Undergraduate Course Descriptions

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COMM 2011

The Art and Science of Story-Centered Research

  • Fall 2024
  • Spring 2024

Stories are a powerful communication tool that can be used to entertain, connect, inform, and inspire. Stories also play varied and vital roles in communication research. This course explores the relationship between storytelling, inquiry, and knowledge production. Engaging with interdisciplinary and multi-modal scholarship, students will learn how stories can be used to formulate and answer research questions, shape and share knowledge, and create meaningful change. Students will develop foundational knowledge in a variety of qualitative methods (e.g., interviewing, observation, textual analysis), and foster their skills producing accessible, ethical, critical, and creative research.

COMM 2013

Black Journalism in/and Philadelphia

  • Spring 2024

What is the “Black” in Black journalism? How do questions about “Blackness” complicate how we think about and study journalism globally, locally, and especially in the city in which we live? This course provides: 1) an overview of theories about journalism’s relationship to race; 2) varied perspectives on how Black journalists have thought about and practiced journalism in their specific social and political contexts; 3) an opportunity to consider what this all means for Black journalists and for journalism in Philadelphia. The course is ideal for students who want to be more critical news consumers and/or media makers and provides opportunities to learn about diverse approaches to journalistic practice that center Black media makers and audiences. In addition to weekly analysis of relevant scholarship, news, and popular materials, we will engage with local journalists and news media institutions throughout the semester. For their final assignment, students will be able to choose between submitting a paper or a multimedia project.

COMM 2014

Visibility, Circulation, and the Everyday Life of Images

  • Spring 2024

This course begins with the question: what do images do in the world? Images can be interpreted, read, and decoded. Their meanings also shift, as images are mobile, fluid, and plastic objects, taking on a life of their own as they circulate. Images operate in diverse media ecologies, as photographs and advertisements, in films and videos. They are reproduced on multiple media technologies including TV, cinema, and the internet. Images can further ideologies including but not limited to colonialism, nationalism, imperialism, producing racialized, sexualized, classed, and gendered differences. At the same time, images are mutable forces and can be bent for purposes of self-fashioning as well as disrupting, subverting, and exposing structures of power. Through close readings, assignments and in-class activities, students in this class will learn to critically evaluate and contextualize images both historically and in contemporary forms of circulation. Students will develop a nuanced understanding of images as potent objects of communication with powerful political and social effects, and of the ways in which people incorporate them in daily practices.

COMM 2160

Games, Globalization, and Social Justice

  • Fall 2024

How can playing games intervene in socioeconomic and cultural systems at a global scale? By engaging with critical scholarly readings and gameplay sessions, students in this course will become familiar with the methods and theories for investigating both gaming cultures and theories of globalization. Class discussions will explore the political stakes of communicating and simulating global issues (such as colonialism, migration, warfare, or climate change) through the medium of games. In addition to weekly assignments, students will pursue a semester-long project that includes choosing a social issue of importance to them, researching it in-depth, and producing a creative intervention that explains how that issue could be addressed through games. No prior experience with gaming is needed, but a willingness to spend several hours of the semester playing games and thinking critically about them is necessary.

COMM 2230

Social Media and the Self

  • Fall 2024

This course invites students to explore the performance of identity on social media apps. We begin by tracing the emergence of the idea of an individual self in early modern Europe and examine two competing ideals in particular: authenticity and self-possession. We will then look to the rise of consumer culture, alongside new visual and electronic media, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as crucial context for a “performing” self to emerge. The balance of the course will focus on the online self, from the emergence of the internet to today’s social media era and its multiple forms of managed self-disclosure, from blogs to tweets, from reels to videos. We will explore changing definitions of public and private, algorithmic memory, emotional labor in the workplace, gender and sexuality, and the economics of sharing. A major question the course will pose throughout: How do users balance (or blend) competing demands to be authentic and to promote oneself strategically?

