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COURSE NAME: "Global Media"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Jenn Lindsay
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 3:00-4:15 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: COM 220

This course is an introduction to the current debate around the relationship between globalization and the media. By linking theoretical conceptions with hands-on empirical research and analysis, students will develop a richer and multi-layered perspective around the increasingly relevant yet contested notion of globalization, and specifically on the role that the media have in advancing, challenging and representing social, political and cultural change across multiple regions of the world.


This course focuses on interactions between media, globalization and identity. The course will highlight the social, cultural and political implications of media’s dissemination across the globe, especially in relation to issues such as identity-formation and representation, community and belonging. 

The first part of the course will provide students with an introduction to the historical context of global communication and will introduce the key theoretical debates around globalization and culture. The expansion of media and telecommunications corporations in the context of deregulation and liberalization will be studied, with particular reference to the impact of such growth on audiences in different cultural contexts and from regional, national and international perspectives. Operating off an understanding of media as a primary agent of socialization, and a powerful vehicle for affecting social identities, communicating ideas and constructing meanings, we will consider how the instrumentalization of global media—and how the reception of media images and portrayals of particular social groups—function in multiple ways. Global media can disseminate specific ideologies; reflect the evolving agendas and aesthetics of diverse players and cultures; inform the development of personal and collective identities. Global media serve as a modern day “watering hole,” both planting harmful misinterpretations and stereotypes, and fostering connectedness across geographic distance and sociocultural divides. This course is laid out in the following five sections: 1) the history of the field; 2) the forms of global media; 3) how institutions use mass media; 4) how media influences public discourse, social interactions and self-perceptions; and lastly, 5) a deep dive into the unique institution of “the internet.” 


Develop a firm grasp on contemporary theories of globalization, global communications, socialization and identity formation;

Examine the chief forms of global media, their main characteristics and constraints; 

Assess the instrumentalization of global mass media—who is using it and how?; 

Understand the role and impact of “media flows” from the West to rest of the world, and “counter-flow” from non-Western contexts;

Analyze how globally mediated information contributes to socialization, identity formation, and the construction of knowledge;

Think critically about what it means to be a “person,” being able to articulate multiple social theoretical perspectives on that question, as well as identify a range of social processes and structures that are relevant to the formation, disturbing, and changing of personal identities over the course of a lifetime;

Examine the sociology of the internet and its seemingly borderless platform for virtual identities, digital communities, and distinct cyberpsychological effects on a “glocal” level;

Develop interdisciplinary, cross-cultural knowledge of the evolving, mutually influential relationship between global media, selfhood and community belonging.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Globalization and Media: Global Village of BabelJack LuleRowman & Littlefield Publishers978-1538106273  
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
International Communication: Continuity and ChangeDaya Kishan ThussuBloomsbury Academic978-1780932651  
Identity and Communication (New Agendas in Communication, 1st EditionEdited by Dominic L Lasorsa, America RodriguezRoutledge9780203557105  

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Global Media StudiesToby Miller and Marwan M. KraidyPolity978-0745644325  
Understanding Global MediaUnderstanding Global MediaRed Globe Press978-1137446534  
Social Media Culture and IdentityEdited by Kehbuma Langmia and Tia C. M. TyreeRowman and Littlefield978-1-4985-4859-5  
Globalization: The Human ConsequencesZygmunt BaumanColumbia University Press978-0231114295  
Culture and Identity: The History, Theory, and Practice of Psychological AnthropologyCharles LindholmOneworld Publications978-1851685288  
Liquid ModernityZygmunt BaumanPolity978-0745624105  
The Social Construction of RealityBerger, Peter L., and Thomas LuckmannDoubleday Anchor978-0385058988  
Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern AgeGiddens, AnthonyStanford University Press978-0804719445  
Jihad vs. McWorldBenjamin R. BarberBallantine / Random House978-0345383044  
Sexual Identities and the Media: An Introduction Wendy Hilton-Morrow and Kathleen BattlesRoutledge978-0415532976  
Auto-EthnographyDue via Moodle at class time on April 15. Students will be required to write a short auto-ethnography—a kind of autobiographical field report—assessing their personal identity construction in light of global media and forces of globalization. Part 1 of the paper will report the results of a 36-hour experiment to “go local,” and eschew dependencies on the global, in order to discern its integration into daily life. Part 2 will engage theories and discussions of identity construction in light of globalization and media studies to understand how one’s own life and self-concept is shaped by these forces. REQUIREMENTS: 1500 words, double spaced, Microsoft Word, Times 12-point font, submitted via Moodle. Required: citation of at least 2 course texts and at least 2 additional scholarly sources (journal articles, books or research reports). 20
Topic Presentation and ReportOnce in the semester each student will deliver a 10-minute presentation related to course content. This presentation can also expand upon the day's theme with a deeper exploration of a related topic or news story. Students are required to present two questions to stimulate discussion among classmates. Students must use visual aids (PowerPoint, video, other media) to enhance the discussion, sent to the instructor an hour prior to the beginning of class. Do not simply place a large amount of text on presentation slides and read them to the class; use visuals to stimulate discussion. Your presentation will be graded on your command of the material, your selection of a relevant and engaging topic, the extent to which you engage your classmates, and whether you have internalized and reflected upon the material enough to lead a discussion without reading from slides throughout the presentation. Within one week after the in-class presentation, students will submit a paper recapping their presented research and argument, synthesized with new information and conclusions arrived at in conversation with the class, supplemented by any new learning inspired by the in-class session. It will be 1250 words, double spaced, Microsoft Word, Times 12-point font, submitted via Moodle. Required: citation of at least 1 course text and at least 2 additional scholarly sources (journal articles, books or research reports). Think of your presentation as a workshop for your own ideas and questions, and your paper as the summary investigation paper. 20
Midterm ExamA combination of short and long answer questions which will demonstrate students' ability to identify, understand and critically discuss the concepts learned in the course. 15
Final Exam A combination of short and long answer questions which will demonstrate students' ability to identify, understand and critically discuss the concepts learned in the course. 20
Class Participation and AttendanceClass participation grading is based upon attendance, regular participation in class discussion, generating good questions or interesting insights to fuel class conversation. I will accept a maximum of three absences, after which I will detract 2% of your final grade for each absence.
Weekly Journal Shared with your instructor to [email protected] as a Google Document at 10 pm on the day after the last weekly class session (due Thursday night for this course). Personal reflections should be minimum 250 words in length. You are required to comment upon AT LEAST TWO readings per week: 1) one required reading as well as 2) a reading of your choice from those listed on the “Texts to Select From” section of the syllabus for that week, which you may select to read according to your interest. The goal here is NOT to summarize the readings/films but to interact with and respond to them. I am looking for genuine personal engagement: show me you are listening and thinking critically. The journals will not be graded individually, but they will each be read carefully and will be graded as a whole. Think of this as a weekly written check-in with me, your course instructor. Tell me what you're thinking about in class, tell me how the reading struck you. Did anything make you angry, or comfort you? What topic this week are you still curious about? Weekly submissions can be written in a casual tone, but grammar and writing quality count! 15

