Join Doctoral Students in Examining the Intersections Among Media, Technology and Democracy
This semester I am teaching a doctoral seminar on the important questions and trends related to media, technology and democracy. In this post, I introduce several major topics and provide the reading list for the course, with links to where the articles are freely available online.
At Age of Engagement and Big Think, you will be reading insights and analysis from the 6 students in the seminar. One of the goals of the course and the doctoral program in Communication at American University is to not only train a new generation of advanced researchers but also to train these scholars to work at the boundary between academia, government, the media, and civil society, examining the big questions and challenges in a way that informs debate, professional practice and decision-making. All of the posts related to class and by students will be archived here.
Blogging is a vehicle for preparing young researchers to work at this nexus, giving them experience in translating complex ideas and research in a form that is compelling, relevant and accessible to a range of audiences. Blogging also starts to build name recognition and visibility among a network of scholars and others examining the same questions.
Technological innovation and industry realignment are quickly altering the news, entertainment, advertising, and public relations industries. These changes have far-reaching impact on politics, government, business, the environment, health, the workplace, and almost all other aspects of contemporary society. They create extraordinary challenges and opportunities for scholars, professionals and policymakers.
Consider just a few of these challenges:
These themes and many others are addressed throughout the semester. Different from traditional doctoral seminars, each week is not organized around a specific theoretical area but rather around a process, challenge, or topic related to media, technology and democracy. Each week, an interdisciplinary mix of theories and strands of scholarship are included as part of the reading.
The goal is for students to start to acquire an integrated understanding and expertise that enables them to build upon multiple disciplines in their investigation of how communication relates to the causes and solutions to public problems and policy debates. In this course you will find research not only from the discipline of communication, but also from psychology, sociology and political science.
I invite you to follow along each week with the course and with the ideas and analysis presented by the students.
Communication Theory: History, Questions, Challenges
Public Scholarship, Applied Research and Translation
The Public Sphere and Communication
Media Institutions & Social Systems
Sociology of Journalism and News Decision-Making
Patterns of Societal and Media Attention to Social Problems
Attention, Motivation and Use of Media
Perception, Decision-Making and Persuasion
Media, Knowledge and Learning
Framing, Attributions and Problem Definition
Communication, Social Norms and Perceptions
Identity, Values and Perceptions of Problems
Communication, Networks and Engagement
Media, Activism, and Protest
Communication, Media and Polarization
Organized Deliberation and Decision-Making
Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.
- Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
- In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Going back to the moon will give us fresh insights about the creation of our solar system.
- July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing — Apollo 11.
- Today, we have a strong scientific case for returning to the moon: the original rock samples that we took from the moon revolutionized our view of how Earth and the solar system formed. We could now glean even more insights with fresh, nonchemically-altered samples.
- NASA plans to send humans to a crater in the South Pole of the moon because it's safer there, and would allow for better communications with people back on Earth.
Pugs and bulldogs are incredibly trendy, but experts have massive animal welfare concerns about these genetically manipulated breeds.
- Pugs, Frenchies, boxers, shih-tzus and other flat-faced dog breeds have been trending for at least the last decade.
- Higher visibility (usually in a celebrity's handbag), an increase in city living (smaller dogs for smaller homes), and possibly even the fine acting of Frank the Pug in 1997's Men in Black may be the cause.
- These small, specialty pure breeds are seen as the pinnacle of cuteness – they have friendly personalities, endearing odd looks, and are perfect for Stranger Things video montages.
Jokesters and serious Area 51 raiders would be met with military force.
- Facebook joke event to "raid Area 51" has already gained 1,000,000 "going" attendees.
- The U.S. Air Force has issued an official warning to potential "raiders."
- If anyone actually tries to storm an American military base, the use of deadly force is authorized.