Join Doctoral Students in Examining the Intersections Among Media, Technology and Democracy
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
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
NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller is coming back to Big Think to answer YOUR questions! Here's all you need to know to submit your science-related inquiries.
Big Think's amazing audience has responded so well to our videos from NASA astronomer and Assistant Director for Science Communication Michelle Thaller that we couldn't wait to bring her back for more!
And this time, she's ready to tackle any questions you're willing to throw at her, like, "How big is the Universe?", "Am I really made of stars?" or, "How long until Elon Musk starts a colony on Mars?"
All you have to do is submit your questions to the form below, and we'll use them for an upcoming Q+A session with Michelle. You know what to do, Big Thinkers!
Or how I learned to stop worrying and love my tsundoku.
- Many readers buy books with every intention of reading them only to let them linger on the shelf.
- Statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb believes surrounding ourselves with unread books enriches our lives as they remind us of all we don't know.
- The Japanese call this practice tsundoku, and it may provide lasting benefits.
Calling all big thinkers!
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