' strategic communications, and "alternative" media making. The course will draw from an overview of the existing scholarship on media activism, as well as close analysis of actual activist practices within both old and new media at local, national, and global levels. We will study how various political groups, past and present, use media to advance their interests and effect social change. Each member of the class will choose one case study of an activist group or campaign to explore throughout the semester.
COMM 226: Introduction to Political Communication (Taussig)
This course is an introduction to the field of political communication, conceptual approaches to analyzing communication in various forms, including advertising, speech making, campaign debates, and candidates' and office-holders' uses of news. The focus of this course is on the interplay in the U.S. between television and politics. The course includes a history of televised campaign practices from the 1952 presidential contest through the election of 2016.
COMM 225: Children and Media (Jordan)
This course examines children's relationship to media in its historic, economic, political, and social contexts. The class explores the ways in which "childhood" is created and understood as a time of life that is qualitatively unique and socially constructed over time. It continues with a review of various theories of child development as they inform children's relationship with and understanding of media. It next reviews public policies designed to empower parents and limit children's exposure to potentially problematic media content and simultaneously considers the economic forces that shape what children see and buy. The course concludes with a critical examination of research on the impact of media on children's physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. Students in this course produce a prototype for an educational children’s media property as their capstone project.
COMM 230: Advertising and Society (Turow)
This course explores the historical and contemporary role of the advertising industry in the U.S. media system. The course will cover the social history of advertising; the structure of today’s advertising industry; the workings of advertising in digital media; and critical analyses of advertising’s role in society. In addition to academic writings, the class will read industry reports to understand contemporary strategies and processes.
COMM 243: Ethnography and Media for Social Justice (Lingel)
How do qualitative social scientists study urban communities? What kinds of powerful tales can be told about urban lifestyles and social issues in places like Philadelphia? This course will allow students to study various ethnographic treatments of urban communities in the United States, using films, articles, TV serials, and books as guides for the framing of their own independent research on the streets of Philadelphia. Students will also form production teams of two or three people, and these production teams will be responsible for (i) identifying and researching an important urban issue in contemporary Philadelphia and (ii) turning that research into a 15-30 minute video documentary or pod cast. Mixing video/audio journalism with ethnographic methods will enhance their skills at archival and social research, from participant observation and interviewing techniques to sound editing and production. This course is intended to be a rigorous and exciting opportunity for students to tell empirically grounded stories using the voices of their participants and the sounds of the city.
COMM 282: Sick and Satired: The Insanity of Humor and How it Keeps Us Sane (Booth)
The goal of this course will be to prove definitively how and why humor, as both an instigator and peacemaker, might be considered one of the most influential and profoundly useful forms of communication devised by human beings. The unique ability of jokes and satire to transcend familiar literary and journalistic forms for the purpose of deepening (or cheapening) socio-philosophical arguments and to inspire (or discourage) debate and participation in public conversations about innumerable political and social issues will be explored. The fearless analytical nature of both high and lowbrow comedy will be examined, as well as its deflective qualities, and the corollaries construed from humor’s dissection of straight society’s monomania will be inspected and tested for cohesion and viability. Additionally, the course will teach students to recognize and assert, through informed justification based on both contemporary and historical examples, the indispensability of the political and cultural satirist’s unique role in society as a witness, a predictor and, in some circumstances, an instigator of public and private debate conceived and exercised for the purpose of revealing and mediating differences between disparate groups based, not solely on language differences, but also on social status, political affiliation, cultural identity, ethnicity, gender, religious fellowship, sexual orientation and socio-economic caste.
COMM 290: From Beulah to Awkward Black Girl: Black Women on and in Television in the United States (Chatman)
In a post-Scandal television landscape, there has been an upswing in Black women’s visibility in leading roles on television and behind the scenes. How did we arrive at this moment? What are the implications of this visibility given the history of Black women’s marginalization on television? This interdisciplinary course explores these questions by surveying American cultural, political, and television history from the 1950s to the present in order to examine how intersecting discourses of blackness, gender, class, and sexuality are enmeshed in the television industry’s’ business and representational practices. Through weekly discussions students will analyze, interpret, and critique televisual representations of Black female subjectivity and consider the ideological, political, and social implications of such depictions. Students will further develop their writing, analysis, and argumentation skills by conducting original research that draws on Black feminist theories and cultural studies frameworks, and that uses critical textual analysis as a method.
