Undergraduate Special Topics: Titles & Descriptions (2013-2014)
CS340, CS400, CS401, CS402, CS403
Click for Class Schedules.
All courses listed below have prerequisites, please check the Undergraduate Calendar.
TBA sections will run with set times/days, but the topics or descriptions are unknown. We will try to post the titles and topics as soon as possible. Regardless, the department will not allow registration over-limit, nor allow transfer to full sections, once topics are posted.
Please note that students are allowed registration in one section of CS400 only until August 15/2013. At that time, register for remaining open sections if you wish.
Year 4 students also need to register for one of CS401, CS402, CS403; please register for what you need only, so that other students are able to register and fulfil their graduation requirements.
CS340g - Advanced Nonverbal Communication
This advanced course on nonverbal communication examines the boundaries between nature and culture through focusing on human-animal interactions. How do humans and non-human animals co-constitute one another, and shape nature and culture, through nonverbal interactions? Topics include, but are not limited to, facial expressions, eye behaviour, gesture, touch, vocalics, space, and scent in human nonverbal interactions with companion animals, service and therapy animals, laboratory and zoo animals, animals in sports and entertainment, animals farmed for food, and anthropomorphized animal characters.
Additional Prerequisite: CS202 Nonverbal Communication
CS340h - Digital Intimacies
This course provides a survey of some of the key issues facing scholars, society, communities, cultures and individuals surrounding the crucial conjunction of intimacy and digital culture. The course examines different theoretical and topical approaches to critical intimacies—taken broadly to mean close connections that matter, and upon which people build their lives and experiences—an emerging field of inquiry coming out of the intersection of queer theory with broader, intersecting politics. In taking “digital intimacies” as its main topic, this course will address both digital sexualities (including topics such as sexual subcultures over the Internet, cybersex, sexting, the online pornography industry, and virtual spaces created for sex—from MUDs and MOOs to Second Life); as well as broader forms of intimacy in digital spaces (such as the politics of friending, hashtag publics, avatars, texting practices among tweens, digital divides, video game relationships and connections, and the politics of virtual communities). Concepts and frameworks such as intimacy, queer theory, hybridity, imagined communities, cyborg identities, the posthuman, virtuality and affect theory will be explored along side and through considering the concrete issues above.
CS340m - Multi-media Legacy of Orson Welles
Few artists of the twentieth century have achieved renown in such a variety of media as Orson Welles. Today he is best known as a filmmaker–Citizen Kane (1941) tops almost every critics best picture list–but during the 1930's Welles stunned Broadway with his theatrical productions and then terrified millions with his radio version of H. G. Wells’s, The War of the Worlds done in a live newscast style.
This course will focus primarily on Welles career as a filmmaker–how he was wooed by and then ostracized from Hollywood, only to emerge as a legendary “independent” whose influence is still being felt. However, during the first weeks of the semester we will consider his earlier work in theatre, radio, along with the radical politics that underscored his artistic vision.
CS400a - Transnationalism, Migration & Mobility
This course will focus on the fascinating confluence of transnational practices, cultural forms and identities that come out of a range of mobilities and migrations around the globe. Course themes include transnational media and music, migration and international communication technologies, and mobility and transnational identity.
CS400e - Visual Discourse Analysis: A Multimodal Approach
It has become commonplace to say that we live in a society that has become ‘more visual’ but is this really true? Have other modes of communication become less important? To the contrary, a more thoughtful examination of contemporary forms of communication would suggest that if there has been a grand shift it has not been solely from linguistic to visual modes of communication but rather from mono to multimodal forms of communication. In this workshop-seminar, we will explore how visual meaning is constituted not just through the organization of the visual elements of the text but also in relation to other elements such as written text, sound, tactility, etc. Accordingly, students will be guided in learning how to critically analyze the organization of these elements in a systemic manner rather than simply making claims based upon impressions.
CS400i - Music in Society
In this seminar, we examine a range of research on music in society. Topics will include music's social and evolutionary origins, the cognitive aspects of musical experience, music's communicative power, politics and music, and the uses people have for music in everyday life. We will pay special attention to certain genres of popular music including heavy metal and jazz. Course pedagogy is pursued through lectures, class seminar discussion, weekly written exercises, and writing assignments. All of these pedagogical elements are oriented toward the explanation of the key ideas and issues in the course and toward the student's successful completion of the assessment components.