COMM 2300 (formerly 230)

Advertising and Society

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 2320

Gender and Media

  • Fall 2024

This course examines various images and performances of gender in media focusing on the late 20th century to the present. Using theories from cultural and media studies, film and gender studies, and communication studies, we will explore different processes and practices of gender, specifically in terms of media representations of femininity, masculinity, and other genders. The purpose of the course is to gain insight into the ways in which gender, and its intersections with race, ethnicity, and class, is enacted, represented, and has an impact on cultural formations and communication. We will explore the socio-cultural mechanisms that shape our individual and collective notions of identity and essentially teach us what it means to be gendered masculine or feminine or align with other identifications. The media plays a major role in "constructing" gender, and popular views of what “appropriate” gendering is, in turn, shape how we communicate with each other. In examining cultural myths about gender as well as ongoing debates on gender construction, we will consider how gender is tied in with notions of power, identity, voice, and other defining identity categories (race, socio-economic status, sexuality, etc.) Throughout the course, we will examine a variety of media forms, from film to television to streaming platforms, as well as social media such as Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

COMM 2510 (formerly 290 and 2991)

Good Talk: The Purpose, Practice, and Representation of Dialogue Across Difference (SNF Paideia Program Course)

  • Spring 2024

This course is an exploration of dialogue across difference through three lenses: theoretical, practical, and representational. Rather than prescribe a particular model of what dialogue should look like and accomplish, the course exposes students to a diverse range of ideas, narratives, and practices related to dialogue. By the end of the course, you’ll have begun to develop and apply your own working theory and model of dialogue that is aligned with your values and meaningful for the kinds of work you are most invested in doing personally, professionally, or academically.

COMM 2530 (Formerly 253)

Divine Mediation: Media and the Shaping of Religious Identity and Practice

  • Fall 2024

This course surveys how religious groups interact with media, and how media texts and institutions have played a role in defining religions. The intersections between media and religion are numerous, from the mediated growth of national identities, the rise of online religious extremism, the ingroup/outgroup dynamics within and among religious groups, and the ways in which media is used to legitimize/delegitimize theological positions. We examine how media institutions have played a role in propping up religious norms (both explicitly and implicitly) and the shaping of religious identities. This course looks at media as both enforcer and disruptor, as well as the ways in which religions have been challenged by those with media literacy and access. The evolution of religious practice and social norms can also be linked with technological innovations such as the mass distribution of Bibles in the 15th and 16th century thanks to the printing press, the rise of radio and television messiahs in the 20th century, and the individualization of religious practices through new apps.

COMM 2620 (formerly 263)

Social Movements

  • Fall 2023

This course examines the main sociological theories and concepts in the analysis of revolutions, popular protest, and social movements. Special attention will be given to three theoretical traditions: resource mobilization, political process, and cultural analysis. We will study narratives, symbols, performances, and old and new media forms in the construction of identities and solidarities and the mobilization of publics. Historical and contemporary cases from the U.S. and around the world will be examined. This course fulfills Foundational Approaches Cross Cultural Analysis.

COMM 2640 (formerly 203)

Media, Culture, & Society in Contemporary China

  • Spring 2023

This course covers Chinese media, culture, and society from the 1970s to the present. It examines the causes and consequences of social and institutional transformation, with an emphasis on civic engagement, cultural change, and the impact of digital media. In analyzing these developments, the course pays special attention to historical contexts and draws on concepts and theories from sociology, communication, and related fields. The course helps students develop nuanced and sophisticated approaches to the understanding of contemporary Chinese media, culture and society, and cross-cultural phenomena more broadly. This course fulfills Foundational Approaches Cross Cultural Analysis.

COMM 2820 (formerly 282)

Sick and Satired: The Insanity of Humor and How it Keeps Us Sane

  • Fall 2024
  • Fall 2023

This course will examine 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. The course will enable students to consider, through analysis of both contemporary and historical examples, 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. We will examine the role of satire in revealing and mediating differences between disparate social groups based not solely on language differences, but also on political affiliation, cultural identity, ethnicity, gender, religious fellowship, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic caste.