COMM 310: The Communication Research Experience (Falk)
In this hands-on course students will work with active researchers in the Communication Neuroscience lab at Penn to gain experience in how research works. Research topics will depend on student interests, with emphasis on one or more of the following: social influence and persuasion, health communication, peer influence in teens, mobile technology, social media, emotion regulation, peace and conflict resolution, mindfulness, interpersonal communication, political communication, adolescent brain development, communication neuroscience. Students will have the opportunity to interact closely with a mentor and will gain experience conceptualizing research questions, designing experiments, collecting data, and making an analysis plan. Prerequisite: COMM 210 (Communication Research Methods) or by permission of the instructor.
COMM 322: History and Theory of Freedom of Expression (Marvin)
Historical origins, purpose, theory, practice of freedom of expression in the United States. Philosophical roots of contemporary law and debates about expressive limits, especially problems associated with media of communication. Major topics include, but are not limited to, traitorous and subversive speech, insulting speech and hate speech, sexual and violent expression, non-verbal expression, artistic expression.
COMM 332: Survey Research and Design (Dutwin)
Survey research is a small but rich academic field and discipline, drawing on theory and practice from many diverse fields including political science, communication, sociology, psychology, and statistics. Surveys are perhaps the most ubiquitous tool of measurement in the social sciences today. Successful practitioners develop expertise in the art and science of survey methodology, including sampling theory and practice, questionnaire instrument development and operationalization, and the analysis and reporting of survey data. Survey researchers are scientists of the method itself testing various practices by which surveys can be improved upon, as well as developing a keen understanding of the nature of error in surveys and how to control it. This course is a canvass course on survey research and design, highly experiential but also based upon introductory statistical theory and analysis.
COMM 337: Communicating about Health: Strategic Communication in the New Media Environment (Allen)
Communicating about health is increasingly challenging in a time when communicators must deal simultaneously with audience generated content, like Twitter, industry generated algorithms, and a culture rife with deniers and factoids. This course examines the uses and misuses of strategic communication across a wide variety of health messages, audiences and purposes. It explores new approaches to audience segmentation, message design, and delivery systems within the health messaging arena. A primary focus will be on developing knowledge about and critical tools to analyze words and images related to health and disease. Informed by classical rhetorical concepts of ethos, pathos, and logos applied in new environments, it will examine notions of communities and uses of persuasion. The influences of law, policy, and advocacy (informed and dis-informed) on the development of health-related attitudes, beliefs, and habits will be considered within in a substantially changing media environment. And, because it belongs in any discussion of communicating about health, the theory and practice of health literacy and cultural respect will be introduced. The course concludes with the choice of a final project that is either 1) an analysis of a current strategic health communication effort; or, 2) the creation of a new health communication strategy.
COMM 388: Ritual Communication (Paxton)
This course explores the significance of rituals as communicative events in contemporary American culture. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which rituals contribute to the making and re-making of social groups, be they ethnic, religious, familial, or institutional. And we will also attend to the obverse: the ways in which rituals create and perpetuate boundaries between "us" and "them" or between “appropriate" and "deviant" social behavior. Issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality will be central to our exploration of how rituals function. Over the course of the semester, we will analyze individual rites of passage -- the quinceañera for example -- as well as rituals that mark transitions on a far larger scale such as presidential elections and inaugurations. We will explore rituals that unfold at the local level as well as those that most of us experience only in mediated forms. Students will conduct original ethnographic fieldwork and learn how to develop compelling research proposals.
COMM 390: The One Hundred Days (Eisenhower & Margolies)
This course aims to enhance our understanding of the presidency -- and presidential communications -- by taking a searching look at the prime features of "the hundred days" of the US presidency in general, and of the Trump presidency in particular. What has been the importance of the one hundred days? What has defined success and failure of the president's one hundred days, and what have been the consequences of success and failure for the subsequent 45 months of a presidential administration. How do answers to those questions apply to the Trump presidency? How has Trump's 100 days conformed to expectations and patterns which have become evident in the decades since FDR's fabled one hundred days in 1933? In what ways did the Trump One Hundred Days conform to pattern, deviate from pattern, succeed or fail, and what are the implications for the Trump presidency to come? Ultimately, the goal of the course is to provide an opportunity to pioneer thinking about the "launch" phase of the presidency through the lens of communication.
