Courses Taught

COMS 481 Advanced Topics in New Media, University of Calgary, Winter 2018

This course examines the nature, origins and social implications of new media with a focus on the internet. The theme of this course is “societies of control” – the way internet technologies promise new freedoms in exchange for new modes of control. Topics covered include internet infrastructure, the technology industry, surveillance capitalism, algorithms, encryption, and cyberviolence.

COMS 591 Internet Policy, University of Calgary, Winter 2018/Winter 2020

This course considers the topic of internet policy: how the internet is regulated as a public good. Topics covered will include network neutrality, data privacy, digital copyright, and freedom of expression. While the focus of the course will be on Canadian internet policy, we will also cover other international regulatory contexts. Students will undertake a major project that integrates their understanding of communication theory, history and methodology in an analysis of internet policy issues.

COMS 313 Research Methods in Communication, University of Calgary, Winter 2017

This course offers a critical introduction to communication research methods. Students will explore, practice, and critique selected quantitative and qualitative research methods and perspectives on the processes of knowledge production. During the course, we will seek to explain the fundamentals of methodological practices in communication studies and review the political underpinnings and historical contexts of various methods used. Throughout, applying key vocabulary and key concepts that pertain to methods and methodology will help us to describe how research is done and what issues are part of research process and practice.

COMS 203 New Media, University of Calgary, Fall 2015/Winter 2016/Fall 2016/Fall 2017/Winter 2020

This course offers an introduction to the social, political, economic, and cultural aspects of new media. New media will first be situated historically and set up as manifestations of different kinds of power. Topics to be examined include the defining characteristics of new media in relation to networked infrastructure, visual culture and representation, identities, audiences, political engagement, and regulatory frameworks. Toward the conclusion of the course, these elements will be brought together through case studies of specific new media forms: social media platforms, mobile technologies, and digital games. The overarching goal of the course is to provide students with the opportunity, through lectures and labs, to gain a broad understanding of new media as a terrain marked by diverse struggles for communication power.

COMS 601 Interdisciplinary Approaches to Communication Studies, University of Calgary, Fall 2016/Fall 2017

Communication studies is an interdisciplinary field concerned with how messages are created, transmitted, and understood. There are hundreds of competing approaches to questions under this broad umbrella, divided into sub-fields that sometimes disagree and sometimes overlap. In this course, we will work toward mapping these sub-fields according to the interests of students in the class. Students will be steering the direction of the course, with the guidance of the instructor, to help them locate their own research interests within the diverse theories, problematics, and approaches of communication studies. In the process of encouraging students to situate themselves within specific sub-fields, the course also considers the demands of graduate education. What does it mean to be a graduate student? We will explore this question by building up the reading, writing, analytical, presentation, and professional skills concomitant to membership within a scholarly community. As part of this community, students will be expected to develop their critical capacities as contributors to the production of knowledge within and beyond academia.

COMS 591 Senior Seminar on Social Media Ethics, University of Calgary, Fall 2015

Social media – networked platforms that enable people to connect and share with each other – facilitate distributed forms of communication while also consolidating power in the hands of a few major actors. This dual possibility for social media of opening up broader participation within asymmetrical economies characterizes the ambivalence endemic to contemporary networked culture. This seminar course asks students to explore how networked culture’s key debates might be framed ethically, in relation to the promise of networked technologies to improve people’s everyday lives. The ethical dilemmas that organize the course fall under three main sections: material, social, and regulatory. In the course’s movement through these three sections, ethical perspectives will be brought to bear on the political, economic, social, and cultural practices that define social media.

MC 404 Political Communication, London School of Economics and Political Science, Winter 2015 (with Nick Anstead)

The aim of the course is to examine the relationship between the media and political processes. It offers a critical review of key aspects of contemporary theory and research in political communications. It examines a range of interconnected issues concerning the politics/media relationship: media and political influence; political marketing; branding and news management; political reporting; media and public knowledge; the ‘crisis’ of current civic communications and public diplomacy.

MC 417 Democracy & the Media, London School of Economics and Political Science, Fall 2014 (with Bart Cammaerts)

This course examines the links between the media and democracy in theory and practice. The range of issues examined include: theories of democracy and the obligations of media; issues of press freedom and the limits to free speech; media and elections; media and public policy; the Internet and political participation; reporting in the digital age; media in an international context and the relationship between the media and social movements. This course discusses the role assumed by the media in both long-established democratic societies and in new and emerging democracies.

MC 408 Theories & Concepts in Media & Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science, Fall 2014 (team taught)

This course addresses key theoretical and conceptual issues in the study of media and communications, within a broadly interdisciplinary social science perspective. It grounds the analysis of media and communications phenomena within broader sociological and political theories of social order and social change, thereby revealing the shifting significance of the media environment for relations among the state, market and public sphere in a globalizing knowledge society.

COMS 368 Media & Gender, Concordia University, Winter 2011 

This course investigates how sex and gender are represented in and by the media. The course examines sexuality, sexism, and theories of gender through a critical examination of contemporary media topics. The course is organized according to three areas, moving from more broad to more specific: Theories of Gender and Sexuality for Media Studies; Media and Gender in the Everyday; and Gendered Communication Technologies.

COMS 413/513 Cultures of Production, Concordia University, Spring 2009

In the context of globalized industrial production, and what some have termed a post-Fordist economic organization, contemporary working environments can be seen as enacting particular cultures of production. Workplaces and practices in a “culturalized” economy seek to cultivate distinct corporate cultures in order to attract the most energetic and creative workforce. Especially in media-related fields, cultures of production based on the “fun” ethos promote the idea that work can be play. Popular representations of creative work often serve to reinforce these glamorized perceptions, at the cost of eliding the exploitative and precarious aspects of cultural production. In examining cultures of production from the perspectives of Cultural Studies, Cultural Economy and Sociology, this course seeks to explore the tensions around agency, negotiation and constraint in the creative workplace.

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