COMS 4800C: Communication and Time
Fall Term, Mondays 1435-1725 – I. Wagman

In this seminar we will focus our attention of thinking about the ways that media technologies are intertwined with our notions of time.  We will also consider how time is communicated to us through a variety of media forms.  Finally, we will explore how key texts in communication theory engage with questions pertaining to the study of time. Particular attention will be devoted to thinking about how our conceptions of time have been upended by COVID-19, the impact of digital technologies on the circulation of ideas and popular culture, and upon developing a conceptual vocabulary to appreciate to better appreciate how life is lived “in time.”

COMS 4800B: Piracy
Fall Term, Tuesdays 1805-2055 – D. Jackson

Description TBD.

COMS 4800H: Sex and Media
Fall Term, Thursdays 1435-1725 – M. MacAulay

This course critically examines the relationship between sexuality and media in terms of production, consumption, and distribution. We will study how media not only reflects sexual norms but also how it creates them. Focusing on the social, political, cultural, and economic aspects of mediated sexualities and sexual media, the course will explore topics such as pornography, sexual violence, sexual health, and LGBTQ issues.

COMS 4800A: Public Relations and Social Issues
Winter Term, Wednesdays 0835-1125 – B. Gauthier

This course is designed to introduce students to key elements of strategic public relations planning and practice in the context of contemporary social issues in the context of contemporary social issues, including health, poverty, environmental damage, education and affordable housing. When practiced strategically, public relations can raise awareness about social issues and help organizations advocate effectively for solutions. The focus will be on developing students’ ability to think strategically about the public relations challenges faced by different social groups. Students will work in teams to plan a complete and strategic public relations campaign that will address the challenges of a local community group and to create effective communication vehicles for that campaign.

COMS 4800D: Communication, Music and Regulation
Winter Term, Tuesdays 1805-2055 – C. Allison

An investigation of music from a communication studies perspective, analyzed through a regulatory framework. Exploration of social, political, technological and economic conditions under which music has evolved as a regulated cultural product and as a tool of communication since the 1500s. Investigation of key issues and concepts including the emergence of, and relationships between, actors* in the music industry, both past and present; the evolution of models of music distribution, production and consumption; the regulation, commodification and promotion of music and its creators.  Study of scholarly texts and popular literature related to communication, music and regulation through individual and group activities. We’ll listen to, and discuss, diverse music genres and formats from the 1500s to 2021. Other activities include: attendance at a live concert**, a tour of a music venue**; and a guest lecturer from the music industry.

* creators, producers, corporations, institutions, regulators, promoters, distributors, consumers & fans

** subject to restrictions that may exist due to COVID-19 in W2021; if so, alternative events will be held. (thankfully, music lives on, even when we are dealing with a pandemic!)

COMS 4800E – Sports and/as media
Winter Term, Fridays 1135-1425 – L. Young

The culture and political economy of sport considered from two angles: 1) “Sports and media” explores the representation of sports across an array of media (e.g. television, film, social media, streaming platforms) and corresponding “cultures” (punditry, fantasy sports, highlights, message boards, gaming); 2) “Sports as media” explores sports as a mode of what James Carey called “ritual-based communication,” which mediate cultural norms regarding competition, performance, economics, celebrity, race and gender.

COMS 4800F: Satellite and Space Communication
Winter Term, Tuesdays 1805-2055 – C. Dornan

This course charts a cultural history of satellite and space communication, from the launch in 1957 of the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, to the deployment of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation, currently underway, in which more than 1,500 low-orbit satellites will provide global Internet access.

Orbital satellites are essential elements of the global communications infrastructure, and as such are indispensable to contemporary daily life. In addition, they are technologies of observation, monitoring everything from weather patterns to the melting of the polar ice caps; from troop movements to the changing composition of the Earth’s atmosphere. They are also tools of espionage, intercepting global telecommunications chatter and peering clandestinely inside the borders of other nations.

The course will assess how these orbital technologies have altered social practice on the ground; how a panoptic technology that knows no national boundaries has been the subject of international negotiation; and how the communication capabilities conferred by satellites have favoured certain geopolitical and commercial interests over others. The course will also consider how orbital space has been represented and romanticized in popular culture, from the Cold War astrofuturism of Walt Disney in the 1960s and the “conquest of space,” to Netflix’s sardonic Space Force and Apple TV’s alternate history of the space race, For All Mankind.

The course will be taught by Prof. Chris Dornan, principal writer of both volumes of the Canadian government-mandated Aerospace Review – the Emerson Report – (2012), and the Canadian Space Agency’s Space Policy Framework (2014).