COMM 395: Communication and the Presidency (Eisenhower & Reich)
This course examines the vital aspect of communication as a tool of the US Presidency. Reading and class discussions focus on case studies drawn primarily from Presidential administrations (beginning with FDR) of the radio-television-internet era, studies that demonstrate the elements of successful and unsuccessful presidential initiatives and the critical factor of communication, common to both. Readings and discussion will cover the range of issues of presidential import; issues pertaining to war and peace, the drive for civil rights and equal rights, domestic prosperity and development, international leadership and issues attending the rise of an interdependent world and a global economy. The key objective and requirement of 395 is an individual paper project that centers on a presidential speech (or set of speeches) addressing a key national or international topic. Student papers are to be based in part on primary research, hence, COMM 395 is also an introduction to primary research methods and to the use of primary research materials housed in the Presidential library system.
COMM 405: Facing Race: Race and Caricature in the Historical Imagination (Pearl)
Is race imaginary? If so, who invented facial distinctions and why can we see them? Do pictures change the way we think? How do artists think about the people they draw and satirize? This course will explore the relationship between caricature and perceptions of racial difference in modern western culture. We will interrogate the role that visual images play in framing our perceptions of groups and their defining characteristics. Broadly historical, this interdisciplinary course will introduce students to scholarship in visual culture, media studies, science studies, critical disability and gender studies, and race theory. Students will develop skills in primary source analysis, historical methodology, and visual analysis. Assignments will include a visual analysis, short papers, and a final project in which they make a comic book.
COMM 491: Communication Internship Seminar (Haas)
A scholarly counterpart for students' internships in various communication-related organizations. Through individually-selected readings, class discussion, and individual conferences, students develop their own independent research agendas which investigate aspects of their internship experience or industry. In written field notes and a final paper, students combine communication theory and practice in pursuit of their individual questions.
COMM 494: Honors & Capstone Thesis (Woolf)
First semester of the two semester thesis course; completed during the Fall semester of senior year. The senior thesis provides a capstone intellectual experience for Honors students and Communication and Public Service Program (ComPS) participants. Students conduct a primary research study on a communication related issue over the course of two semesters. Students should consult with and arrange for a faculty supervisor no later than the summer before senior year. Students must also file a designated form and topic statement, approved and signed by the supervising faculty member no later than the first day of class. Required of all students planning to enroll in COMM 495 or COMM 499 in the Spring. All Honors students must have a 3.5 cumulative GPA at the end of junior year for eligibility. See the Annenberg website for complete eligibility requirements.
COMM 123: Critical Approaches to Popular Culture (Paxton)
Popular culture has been variously dismissed as mere trivia, it has been condemned as propaganda, a tool of mass deception; and its consumers have been dubbed fashion victims and couch potatoes. This course considers these critiques, as well as those that suggest that popular culture offers valuable material for the study of social life. We consider the meanings and impact of popular culture, including its effects on how we see ourselves, others, and American life; who makes distinctions between high, middlebrow, and low or mass culture; and how power and resistance structure the production and consumption of popular texts.
COMM 130: Mass Media and Society (Turow)
How might we think about the legal, political, economic, historical, and "cultural" considerations that shape what we watch on TV, read in books, and stare at in billboards? What ideas are relevant for examining the enormous changes in the mass media system and the consequences of those changes? The aim of this course is to begin to answer these questions by acquainting you with the workings of American mass media as an integral part of American society.
COMM 203: Media, Culture, and Society in Contemporary China (Yang)
This course studies contemporary China in the context of globalization. Starting with an analysis of the origins of economic reform and the struggles for political change in the 1970s and 1980s, the course moves on to cover critical issues in the twenty-first century, including migration and work, middle class and consumerism, youth, religion, media and communication, environmental degradation, new forms of inequality, and civil society and popular protest. Taking a sociological approach, this course introduces methods and theories for analyzing institutions, inequality, and social change.
