COM 220: Media, Culture and Society

Prof. Antonio Lopez
John Cabot University
Spring 2009, M-W: 17:15-18:30
Room: Gaius/G.K.G.4
Class Website:
Office Hours: by appointment

Clicker here for final paper guidelines

Click here for a paper copy of the syllabus.

(Note: this is subject to change, so please check periodically on the class Website)

Click here for class schedule and readings.

Course Description:

This course introduces how mass communications negotiate culture and society. We examine how symbols and communication strategies vary in the context of different media forms, from books to television, and from the Internet to cell phones. We examine institutional pressures and filters that impact and frame media flows, including the influence of governments, corporations and citizen activists. Some important themes include the difference between information and entertainment (and when the converge as infotainment); the impact of convergence; the coding of race, gender and others social and cultural groups; the impact (“effects”) of media on audiences; and the influence of media on globalization. Ultimately we’ll seek to understand what constitutes authentic and inauthentic communications and how that impacts your life directly.

Required Texts:

Dominick, Joseph, The Dynamics of Mass Communication (10th Edition), (McGraw Hill, 2009)

John Downing, Christopher Martin et al (eds), Questioning The Media: A Critical Introduction; 2nd Edition (Sage, 1995)

Available at Anglo-American Bookstore, Via della Vite 102

Additional readings will be handed out in class, available online or will be on reserve in the library.

Course Organization:

This class is organized around the discussion of critical questions based on comparative media texts viewed in class and online. Thus, class participation and attendance is essential. There will be a series of short papers and analytical assignment designed to put into practice theoretical concepts explored in class.