COMM 2860 (formerly 286)

Masculinity and the Media

  • Fall 2023

This course examines the construction of masculinity in American and global media, highlighting how masculinity developed in parallel to social, cultural, economic, and political norms. Using case studies and multiple theoretical approaches, we will seek to understand how constructions of masculinity across the world have served to uphold – or challenge – the status quo. Analysis of individual texts across time periods and different cultural contexts will also help us better come to terms with the idea of masculinity – and its proliferation across media platforms. This course fulfills Foundational Approaches Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

COMM 2920 (formerly 292)

WARNING! Graphic Content: Political Cartoons, Comix, and the Uncensored Artist

  • Spring 2023
  • Spring 2024

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 3010

Global Media and Society: Perspectives on Africa

  • 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.

COMM 3011

Media, Medicine, and the Art of Mortality

  • Fall 2023

This seminar explores how death has shaped and been shaped by modern communication, healthcare, and the arts. We’ll examine the politics, ethics, and aesthetics of mortality in film, television, journalism, digital media, and literature. Our methodological approach will build on insights from media studies and medical humanities. Topics may include the emergence of the “end-of-life” as a life stage in popular culture and medical care; protest, activism, and other political movements against death and injustice; and the creation of knowledge, media, and art in the wake of mourning and loss.

COMM 3012

Media, Aging, and Adulthood in Modern America

  • Spring 2024

This seminar course examines how mass media reflect and resist norms of adulthood and aging. Frequently defined as an endpoint -- a biological inevitability, a completion of development, an achievement of maturity -- adulthood is neither simple nor static. Media for children and adolescents, for example, often depict adulthood as a paradox: both exciting and boring; free of oversight and burdened by responsibility; the beginning of real life and a kind of death. Students will learn interdisciplinary and multimodal humanistic methods for understanding the mediated history of adulthood. Topics include the emergence of young adulthood as a life stage, a key demographic in consumer culture, and a popular genre; fantasies of nonlinear aging like intergenerational body-swaps, aging backward, and agelessness; quarter-life, midlife, and end-of-life crises; infantilization and other discriminatory exclusions from adulthood; gender and rhetorics of proper aging; and failures and refusals to age appropriately, from the man-child to the Golden Girls.

COMM 3120

Studying Digital Worlds: Qualitative Social Science for Research

This course will prepare students to design and conduct qualitative research projects that seek to understand the social life of digital technologies and digital media. Students will learn about inductive research design and key qualitative methods such as interviewing, ethnography, and content analysis. We will also explore the ethical challenges of research in digital worlds. This qualitative methods course will equip students to analyze interaction in digital media environments, with apps, and elsewhere in everyday life.

COMM 3220 (formerly 322)

History and Theory of Freedom of Expression (SNF Paideia Program Course)

  • Spring 2023
  • Spring 2024

If we were to fashion new laws for speech from scratch in our media-saturated, fake news world, would they be different laws from those we have? The rootedness of free speech in our civic DNA springs from enduring philosophical arguments over what truth and knowledge are, what human nature is like, and what we think society owes to and requires from its members. We explore foundational debates at the core of the First Amendment, the evolving interpretation of the amendment by the Supreme Court, its determined historical challengers, and struggles over its applicability to contemporary controversies. We address strong claims that unfettered speech is central to democratic societies and strong claims that society can be made more democratic by removing discriminatory speech from social media and public discourse more generally. Every society limits speech in significant ways. What are these limits in the United States, why are these the limits, and are they the ones we want? This reading and discussion seminar meets for lively, informed dialogue and debate. This is an SNF Paideia Program course.