COMM 209: Urban Communication (Peterkin Bell)
How cities communicate has had to evolve with the times and circumstances. Even as there is extraordinary optimism about the future of America’s cities, most continue to grapple with the devastating effects of 20th century deindustrialization and racial disparities in education, income, housing, and health and unplanned crisis. It has become the task of municipal leadership to both balance the demands of disparate interests, govern fairly and effectively and communicate to various constituency about policy and government's role. In the age of social media that perpetuates a 24/7 news cycle, municipal governments and their leadership have had to respond to queries, concerns and circumstances while governing, all in new ways. Using personal experiences from serving 4 US Big City Mayors I will provide examples about how cities have had to communicate through the varying levels of leadership during times of crisis.
COMM 217: New Media Journalism and Politics in the Trump Era (Fineman)
Every era-defining president -- and presidential candidate -- succeeds by being the first to master a new form of journalistic communication. From Abe Lincoln and the telegraph to FDR and the radio to JFK and television to Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and social news platforms (such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and HuffPost and BuzzFeed), new means of media have been the key to presidential elections and leadership. We will study these media waves in both historical and up-to-the-minute fashion, with guests from across the spectrum, from newspapers to cable to video streaming and social. We will look at the U.S. based media primarily, but also at new ways in which digital-centered media in the rest of the world cover American politics. Our deeper mission will be to assess whether these ever more urgent, far-reaching changes encourage or impede the survival of self-government in America, where the Founders had hoped that a free press would inform a citizenry and not merely incite a crowd.
COMM 245: Teens and Screens (Bleakley)
Why do screen media and digital technologies captivate youth? In this course we address this question by examining the role media play in adolescent development and behavior. We begin by considering adolescence as a unique period of psychological and social development and discussing emerging adults as a special population. Next, we will explore how adolescents use and interact with media and how their media preferences are related to their developmental needs, with particular attention to social media use and media content targeted to, and popular with, adolescent audiences. Finally, we will investigate how media influence adolescent self-identity and behavior by reviewing media effects in areas of sex, violence, gender norms, and friendship quality. The strength of the evidence for media effects and its behavioral and policy implications will be presented and debated within each area of study. Relevant theoretical perspectives will inform these discussions. Throughout the semester students will critically reflect upon current empirical research while also spotlighting different media-TV shows, social media apps (e.g., Yik Yak) and social movements (e.g., #iammorethanadistraction)
COMM 290: Media and Political Trust (Daniller)
Democracy can only survive and thrive when citizens have faith in its ability to produce just outcomes through just procedures. How do citizens decide whether to trust political leaders, government institutions, or the election system? This course will examine the role of media—particularly news media—in enhancing or undermining trust in democratic processes and institutions. We will begin by exploring competing definitions of political trust. We will then consider a variety of ways in which media influence trust. Specific topics will range from issues in contemporary American politics, such as news coverage of alleged voter fraud and alleged voter suppression, to the relationship between media and trust in international context, particularly the importance of trust in newer democracies. Throughout the semester we will also consider issues related to the measurement of political trust using examples from national and global surveys of political attitudes. Quantitative Research Methods in Communication, or a similar course involving survey design and analysis.
COMM 292: WARNING! Graphic Content - Political Cartoons, Comix and the Uncensored Artistic Mind (Booth)
This course examines the past, present and future of political cartooning, underground comix, graphic journalism and protest art, exploring the purpose and significance of image-based communication as an unparalleled propagator of both noble and nefarious ideas. The work presented will be chosen for its unique ability to demonstrate the inflammatory effect of weaponized visual jokes, uncensored commentary and critical thinking on a society so often perplexed by artistic free expression and radicalized creative candor.
COMM 307: Communication, Sports, and Social Justice (Glanville)
This course will examine the current relationship between sports, celebrity and the power to communicate for social justice. Through case studies, review of current events, and empirical evidence from experience, students will learn to evaluate the patterns and strategies that athletes have employed to elevate an issue. This course will pull from hot button moments in our current landscape from athletes protesting against racial inequality to the sports leagues' communication challenges to publicly address those concerns. There will be a review of the pioneering efforts that were successful, unsuccessful, or to be determined. Our studies will develop a critical eye for communication approaches and how well those tactics yield the desired changes. We will draw upon this insight to formulate ways to improve communication and determine the most influential and effective practices to date.
