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Center for Advances Research in Global Communication

Past Courses

Click on the accordions below to read about past courses taught by CARGC faculty and fellows.

Instructor: Ignatius G.D Suglo, Ph.D.

Term: Fall 2023

This course offers an introduction to media, culture, and society in postcolonial Africa. It takes into account diverse media forms and cultures across the continent, to examine ways in which media interconnect with globalization, colonialism and imperialism, development, and social change. The course is designed to train students to do critical comparative analyses of media across nations. Suggested readings, activities, and assignments are designed to help students situate media technologies, forms, and artifacts in relation to broader political, economic, social, and cultural contexts. At the end of the course, students will be able to contextualize media across national borders paying attention to the ways in which media both shape and are shaped by social, political, religious, and economic factors. This course fulfills Foundational Approaches Cross Cultural Analysis.

Instructor: Aswin Punathambekar, Ph.D.

Term: Fall 2023

This course offers an overview of media, culture, and society in contemporary South Asia and the South Asian diaspora worldwide. Engaging with a diversity of media forms and cultures across the subcontinent – Hindi and regional-language cinemas, television, podcasts, social media platforms, and streaming video – we will explore what the histories of media technologies and the production, circulation, and consumption of media reveal about cultural and political developments in South Asia and the South Asian diaspora worldwide. Readings and assignments are designed to help students situate media technologies, forms, and artifacts in relation to broader political-economic, social, and cultural issues involving nationalism, religion, caste, gender, and sexuality. This course fulfills Foundational Approaches Cross Cultural Analysis.

Instructor: Woori Han, Ph.D.

Term: Spring 2023

Media play a powerful role in both constructing and challenging local and global understandings of gender and sexuality. This course focuses on how practices and norms of gender and sexuality are represented, complicated, and resisted across different forms of global media. We draw on insights from media/communication, anthropology, and queer and feminist theory to examine historical and contemporary media production, consumption, and circulation across nations, with a special emphasis on the Global South. Via a series of case studies (including tv melodrama, the global #metoo movement, and gay dating apps), we will explore the “top down” power of media industries and nation-states, the “bottom up” power of media users, and the dynamic cross-cultural encounters in which they interact.

Instructor: Aswin Punathambekar, Ph.D.

Term: Spring 2023

What do histories of media technologies and the production, circulation and consumption of media artifacts reveal about cultural and political developments across the postcolonial world? What happens when media and communication technologies become the site of intelligibility instead of serving as a conduit for investigating some other questions(s) (globalization, nationalism, secularism, etc.)? What new life-worlds come to the fore when we think the postcolonial world with digital media? With these broad questions in mind, this seminar offers a critical introduction to the unfolding impact of digitalization across the postcolonial world. Situating digital infrastructures and platforms in relation to diverse media forms and cultures across print, national and regional cinemas, television, and pirate and other non-formal media circuits, readings and assignments are designed to help students locate the digital turn in relation to broader political-economic, social, and cultural forces that transformed the ‘rest of the world’ beginning in the 1980s. Drawing on scholarship from global media and communication studies, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, cultural anthropology, and science and technology studies, we will adopt a trans-regional and connected histories approach to examine how digital media are positioned in relation to existing media infrastructures, changing urban environments, the ongoing transformation of established sound and screen industries, and emergent forms of everyday media practice and use that are reconfiguring socio-cultural, political, and economic terrains. From massive state-driven digital identity projects to YouTube influencer cultures, from Twitter and primetime television to WhatsApp and political rumors, readings and discussions will reflect on enduring concerns of representation, identity, and power while grappling with logics of algorithmic curation, datafication, and user-participation.

Instructor: Ali Karimi, Ph.D.

Term: Fall 2022

This course will explore the field of global communication, discussing the changing landscape of technology and globalization in the digital era. Students will learn about the theories and practices of technological social change in the non-Western world. It will introduce students to debates surrounding the uses of information communication technologies for development, drawing on Communication Studies, Anthropology, Development Studies, and History. In order to explore the theoretical frameworks that inform social change and development, the course will also examine specific case studies mostly from developing countries to evaluate ideas in practice. In assessing the case studies, students will learn about the promise and limitations of technology as a solution for our problems. 

Instructor: Jinsook Kim, Ph.D.

Term: Spring 2022

This course examines global communication practices and media cultures through the perspective of emotions across international borders. On the one hand, the global production, circulation, and consumption of media has facilitated global empathy, fascination, or passion through cross-border encounters, dialogues, connections, and cultural flows. On the other hand, globalization has produced and strengthened new forms of hatred and violence, including nationalism, racism, and misogyny, in nations and cultures around the world. Media and communication technologies have become central to these international movements and the articulation of emotions. In this context, the study of emotions in global media offers new ways of understanding popular culture, public communication, social inequalities, and changing social and political mobilization around the world. Connecting interdisciplinary scholarship on emotions and global media with specific case studies, this course covers topics including transnational communities, global resistance and activism, media audiences and fandom, digital labor, soft power and public diplomacy, and nationalism and xenophobia. Students will learn about key concepts and debates in global media studies and consider the emergence of global media as a key space both for generating, aggregating, and intensifying certain emotions. Relatedly, they will examine and interrogate different axes of power, difference, and identity, including nation, race/ethnicity, and gender and sexuality in global media cultures.

Instructor: Padma Chirumamilla, Ph.D.

