Graduate Courses in Communication Studies 2017-2018

Fall 2018

COMS 616 (CRN 1594) Staff-Student Colloquium (3 credits) Prof. Gabriella Coleman, W, 1435-1725, Ferrier 230

This course introduces incoming AHCS graduate students to the field of communication studies and to the expectations and requirements of the MA and PhD programs in communication studies at McGill University. The course involves a review of selected materials in the field of communication studies grounded in interdisciplinary, critical, anti-oppression, and/or interpretive perspectives. Students are expected to prepare for each seminar by completing the assigned readings and related activities, actively taking part in seminar discussions and events in the department, and completing a series of writing assignments. Attendance is mandatory. The course will be augmented by specialized seminars given by the departmental faculty in their respective fields.

COMS 630 (CRN 12473) Readings in Communications Research 1 (3 credits) Instructor’s approval required

Instructor’s approval required

COMS 639 (24620) / ARTH 723 (24619) / EAST 685, Interpretive Methods in Media (3 credits) Prof. Thomas Lamarre, F, 11:35-14:25, Arts W-5

Objectives:
This course introduces a number of theoretical approaches to the study of nonwestern histories, cultures, institutions, etc. There are two primary objectives: to prepare students to read and analyze contemporary scholarly theory and practice; and to examine the goals and histories of various disciplines in constructing their object of study. The aim is not merely to present some of the critical impasses of various disciplinary approaches, but more importantly to discuss alternatives.

Methodology: We will discuss the reading or readings indicated in the schedule on that date, with an emphasis on analyzing these texts in terms of their aims/hypotheses, assumptions/conclusions, and modes of analysis. Students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the readings. The readings are organized around a certain problematic. At the end of each unit, a response on that unit will be due, as marked on the schedule. In general, the response will comprise five pages: one page of critical summary for each of four different readings from that unit (which will be announced), with a fifth page presenting a more general response. There will be, in total, four of these five-page responses. Students are encouraged to use the fifth page to relate the readings to a specific research project, such that, in the course the term, student can develop a critical perspective for that project. Students are welcome to write a short paper based on that project instead of the fourth response paper.

COMS 646 (CRN 22499) / EAST 564 (CRN 25861) Popular Media (3 credits) Prof. Yuriko Furuhata, Th, 1335-1625, Ferrier 230

The course takes as a point of departure the recent “environmental turn” in Media Studies. Coming on the heels of an interdisciplinary push to expand the scope of media beyond the canonical forms of mass media and social media, this turn towards the environment has prompted scholars to think about the atmosphere, climate, ambience, technical milieus, habitats, built environments, and other territorial enclosures in relation to technological media. The literal and metaphorical concerns over the environment is also growing among Area Studies scholars, who have developed so-called “media ecological” approaches to the study of interlocking systems and convergences across social, economic, institutional, and infrastructural dimensions of media production, circulation, and consumption. The course builds on this current situation in Media Studies and Area Studies in order to broaden the notion of “environment” and map out key historical moments, methodological challenges, and theoretical issues that bridge these two fields.

Instead of interpreting the relationship between media and environment in the contemporary sense of environmental sustainability, energy consumption, and digital rubbish, this course therefore uses the framework of media environment to rethink the relation between media and milieu/environment in an expanded context. Our task is to think “media” beyond canonical forms such as radio, cinema, television, and the Internet by exploring a wide range of material objects, technics, technology, and “cultural techniques,” and their socio-historical articulations with a given milieu. This expanded approach to media also allows us to revisit and raise questions about a wide range of topics such as the ubiquity of screens in urban space, the regulatory and disciplinary functions of media, or the continuing material impact of colonial telecommunication infrastructures in the present. Since the questions of the environment, milieu, and territory are inseparable from the legacies of imperialism and colonialism that are indispensable for the studies of Asia, we will also look at biological and anthropological conceptions of “animal,” “human,” “race,” “species,” and “genus” that appear alongside discourses on environments.