COMM 311: Peace Communication (Bruneau)
When ‘me’ and ‘you’ becomes ‘us’ and ‘them’, a suite of psychological processes are amplified or come online. In this course, we will examine the forces that drive people to engage in intergroup conflict through the lenses of evolutionary biology and psychology, and then examine the effectiveness of communications-based interventions at easing conflict. In the first part of the course, we will learn about the theoretical work on intergroup psychology; in the second part, we will examine the specific processes that drive conflict (e.g., stereotypes, prejudice, dehumanization) and how they are measured using both explicit self-report and implicit measures (e.g., physiology, neuroimaging); in the third part, we will explore the interventions that have been demonstrated to work (and fail) to decrease intergroup conflict. No prior experience in psychology or neuroscience is required.
COMM 313: Computational Text Analysis for Communication Research (O’Donnell)
In this 'big data' era, presidents and popes tweet daily. Anyone can broadcast their thoughts and experiences through social media. Speeches, debates and events are recorded in online text archives. The resulting explosion of available textual data means that journalists and marketers summarize ideas and events by visualizing the results of textual analysis (the ubiquitous 'word cloud' just scratches the surface of what is possible). Automated text analysis reveals similarities and differences between groups of people and ideological positions. In this hands-on course students will learn how to manage large textual datasets (e.g. Twitter, YouTube, news stories) to investigate research questions. They will work through a series of steps to collect, organize, analyze and present textual data by using automated tools toward a final project of relevant interest. The course will cover linguistic theory and techniques that can be applied to textual data (particularly from the fields of corpus linguistics and natural language processing). No prior programming experience is required. Through this course students will gain skills writing Python programs to handle large amounts of textual data and become familiar with one of the key techniques used by data scientists, which is currently one of the most in-demand jobs.
COMM 323: Contemporary Politics, Policy, and Journalism (Hunt)
A course on the modern media and their impact on government and politics. It primarily covers the post-Watergate/post-Vietnam era of journalism, the past quarter century. Each week focuses on specific topics and areas of post-Watergate journalism, as well as current press coverage of national events over the prior week. This course gives students the opportunity to interact and discuss the intersection of the press, politics, and public policy with some of the leading practitioners in the field.
COMM 325: Global Youth Media (Bergère)
How do youths around the world encounter media as consumers, producers, subjects and objects of media? How do they shape media globally, and how are they in turn shaped by the media environments of their daily lives? This course begins with an exploration of youth as a historically changing and globally contested social category. This part of the course addresses ‘youth’ as a globally circulated and locally realized category traversed and shaped by flows of global, cultural, economic and social power, desires and anxieties. The course then examines the ways in which youth and youthhood have been mediated historically, cultural and geographically by the increased mobility and ubiquity of media such as film, television, music, mobile technologies, video games and the internet. The course focuses on the emergence of hybrid media cultures, media geographies and mobilities as well as the political implications of youth media. The course includes media produced by, for and about youth from across the globe. The final part of the course examines digital media and its multiple intersections with both youths and ‘youth’ as a social category. This provides the basis for a critical engagement with issues of power be it economic, social, gerontocratic or cultural as well as the changing flows, spaces, places and temporalities of youth. Global Youth Media is taught using a range of materials including academic texts, ethnographies, and documentaries as well as drawing on blogs, news articles and social media content. This will allow for an examination of the Internet in Africa that pays attention to content and the role of images and videos. The course will integrate the principles of Civic Engaged learning and will require the students to undertake short hands-on media projects including a Skype student-to-student exchange with ABLOGUI, a young bloggers association based in Conakry, Guinea. The final project will be a digital publication.
COMM 377: Philosophical Problems of Journalism (Romano)
An exploration of the relationship between journalism and philosophy by examining particular issues in epistemology, political philosophy, ethics, and aesthetics. Among likely topics: the concept of a "fact"; the role of the press in the state; whether journalists (like doctors and lawyers) operate according to specialized "professional" ethics; and the limits of journalism as a literary or visual genre. Course readings will include philosophical texts, breaking print journalism, and blogs that specialize in media issues.
COMM 390: The Social Brain and Communication (Kang)
How does our brain make sense of the self and others? What processes are operative when we relate to, influence, and are influenced by others? And how does studying the brain help inform the nature of interpersonal communication? This course will examine theories of social psychology and communication neuroscience to explore the malleability and mechanisms of the social mind. Specific topics include theories of the self, intergroup/interpersonal relationships, social emotions, and persuasion. We will also examine recent development of intervention strategies that may facilitate effective communication, including self-affirmation, self-transcendence, and mindfulness.