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Attendance is mandatory and makes up 10% of your final grade. I will accept a maximum of three absences, after which I will detract 2% from your final grade for each absence. You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. 

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.




Week 1: Overview and introduction. 

The historical context of media globalization and global communications infrastructure (Undersea Cables, Satellites and Data Centers, oh my!). 

Week 2: Theoretical approaches. 

An overview of theories of global media, globalization, socialization and identity formation. 


Week 3: Global media survey. 

Critical issues in the relations between personal and collective identity and News, Entertainment, the Internet and Consumer Media 


Week 4: Global Media and The Man: Political and Economic Implications of Globalization 

We explore the “media flow” from the West and cultural globalization at the hands of big conglomerates such as Google, Facebook, big business and international news networks. We describe this “McWorld” of global marketing and consumer culture, globalized taste-making and trendsetting, celebrity and the implantation of desire—and how the “Hollyworld” and forces of “Coca-colonization” are in tension with identity, autonomy and neighborliness. We examine how the phenomenon of cultural globalization allows for the formation of shared norms and knowledge with which people associate their individual and collective cultural identities, and how that surfaces largely as an ideological, colonialist act of homogenizing Americanization. A major inquiry of this session will whether and how media are instrumentalized by companies and nations to enforce dominant ideologies.

Week 5: Global Media and The Women: The "Global Brothel"

Through topics of international sex trafficking, online pornography, and the internationally-distributed Cosmopolitan Magazine, we will examine pressure exerted upon women's identities and actions via global media forces. 

Week 6: Counter flows. 

Counterbalancing our overview of the Western “media flow,” we look at the other side of the story and how media “counter flow” from non- Western contexts destabilizes the imperialist perspective on globalization and offers new ways of understanding the local uses of media in terms of agency and identity formation. Case studies will touch on Al-Jazeera and Bollywood, Bollywood in Nigeria & Nollywood cinema, and Korean Hallyu.



Week 8: Global media and identity politics. 

This week we explore the connections between global media, formation of self-identity and in-group. In late modernity, media plays a major role in knowledge of self and community, and in the internalization of norms and aspirations. Mass media is thus a crucial vehicle of the self-reflexivity that today defines much of the religious quest for self and identity. As theorists of late modern social life such as Anthony Giddens has suggested, the project of the self is perhaps the dominant concern of the age. In these class sessions, we return to social scientific theories of identity formation, the social construction of reality, and media as an agent of socialization, asking specifically about how globalized media portrayals are determinant for collective and individual identities, worldview development and opinions, and orienting attitudes toward “the Other.”

Weeks 9 and 10: Global media and local community: representation, public discourse and stereotypes. 

Our primary textbook author Jack Lule describes how “globalization and media are combining to create a divided world of gated communities and ghettos, borders and boundaries, suffering and surfeit, beauty and decay, surveillance and violence.” Zygmunt Bauman wrote that globalization divides as much as it unites, creating a more homogenous world and an ever-widening gulf between the haves and the have-nots. Global media has allowed for increasing awareness of diverse religious lifeways, as well as for biases confirmed through media misrepresentations. The media are now the context within which the most widely-held discourses in national and global culture take place, and local and individual discourses must find their way within that larger context. As Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann acknowledged that “conversation is the primary vehicle of reality maintenance,” we can see the power of media representation to influence discourse and, in turn, attitudes and behaviors among groups. The capabilities of various media to not only heighten global awareness of diverse cultures and religions and stimulate cross-cultural exchange and integration, but also to position non-normative identities against Western norms, shows that media are "consciousness industries," conveying and positioning cultural symbols and forms. We will discuss the role of global media in public discourse, considering it both as an agent of cultural literacy and also of negative stereotyping and generalizations, touching upon the “Dune effect,” coined by researchers at Stanford to explain how the media is a powerful agent for establishing the public’s opinions and social relations.


Weeks 11 and 12: The sociology of the internet. 

Virtual identities and cyberpsychology. Digital communities, gaming, social networks and political activism. The borderless, unmonitored world of online activity creates profound potential to persuade and recruit new friends, supporters, and even followers. Gamers testify to the vibrancy of their online relationships. These days, it is increasingly common to meet significant others online. The gay community has found the internet to be a haven for resistance, community, and strategy. We will survey the unique position of the internet in our study of global media and identity.

Week 13: Putting it all together: Summary and Conclusion. 

Week 14: Final Exam Review.