Questions to consider during this course are: How might we then use this environmental turn in media studies to rethink and revisit the histories of media, technics, and technology in and through East Asia? How might this expanded approach to media and environment resonate with, resist, or rewrite earlier methodological and theoretical concerns that bridge Area Studies and Media Studies?

COMS 655 (CRN 25746) Media and the Senses (3 credits) Prof. Carrie Rentschler, W, 1135-1425, PL3487 SEMRM

Course description coming soon.

COMS 675 (CRN 18662) / ARTH 731 (21403) Media and Urban Life (3 credits) Prof. Will Straw, F, 1135-1425, Arts W-5

Course description coming soon.

COMS 683 (CRN 22003) Special Topics in Media and Politics: "Infrastructure" (3 credits) Prof. Darin Barney, T, 11:35-14:25, Ferrier 230

Among the conditions of possibility of communication are the availabilities and affordances of infrastructure. This seminar will investigate the recent (re)turn of attention to infrastructure in the field of communication and media studies, in the context of similar turns in related fields of anthropology, geography, sociology, architecture and environmental studies. What counts as infrastructure, and what are the limits of this category? How is power materialized, mediated and contested as, by and through infrastructure? What role does infrastructure play in the configuration of urban, rural, local, national, colonial and imperial imaginations, economies and geographies? Drawing on an emergent, interdisciplinary literature, this seminar will explore theoretical and empirical studies of the social, political and environmental dimensions of infrastructure across the terrains of analog and digital communication, resource extraction, energy, storage, disposal, transportation, labour and logistics.

COMS 692 (CRN 3404) M.A. Thesis Preparation 1 (6 credits)

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.

COMS 693 (CRN 3405) M.A. Thesis Preparation 2 (6 credits)

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.

COMS 694 (CRN 3406) M.A. Thesis Preparation 3 (6 credits)

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.

COMS 695 (CRN 3407) M.A. Thesis Preparation 4 (6 credits)

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.

COMS 702 (CRN 7097) Comprehensive Exam (0 credits)

Comprehensive examination as per departmental procedure.

COMS 703 (CRN 4271) Dissertation Proposal (0 credits)

Dissertation proposal.

COMS 730 (CRN 3408) Readings in Communication Research 2 (3 credits) Instructor’s approval required

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

 

Winter 2019

COMS 623 (CRN 18857) Information Design: "Research Epistemologies” (3 credits) Prof. Becky Lentz, W, 11:35-14:25, Arts W-220

This is a qualitative research theory/design course best suited for humanities and social science-oriented graduate students who are entering the proposal writing stage of their MA thesis or PhD dissertation projects. See Kagan’s 2017, The Three Cultures: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and the Humanities in the 21st Century, for a general perspective on the course’s overall orientation toward research theory and method. A detailed course syllabus will be available in Fall 2018.

COMS 630 (CRN 4374) Readings in Communications Research 1 (3 credits) Instructor’s approval required

Instructor’s approval required.

COMS 681 (CRN 18139) Special Topics: Media and Culture (3 credits) Thomas Lamarre and Adam Szymanski, F, 11:35-14:25, Arts W-220

Course description coming soon.

COMS 683 (CRN 18336) Special Topics in Media and Culture (3 credits) Prof. Bobby Benedicto, T, 11:35-14:25, Arts W-5

Course description coming soon.

COMS 692 (CRN 1458) M.A. Thesis Preparation 1 (6 credits)

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.

COMS 693 (CRN 1459) M.A. Thesis Preparation 2 (6 credits)

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.

COMS 694 (CRN 1460) M.A. Thesis Preparation 3 (6 credits)

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.

COMS 695 (CRN 1461) M.A. Thesis Preparation 4 (6 credits)

Preparatory work towards the Master's thesis.

COMS 702 (CRN 6119) Comprehensive Exam (0 credits)

Comprehensive examination as per departmental procedure.

COMS 703 (CRN 3269) Dissertation Proposal (0 credits)

Dissertation proposal.

COMS 730 (CRN 1462) Readings in Communications Research 2 (3 credits) Instructor’s approval required

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