Term: Spring 2021

In this course, utilizing media drawn primarily from postcolonial Africa and Asia, we will examine how science and technology are (and have historically been) imagined as essential to the work of building the future, especially in the Global South. How do a diverse range of actors—from artists to activists, private corporations to government agencies—depict technological progress as vital to the future yet to come? We will work through a broad range of popular texts and primary sources, ranging from sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson’s novel The Diamond Age to the blockbuster Chinese film The Wandering Earth, from the Australian TV show Cleverman to Indonesian president Sukarno’s opening speech to the Bandung Conference. Working through these diverse texts and media, we will unpack and challenge how science and technology have continually been imagined as necessary for building the future to come. We will also examine alternative ways of dreaming the future, as found in Indigenous speculative fiction and the creative movement of Afrofuturism. Students will learn how to closely and critically analyze a variety of written and multimedia texts from the “Global South”, both in translation and in English. They will practice their skills of critical analysis and response through both writing and creative multimedia production. By the end of the course, students will be able to examine, critique and interrogate the various imaginings of technology’s importance and functionality that are at work within diverse genres of corporate, activist and popular media. This class integrates materials and theories from humanistic media studies and science and technology studies (STS) and will serve as a brief introduction to both fields.

Instructor: Fernanda R. Rosa, Ph.D.

Term: Fall 2020

In this course, students will critically explore global communication platforms and internet infrastructures with attention to their social and political implications. The goal is to reflect on how the design of communication technologies embeds power relations, and how these impact specific social groups and shape the relations between the global South and the global North. The course will examine topics such as biased algorithms, digital labor, censorship, surveillance, infrastructure standards and protocols, and their public interest dimensions. Cases to be analyzed include gendered and racially biased artificial intelligence tools, the outsourcing of content moderation in social media that links the United States to the Philippines, connectivity shutdowns from the United Kingdom to India, as well the politics of the domain name system affecting LGBTQ+ groups and indigenous communities in the Amazon region. Students will select case studies to research throughout the semester and will examine the relations between technological design, communication, globalization, and transnationalism to imagine new possibilities for the future of global communication.

Instructor: Giang Nguyen-Thu, Ph.D.

Term: Spring 2020

This global communication seminar examines the relationship between media, memory, and cultural identity. We will explore how globalization induces dynamic changes in the ways people imagine their past as they respond to a new politics of transnational identity formation. The media serves as a pivotal force in this process by reshaping the relationship between memory and identity at the local, national, and global scales. Via an examination of various case studies of contemporary media practices in Asia, Europe, and the US, students will learn to think comparatively about the mediation of memory. Focusing primarily on visual and digital cultures, the course will enable students to critically engage with how different media platforms and genres shape the construction of individual and collective memories. Students will also explore semiotics and oral history as important methods for reading and researching cultural memories.

Instructor: Stanislav Budnitskiy, Ph.D.

Term: Fall 2019

How do our smartphones relate to the housing crisis in San Francisco, labor conditions in China, respiratory diseases in Ghana, and nineteenth-century utopian visions of universal peace? This course explores these and other linkages between globalization and communication by examining how media industries, technologies, and practices impact transnational actors and issues. Course themes include the changing nature of journalism, state and corporate surveillance, the environmental impacts of digital artifacts and activities, and the commodification of the nation. While focusing on the early twenty-first century, the course also historicizes contemporary narratives of digital globalization in order to illuminate their cultural roots. Course materials draw on academic scholarship as well as videos and texts from US and international media. Students will learn to identify the roles played by media and communication in the process of globalization and to analytically employ concepts relating to global communication such as cosmopolitanism, cultural hybridity, free flow of information, neoliberalism, and technological determinism.

Instructor: Rayya El Zein, Ph.D.

Term: Spring 2019

Taking a transnational, comparative approach to popular music, this course explores political questions of audience formation, cultural representation, and the circulation of musical commodities in the context of global capitalism. We explore the mediation of music and its use as both a technology of empire and state building and an articulation of political resilience and resistance. Students read and engage ethnography and pay specific attention to the processes of listening to and making music in order to build culturally sensitive readings of politics in various cultures and geographic locations. Theoretical and ethnographic readings are discussed alongside media coverage of particular concerts, tours, clips, albums, or other controversies, grounding scholarly work in contemporary media consumption. Course discussions critically consider the processes of appropriation, sampling, and jamming as musicians and their fans interpret, reinterpret, and fashion anew musical performance. Throughout this course, students engage and define differing approaches to and understandings of "the popular," globalization, cultural appropriation, intercultural exchange, orientalism, exoticism, authorship, and authenticity. In this way, students use scholarship as a tool to engage and debate pop-cultural events like musical tours, Super Bowl half-time shows, music videos, Twitter wars, and copyright debates.

Instructor: Samira Rajabi, Ph.D.

Term: Fall 2018

This class covers both identity politics and media logics and their interplay in an increasingly playful and rapidly changing media landscape. Students will read a combination of media theory, feminist media theory, and cultural studies literature in the first half of the semester in order to have the theoretical grounding to conduct research paper/case studies of "media moments" that act as important markers in identity making of either individuals or groups. In the second half of the semester the class will work as a group to examine several cases from across geographical boundaries of identity making in and through media in order to discover both how identity is produced, constructed, and negotiated through media as well as how media platforms and formats interact to enable this process of identity making. Various theorists will be brought to bear to examine the framework of media industries, affordances of media platforms, and possibilities for media engagement and performance. These theories will then be deployed as part of empirical research projects through which students will discover how we engage with media and how that engagement impacts our understandings of our social locations.