CS400j - Creative Industries & the City
Why do creative movements, from film to music to publishing to software development, almost always cluster geographically? Why are major media industries so closely linked to major global cities? How do a city's shape and global connections interact with local specificities to foster creative production? How does urban space shape creative industries from film to music to software development? This class is an exploration of the relationship between creative industries and the hubs in which they are based - most often a major globally connected city. While the main focus of the class is on the relationship between contemporary media industries and the cities to which they are linked, we'll also look at the role of cities in the creative industries of the future: will internet-based and other virtual forms of collaboration replace the importance of the city and agglomeration in creative networks?
CS400k - Privacy Matters
This course introduces fundamental issues related to information privacy and security by discussing communicative behaviour, cyber-crime, and legal responses. The course describes the need for and design of Freedom of Information (FOI) and Privacy laws, policies, and regulations. "Privacy Matters" will also consider Privacy on Campus and the circumstances and contexts under which Personal Health information is disclosed. We will discuss the degrees to which surveillance can be necessary and tolerated in society. We will conduct classes by considering specific events and situations and the legislation that applies to them.
CS400L - Making as Communications
Making as communication investigates making and maker culture as modes and systems of communication respectively. Instead of writing a final paper, students will make a project using technologies that can be bought from Adafruit, MakerShed, or similar places. The project will emphasize what they've learned in communication studies and in this class. The project will also have a professional ekphrasis which describes the relationships of the project to communication studies and this class.
CS400q - Visual Communication and Sport
This course will address the intersection of visual communication technologies and sport. As produced by photography, film, television and other visual technologies, images have played a central role in the development of modern sport. They are used as pedagogical and juridical tools, as forms of entertainment, as commodities, and as aesthetic objects. In these and other capacities, images are not simply documentary objects; rather, they are constitutive elements of sport. This course will combine historical research with theoretical perspectives from communication and media studies, visual culture studies and the sociology of sport to critically evaluate the intersection of visual communication and sport in contemporary culture.
CS400t - Risk Communication
We live in a world we have come to understand as increasingly “risky,” from the food and water we consume, the viruses and bacteria we encounter, the technologies on which we increasingly depend, and to the global political scene that seems more and more volatile. In the words of Ulrich Beck (1992), we live in what might best be characterized as an emerging “Risk Society.” Whole industries are concerned with the production of knowledges about the risks we confront, while others, primarily the news media, have the task of communicating information concerning risk to the so-called “general public.” In this senior seminar, we will explore the production and dissemination of “knowledges” about risk in what has come to be known as “risk communication.” We will look to the ways that individuals and their behaviours come to be problematized in the production of knowledges around risk as well as the social, political, and cultural implications of such problematization. We will address questions regarding the ways that “information” about risk both feeds out of and informs social and cultural norms, and how we as individuals negotiate and assess risk in our daily lives. Working through case studies that may range from BSE or Mad Cow Disease and HIV/AIDS, the threat of the atomic bomb and the Cold War, the “War on Terrorism,” and to genetically modified foods and the Walkerton water crisis, we will address not only the ways that “information” is produced and communicated but also the strategies we use to respond to or resist information about the risks we face on individual, community, and global levels.
CS400u - Work & Cultural Industries
This course examines contemporary trends in the world of work in media and cultural industries and beyond. Drawing on political economy, cultural studies, and social theory, the seminar introduces critical perspectives on ongoing transformations in employment conditions, work processes, and labour politics. The course engages with such issues as: the increasing economic importance of creative industries and employment within them; theoretical debates on ‘immaterial labour’ and the ‘feminization of employment’; the ambiguities of occupations and workplaces that promise opportunity for creative self-expression; the politics of internships; the restructuring of work through information and communication technologies; high-tech outsourcing and the changing global division of labour; networked platforms as a means to mobilize media audiences as a workforce; and media and cultural workers’ collective responses to the challenges they face at work. Throughout the course special emphasis will be placed on the precarious nature of employment as a contested feature of media and cultural work. The seminar will provide students with the opportunity to reflect on issues directly relevant to them as they negotiate their own employment futures.