COMM 3280 (formerly 328)

Drawing the Blue Line: Police and Power in American Popular Culture (SNF Paideia Program Course)

  • Fall 2024
  • Fall 2023

The police are one of the most heavily imagined institutions in American popular culture. From Cagney and Lacey to Colors, Law & Order, The Wire and The Watchmen, evolving depictions of law enforcement help us to understand larger socio-cultural shifts that have occurred from the post-1968 riots to the dawn of the Black Lives Matter movement in the mid-2010s and police abolition in the early 2020s. Using case study and textual analysis approaches, students will examine how specific police procedurals, movies, and other cultural texts showcase police authority in relation to certain communities, and consider how these texts reflect, uphold and/or challenge prevailing views on law and order and criminal justice. Our explorations of how media and cultural industries have framed policing will pay particular attention to questions of power, race, gender, sexuality, class, and geography. These explorations will also include learning about and learning to dialogue, given the diverse – and often contentious – views about policing in America. Students will have an opportunity to interact with speakers representing different positions that relate to mediated perceptions -- as well as lived experiences of -- policing. Class assignments and activities will enhance students' abilities to productively discuss complex issues that are frequently sanitized or homogenized within U.S. popular culture. This is an SNF Paideia Program course. This course fulfills Foundational Approaches Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

COMM 3360

Feminism and the Internet

From the earliest message boards and email chains, the internet has given people a way to connect, not just digitally but sexually. Porn, online dating, sex education: digital technology has made it easier for people to find each other and explore sexuality, but these same tools have also been used in relationships that are exploitative and criminal. In this course, we look at the different connections between sex, gender, queerness and the internet: changing policies regulating sex (like FOSTA and SESTA), the platforms that have created controversies around sex (for example, craigslist, tumblr and Grindr) and shifting norms around how sex and sexuality manifest online. This is an interdisciplinary course that brings together internet studies, queer theory, and cultural studies in order to understand the social and historical dimensions of sex, sexuality and digital technologies.

COMM 3390 (formerly 339)

Critical Perspectives in Journalism

  • Spring 2023
  • Spring 2024

This course aims to provide students with a critical understanding of journalism. It combines theoretical perspectives on the making of news with primary source material produced by and about journalists. Students analyze theoretical material on journalism – about how news is made, shaped, and performed – alongside articles and broadcasts appearing in the media, interviews with journalists in the trade press, and professional reviews. Topics include models of journalistic practice, journalistic values and norms, gatekeeping and sourcing practices, storytelling formats in news, and ethical problems related to misrepresentation, plagiarism, and celebrity.

COMM 3510

Media and Migration in the 21st Century

  • Spring 2023

This seminar examines how media represent the lives and journeys of people who migrate from the Global South. We explore how migrant stories are framed and circulated across different media networks and we address how public perceptions of migrants shift based on factors such as gender, race, class, and disability. We also consider the affordances and pitfalls of heightened visibility when migrants turn to new media to represent themselves and advocate for rights and recognition. Course materials will include different types of non-fiction media (documentaries, news reports, online content, social media posts) created by a variety of stakeholders (e.g. corporate newsrooms, governments, NGOs, migration activists).

COMM 3600 (formerly 301)

Understanding the Political Economy of Media

  • Spring 2024

This course has two aims. First, assuming that communications are central to any society, it situates media systems within larger national and international social relationships and political structures. Second, this course critically examines the structures of the communication systems themselves, including ownership, profit imperatives, support mechanisms such as advertising and public relations, and the ideologies and government policies that sustain these arrangements. Considering case studies ranging from traditional news and entertainment media to new digital and social media, the course provides a comprehensive survey of the major texts in this vibrant sub-field of media studies.

