Graduate Courses in Communication Studies 2022-2023

Fall 2022

COMS 611 (CRN 7960) (3 credits)
History/Theory/Technology: The Communication Ecology, the Nation State and the Public

Prof. Mark Lloyd
Friday, 11:35 am-2:25 pm
FERR 230

In 2022, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, put the Doomsday Clock at 100 seconds to midnight. They argued that “despite laudable efforts by some leaders and the public, negative trends in nuclear and biological weapons, climate change, and a variety of disruptive technologies—all exacerbated by a corrupted information ecosphere that undermines rational decision making—kept the world within a stone’s throw of apocalypse. Global leaders and the public are not moving with anywhere near the speed or unity needed to prevent disaster.”

History/Theory/Technology: The Communication Ecology, the Nation State and the Public is a graduate seminar exploring the dynamic relationship between the challenges highlighted by the Doomsday Clock and the role of the state and the public regarding "a corrupted information ecosphere" or what communication scholars call the communication ecology. After setting the stage with an examination of communication theory and history, the class will dive into a student-driven examination of current communication policy and its impact on infrastructure and content in Quebec, followed by student-driven development of proposals to change or justify existing practice regarding communication policy in Quebec.

PDF icon COMS 611 Course Outline


COMS 616 (CRN 2120) (3 credits)
Staff-Student Colloquium 1

Prof. Jenny Burman
Tuesday, 2:35 pm-5:25 pm
FERR 230

Pro-Seminar in Communications. A required course for all new M.A. and Ph.D. students. The Pro-Seminar is designed to explore theoretical and methodological issues in Communications through a series of presentations by the faculty and other McGill associates.


COMS 630 (CRN 2121) (3 credits)
Readings in Communications Research 1

Reading programs supervised by a member of staff; topics will be chosen to suit individual interests.

Prerequisite: Instructor's approval required.


COMS 655 (CRN 2122) (3 credits)
Media and the Senses: Affect, Culture and Politics

Prof. Carrie Rentschler
Monday, 2:35 pm-5:25 pm
ARTS W-220

Crowd of people holding up signs with angry emojisTheories of affect shift some of the focus in social and cultural theory around meaning making and the propositional work of language and representation toward the dimensions of collective movement, resonance and the “felt” in social and political life. Our seminar will critically examine this shift, what it means, and where it might take us as cultural critics, theorists, and researchers. At heart, this course attempts to better understand the roles that power and collective feeling, and the capacities to be moved and move others, play in the processes of social change and the durability of institutions and power relationships.

COMS 655: Affect, Culture and Politics explores the relationship between historical structures of feeling, affective cultural resonances, new forms of political organization, and their media environments. We will read key works from cultural studies scholars of political affect and feminist, queer, and anti-racist work on the constitutive role of emotions and feeling in social change and social relationships. We will also read recent work in media studies that draws from these theoretical frameworks, with a particular focus on internet culture, game studies, and texts on the growing resurgence of right-wing populism and the movements that support them.

File COMS 655 Course Outline


COMS 692 (CRN 2123) (6 credits)
M.A. Thesis Preparation 1

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.


COMS 693 (CRN 2124) (6 credits)
M.A. Thesis Preparation 2

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.


COMS 694 (CRN 2125) (6 credits)
M.A. Thesis Preparation 3

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.


COMS 695 (CRN 2126) (6 credits)
M.A. Thesis Preparation 4

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.


COMS 702 (CRN 2127) (0 credits)
Comprehensive Examination

Comprehensive examination as per departmental procedure.


COMS 703 (CRN 2128) (0 credits)
Dissertation Proposal

Compulsory examination for all doctoral candidates.


COMS 730 (CRN 2129) (3 credits)
Readings in Communications Research 2

Reading programs supervised by a member of staff; topics will be chosen to suit individual interests.

Prerequisite: Instructor's approval required.


Winter 2023

COMS 648 (CRN 1919) (3 credits)
Bodies and Machines: At the Interface

Prof. Jonathan Sterne
Tuesday, 2:35 pm-5:25 pm
ARTS W-220

Cats On Synthesizers In SpaceThis is a course about the politics of interfaces. How do technologies present themselves to people? How do people present themselves to technologies? How do decisions about command and control become implicated in broader political formations? Does design transparency lead to justice and does opacity lead to injustice? How do technologies uphold or undermine structural ableism?

After reviewing some “classic” interface theory and its roots in theories of the dispositif (and more recently, affordances), the course will take students through emerging critical perspectives on interfaces from a variety of approaches. Readings will be drawn from media studies, disability studies, sound studies, science and technology studies, and other fields. We will consider touchscreens, sensors, voice assistants, and computer operating systems, but also dashboards, game controllers, cochlear implants, analog synthesizers and technologies that claim to have “no” interface. Throughout the term, students follow a single interface of their choosing, building a dossier of primary documents and approaches to it.


COMS 675 (CRN 1920) (3 credits)
Media and Urban Life

Prof. Will Straw
Wednesday, 11:35 am-2:25 pm
ARTS W-220

The role of media in giving shape to urban life, including ways in which various media, from the newspaper through digital information networks, have shaped urban space, life and culture.

Cross-listed with ARTH 731.


COMS 681 (CRN 6886) (3 credits)
Special Topics: Media and Culture
Echo

Prof. Alex Blue V.
Monday, 11:35 am-2:25 pm
ARTS W-5

Emergent themes in media and culture, and their application to current issues in communication studies.


COMS 683 (CRN 1921) (3 credits)
Special Topics in Media and Politics: Death, the Body and Visual Culture

Prof. Bobby Benedicto
Wednesday, 11:35 am-2:25 pm
FERR 230

Death, it is often said, lies beyond representation. It cannot be known or communicated. It is a singular event that speaks to the shared limit of human consciousness, sense, and perception. Despite, or because of, the radical incommunicability of death, it has long been a central preoccupation of artists, writers, and filmmakers, and of philosopher and theorists working across various disciplines and fields of inquiry. In this seminar, we will examine efforts to think through, capture, and confront the specter of human finitude. We will ask: What is at stake in attempts to aestheticize and theorize that which cannot be reclaimed for the domains of knowledge and experience? How are these attempts shaped by the politics of gender, sexuality, and race and their relationship to the politics of the image? How have the materiality of the body and the uneven distribution of risk and vulnerability shaped conceptualizations of death more broadly? In asking these questions, we will engage various psychoanalytic and philosophical approaches to the problem of death and dying, and set them against examples drawn from across the visual arts.


COMS 692 (CRN 1922) (6 credits)
M.A. Thesis Preparation 1

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.


COMS 693 (CRN 1923) (6 credits)
M.A. Thesis Preparation 2

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.


COMS 694 (CRN 1924) (6 credits)
M.A. Thesis Preparation 3

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.


COMS 695 (CRN 1925) (6 credits)
M.A. Thesis Preparation 4

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.


COMS 702 (CRN 1926) (0 credits)
Comprehensive Examination

Comprehensive examination as per departmental procedure.


COMS 703 (CRN 1927) (0 credits)
Dissertation Proposal

Compulsory examination for all doctoral candidates.


COMS 730 (CRN 1928) (3 credits)
Readings in Communications Research 2

Reading programs supervised by a member of staff; topics will be chosen to suit individual interests.

Prerequisite: Instructor's approval required.

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