I just put the final touches on my courses for this year. I am pretty excited about what the year portends!
On Tuesdays and Fridays at 2:30pm, I will be teaching CMST 1a03: Intro to Communication. I absolutely love teaching this giant course. It is the first course that I ever taught at Mac, on the morning of September 11, 2001. What a start to a career. The way we teach communications at McMaster is a little different, with a strong focus on critical, cognitive and professional approaches. The students read a big selection of interpersonal and speech communication texts, as well as a lot of communication, linguistic and cultural theory. The assignments are a combination of professional writing, presentations and, this year, public speaking!
On Tuesday mornings, 11:30-2:30, I will be teaching CMST 4N03: News Analysis, Theory & Practice. This course is designed to highlight agenda setting, framing and cultivation theory. It is also meant to pull the veil back from how news is a produced and viewed. We spend a lot of time thinking about what the move to the Internet and social media means for the news. I also schedule a good number of visiting lectures from the worlds of journalism, public relations and political communication during this class. The students do a major empirical content analysis, working in groups.
On Friday evenings, 4:30-7:30, I will be leading a graduate seminar, CSMM 704: Media, Public Relations & Reality. This course will examine the concept of reality from a variety of perspectives: social, linguistics and cognitive. It is a very challenging course that takes students on a tour of the philosophy of reality, cognition and some public relations theory. Here’s what the syllabus looks like (remember, we are reading excerpts from the philosophical works!). I am very excited about this course, since it really is a “high theory” course – a change from the courses in communications management, measurement and analysis (which I love teaching too!).
CSMM 704: Syllabus
Week 1: What is knowledge? How does it support life?
- Aristotle, Montaigne, Nietzsche
Week 2: Does knowledge define reality? How about perspectivalism?
- Berkeley, Nozick, Descartes, Plato (Allegory of the Cave)
- Fiction: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Week 3: What is reality for communications? The gnostic heresy.
Week 4: Causality?
- Hume, Laplace
Week 5: How do language, mind & society impact reality?
- Searle, Sperber, Eco, Quine,
Week 6: What is linguistic discourse? Does language shape reality?
- Lakoff, Pinker, Fairclough
Week 7: What is social discourse? Is reality a social construction?
- Foucault, Rosen, Wittgenstein
Week 8: What is the mind? Who are you? Is there a self?
- Dennett, Freud, Aristotle (De Anima)
- Media: The Century of the Self
Week 9: Media as simulacrum of life?
- Minsky, Kurzweil, Hofstadter, Baudrillard
Week 10: What is reality from the perspective of public relations theory?
- Bernays, Lipmann, Ellul, Chomsky
- Media: Necessary Illusions
- Fiction: The Man in the High Castle
Week 11: Do our senses and our emotions shape reality?
- McLuhan, Damasio, Minsky (emotions), Turing
- Media: The Persuaders, The Merchants of Cool
Week 12: Borges’ story of the map & Jean Vanier’s alternative view.
- Borges, Vanier