COMM 395: Communication and the Presidency (Eisenhower)
This course examines the vital aspect of communication as a tool of the modern Presidency. Reading and class discussions focus on case studies drawn from modern Presidential administrations (beginning with FDR) that demonstrate the elements of successful and unsuccessful Presidential initiatives and the critical factor of communication, common to both. This course is also an introduction to primary research methods and to the use of primary research materials in the Presidential Library system.
COMM 397: New Media & Politics (Winneg)
This course seeks to trace the evolving relationship between new media technologies and political power, process, and change from multiple perspectives: the citizen/voter, the campaign, and the news media. Major theories of communication and persuasion are the foundation of this course. We will apply these theories to each of the above perspectives beginning with a brief history of U.S. political campaigns before the advent of the internet in presidential campaigns in 1996. From there we will take a deeper dive into the landmark changes brought on by new media technologies to mobilize, persuade, inform, and fundraise around the presidential campaigns since then. We will then follow how the new U.S. president and new Congress operate in this ever evolving media and digital landscape through the crucial first 100 days. Finally, we will examine issues of social media and activism, including its use as a tool for regime change, social change, and terrorism in the U.S. and around the world. New media include, but are not limited to, the internet, email, texting, blogging, social media, and "Big Data."
COMM 441: The Internet versus Democracy (Lelkes)
At the turn of the 21st century, many claimed that the internet would make the world a more democratic place. Have these prophecies born out? We examine the effects the internet has had on democracy, looking at research that examines whether, for instance, the internet has increased or decreased inequality, polarization, and political participation. In addition to reading and discussing empirical literature, we will also test many of the theories in this course through hands-on workshops in data science.
COMM 453: Internet Experiments Practicum (Centola)
In this hands-on course, students will work with active researchers in the Network Dynamics Group at Penn to gain experience in how research works. Research topics will depend on student interests, with emphasis on one or more of the following: network dynamics of peer influence, social media technologies, political polarization, processes of social diffusion, and social change through online networks. Students will have the opportunity to learn from leading researchers in the field of computational social science, and to participate in building their own Internet experiment. This will involve designing a research study, collecting and analyzing data, and working on a team to produce a co-authored, Internet-based experimental research study on social dynamics. Prerequisites: COMM 210 (Communication Research Methods), Centola's Coursera course, or by permission of the instructor.
COMM 490: #Sorrynotsorry: Media, Race and Apologies (Pearl)
WHO gets to apologize? WHO is asked to forgive? When? HOW do apologies work? What’s the difference between apologies and expressions of remorse? Who has the POWER in the apology dynamic? What role does MEDIA play in communicating and negotiating apologies? Who is asked to ‘turn the other cheek?’ What role does RELIGION play in the narrative of forgiveness? This seminar will explore the modern mediated ritual of apology and forgiveness, asking in particular who gets to apologize, who is asked to forgive, and what the difference is between these two processes. Drawing on theoretical literature in feminist philosophy of language, media ritual, journalism studies, meme and celebrity studies, and political communication, we will consider a series of case studies to think about how apologies and forgiveness work, and when and if these two processes should be separated. Starting with recent cases of police shootings and survivors of sexual assault and moving to politics and celebrities, we will pay particular attention to requests for forgiveness in absence of apology, thinking about which kinds of bodies and what kind of victims bear the burden of being publicly forgiving, and what kinds of power dynamics are at stake in the process of granting forgiveness in the absence of apology.
COMM 491: Communication Internship (Haas)
(Requires agreement of supervising faculty member and approval of Undergraduate Office)
The independent study offers the self-motivated student an opportunity for a tailored, academically rigorous, semester-long investigation into a topic of the student's choice with faculty supervision. Students must complete and file a designated form, approved and signed by the supervising faculty member and the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies. This form must be received by the Undergraduate Office before the end of the first week of classes in the semester in which the independent study will be conducted.
COMM 495: Senior Thesis (Ben-Porath, Woolf)
Second semester of two semester thesis course. Completion of COMM 494 with a grade of 3.3 or higher and a 3.5 cumulative GPA at the end of the Fall semester of senior year are required for enrollment. The Senior Honors Thesis provides a capstone intellectual experience for students who have demonstrated academic achievement of a superior level. Students complete the primary research project started during COMM 494.
To view class times and locations, visit Penn's online course roster.