COMM 3650 (formerly 365)

Media, the Apocalypse, and the Undead

  • Spring 2023

Global media industries have long been fascinated with the idea of the apocalypse, particularly humanity's attempts at survival against (seemingly) mindless hordes. Whether in the form of zombies or infected masses, cultural industries' preoccupation with humankind's collapse - and potential resilience - has led to lucrative film, comic, and television franchise universes. Using texts from around the world, including - but not limited to - The Night of the Living Dead, The Walking Dead, Black Mirror, Reality Z, Dead Set, KL Zombie, The Road, Ravenous, Bird Box, Train to Busan, Kingdom, Adventure Time, and The Girl with all the Gifts, this course invites students to explore the ways in which media and cultural industries seek to define human existence through the Otherness of the undead/infected. Central to the course will be an examination of the ways in which post-apocalyptic portrayals of human survival amidst rampaging hordes include important commentaries and subtexts about race, gender, power, and class, as well as the connections to a political moment or era.

COMM 3662

Autoethnography in the Age of Online Profiles and Selfies

  • Spring 2023

What drives people to make work about themselves? What qualifies as autoethnography, and what distinguishes autoethnography from other forms of autobiographical storytelling? We all have stories to tell. Long before people curated semi-public and public personas through selfies and online profiles on numerous corporate digital platforms, marginalized people were driven to make visual media about themselves that circulated via mail and festivals. Media becomes autoethnographic when media-makers connect their personal experiences and life trajectories with larger societal and global issues, understanding themselves to be implicated in broader historical processes. Autoethnography is an activist performance of the self that seeks to destabilize imposed forms of identity and dominant representations. Historically subaltern groups have used autoethnographic filmmaking to challenge negative representations and power dynamics. This course provides a hands-on approach to learning the ethics, practices, and methods of autoethnographic filmmaking in conjunction with a survey of the history of the genre, including how it has evolved in the digital age. We will interrogate the power dynamics inherent in the filmmaking process and knowledge production more broadly, focusing specifically on the roles and relationships of filmmakers, researchers, and subjects. We will explore the possibilities and pitfalls of representing others and ourselves (and our communities) publicly. Course readings will draw from the growing literature on how to establish researcher/activist partnerships, as well as from case studies that exemplify the controversies, debates, and pivotal moments in the history of non-fiction film. Students will develop and produce their own autoethnographic films, while learning to think critically about the stakes of this kind of media-making. These films will be showcased at the end of the semester.

COMM 3880 (formerly 388)

Ritual Communication

  • Fall 2023

This course explores the power of ritual in contemporary culture. We examine how rituals help forge and strengthen social groups, be they generational, ethnic, religious, familial, regional, professional and/or institutional. We also consider how rituals create and communicate boundaries between "us" and "them" and between "desirable" and "deviant" behaviors. Students will have the opportunity to examine a diverse range of case-studies, from quinceañeras to rodeos, from weddings to reunions. We will explore rituals that unfold at the local level (proms, Thanksgiving dinners), as well as those that most of us experience only in mediated form (Oscars, Super Bowls, Presidential Inaugurations). We will also consider the profoundly disruptive impact of Covid-19 on ritual and explore the creative ways in which people hastily improvised online versions of vital rites of passage. From Gathertown graduations to Zoom memorials, the rapid rise of virtual rituals during the pandemic confirms their fundamental importance to our everyday lives and identities. Students in this interactive course will get to select their own ritual foci, will gain hands-on experience conducting original fieldwork, and will learn how to develop and present compelling research proposals.

COMM 3940

India on Screen: How Global Media Industries Shape Culture and Politics

  • 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.

COMM 4000

Advocacy in Emergent Technology, Digital Media and Society

  • Fall 2024

This course is designed to build a critical foundation for understanding the interplay of digital technologies and society and the important role of advocates in this space. Providing an overview of the history, students will investigate and critique contemporary emergent technologies in a social context, and explore their use in advocacy efforts. The course uses interactive lecture, discussion, readings, and guest speakers from technologists in the field.