CS400y - Social Movements & Strategic Communications
Strategic communications is an important area for social movements that has become increasingly vital to the success or failure of grassroots organizations to influence public policy and opinion and to recruit members.
Social movements are working to develop their messages to reach different publics via direct and indirect means, expand links with institutions, create networks of supporters, and build their organizations through the expansion of membership, funding, and resources. In this seminar, we will be focusing upon both historical and contemporary examples of campaigns on themes such as public sector unions, anti-poverty issues and living wage campaigns.
CS401m - Moral Panic & Risk Society
In his text Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and the Rockers, Stanley Cohen carves out a definition of moral panic that looks to the ways in which alarm is constructed around social conditions, events or people, alarm that is sanctioned by experts of various brands owing to the perception of a threat to societal values and interests. Primarily concerned with social anxieties about youth cultures, Cohen’s classic articulation of moral panic has been expanded, revised and retheorized in order to address a broader range of social issues. Some, like Toby Miller, have attempted to bring moral panic theory into conversation with Ulrich Beck’s notion of “risk society,” arguing that the discourse of moral panic, in its structures and articulations, now overlaps with other anxieties around economic, nuclear, chemical, environmental, biological, and medical issues. Others have argued that moral panic theory needs to critically address strategies and consequences of fear-mongering by media, politicians, and experts of all types around a broad array of seemingly infinitely substitutable social anxieties in what might be called the “culture of fear.” This course combines theoretical exploration of the concepts of moral panic and risk society with the study of historical and contemporary case studies related to both “youth at risk” and the production of anxiety around environmental, economic, and medical risk issues.
CS401s - Sound Media & Culture
Sound technologies (MP3, iPods, apps, headphones, music videos) are a vibrant part of digital culture, yet scholars in sound studies (J. Sterne for instance) argue they have been neglected in the study of communication. Recent scholarship in sound studies scholars has begun approaching sound, noise and music from various cultural, technical and historical perspectives. This course offers a survey of the growing literature in sound studies while approaching the theoretical underpinnings of the orality/textuality divide.
CS402t - Political Economy of Art & Architecture
This course will assess various critical perspectives that examine the role of art and architecture in constructing ideologies, disseminating discourses, reinforcing gender and racial discrimination and/or resisting all of the above. A major part of the course is a student project that will involve practical engagement with the theoretical issues discussed in the course.
Exclusion: CS400d (Pol. Ec. of Art & Architecture)
CS402u - Spectatorship: Discourses and Practices
This course introduces students to advance scholarship on spectatorship. Received notions of a universal spectator will be problematized so as to build a more critical understanding of spectatorship as a historically and materially defined set of practices.
CS402v - Seeing Social Problems
This course considers the visuality of social problems – how social problems are both defined and experienced through visual forms of mediation. Rather than understanding visual representations as reflections (accurate or inaccurate) of social action the objective is to understand the role visualization active plays in actively constituting social phenomenon as problems for a given society.
CS403s - Piracy
Piracy explores the history, problematics, and development of the practices concepts of piracy in the global context. Emphasis will be placed on the genealogy of the digital piracy and its related technologies. However we will spend a few weeks exploring non-digital piracy and its histories. Students will lead discussions in class, give presentations, and have individual final papers based on their own research.
CS403t - The Cultural Industries
Beginning with an examination of the theoretical and historical emergence of the very idea of "the cultural industries," this course will proceed from these theoretical and historical foundations to a sustained exploration of contemporary cultural industries in Canada. Case studies will include the film and television industry, book publishing, broadcasting, the music industry, telecommunications and the magazine and newspaper industry.
CS403u - Mediating Diaspora: Transnational Media, Global Flows & Hybridity
The purpose of this course is to explore the ways that transnational media flows interact with the hybrid identities, communities, cultures and spaces of diasporic groups. It will also unpack how the “media of diaspora,” considered broadly, affect the transnational media landscape. Together these two major focuses will lead us to reconsider just what we consider “media,” and how mediation operates in the complexity of an increasingly globalized and networked world.