COMM 4010

Governing the Internet: Critical Perspectives on Online Trust and Safety

  • Spring 2024

Who decides what’s allowed (or banned) online — and how are these choices made and implemented? Online platforms have become a ubiquitous part of how people socialize, do their jobs, find love and romance, and express their political views; they shape virtually every part of human experience for billions of people around the world. But their governance — the rules that structure what people can and can’t do on online platforms — remains obscure and poorly understood. This interdisciplinary course examines the histories, theories, policies, and technologies of internet governance that make up the emerging field of online trust and safety. You will learn about the different harms online platforms have to contend with — from governments meddling in elections to abuse and harassment — and the strategies platforms have employed to contend with these challenges. You will also have an opportunity to gain hands-on experience writing and implementing policies, including through the use of generative AI and other emergent technologies.

COMM 4110 (formerly 411)

Communication, Activism, and Social Change

  • Fall 2023
  • Spring 2024

This course examines the communication strategies of 20th and 21st-century social movements, both U.S. and global. We analyze the communication social movements create (including rhetorical persuasion, art activism, bodily argumentation, protest music, media campaigns, public protest, and grassroots organizing), and the role of communication in the identity formation, circulation, and efficacy of social movements. We also consider the communication created by forces seeking to undermine social change, define the study of social movements from a communication perspective, identify major historical and contemporary movements, and apply theories of communication and social change to “real world” activism. Students are required to research and design their own social movement campaign.

COMM 4320 (formerly 432)

Digital Inequalities

  • Fall 2024

Digital information and communication technologies are intertwined with our everyday lives, from banking, to working, and dating. They’re also increasingly crucial parts of our most powerful institutions, from policing, to the welfare state, and education. This course examines the ways that these technologies combine with traditional axes of inequality like race, gender, and class in ways that may deepen social inequality. We’ll consider major approaches to understanding digital inequalities and apply them to case studies of both problems and solutions. Students will learn to critically analyze policies and programs from a variety of perspectives, and to evaluate the promise of digital technologies against their potential perils.

COMM 4460 (formerly 446)

Media Industries and Nationalism (SNF Paideia Program Course)

Media institutions have long played a central role in constructing national identity, particularly in the era of nation-states. As globalization increases, media industries have also helped countries project their national identities – and nationalism – for both domestic and international audiences. With contemporary nationalist movements in the spotlight, this course examines how media institutions and cultural industries help to shape nationalism while framing in-group/out-group dynamics for audiences. This course examines case studies in mediated nationalism, paying particularly close attention to – but not limited to - countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, Hungary, Israel, India, Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Ukraine. Using Benedict Anderson’s idea of imagined communities as a theoretical basis, this course seeks to investigate how media industries affirm – and occasionally challenge – nationalistic sentiment, and how much of a role state intervention has played in the production of media texts. This course provides students with an understanding of the deep connection between media institutions and state-sponsored/populist nationalist movements, as well as the dynamics that shape nationalism in both wartime and peacetime eras. This course will also help students engage in constructive dialogue on the impact of nationalism domestically and internationally, while interacting with scholarship and speakers representing a wide range of viewpoints. Students will have an opportunity to learn more nuanced understandings about the ways in which nationalism and media intersect, reflecting the ideological, social, geographic diversity of what it means to be a part of community and nation. This is an SNF Paideia Program course.

COMM 4640

The Industrial Construction of Audiences

  • Spring 2023

This course will explore the ways in which media companies, advertisers, and the ratings and/or analytics firms they hire (Nielsen, ComScore, Liveramp, 84.51°, Experian etc.) count, track, estimate, and label the people who make up their audiences. The descriptions they present are industrial constructions in the sense that they are portrayals of population segments and individuals that are based on data; they may or may not reflect the views that the populations or individuals have of themselves. The class will explore how internet giants such as Google, smaller internet firms such as The New York Times, multimedia companies such as NBC-Universal, connected TV manufacturers such as Vizio, and supermarkets such as Kroger construct their audiences. We will discuss the controversies such activities engender, and the possible implications the industrial constructions of audiences have for society as well as media industries.