Is social media driving us apart as a society? Why do you wear Vans? Why is Game of Thrones such a popular television show?

Studying communication and media allows us to understand our culture and the culture of others through everyday social media, our clothing choices, television programs, films that we consume and music we listen to.

In this course students learn how signs and symbols influence us through a process called rhetoric. Theories of rhetoric (persuasion) taken up in the course set out to answer such questions as: How has social media changed who we are and who people think we are? what is rhetoric? And what is popular culture?

This course teaches students innovative methods of media and communication studies to examine, for example, the influence of hip hop music, the underlying political message in the film Black Panther, and hit television shows, Game of ThronesEmpire, Power, AtlantaParks and Recreation, and even Call of Duty video games.

Students learn how to deconstruct the various ways that persuasive messages are created and disseminated through media. Consequently, students will be empowered to choose what messages they will accept as valid for their own lives, among competing political, economic and social forces.

Our class format is lecture, small group discussions, in-class multi-media presentations and field trips to local sites, including Ithaca’s independent movie theatre, Cinemapolis, where students will view movies followed by short discussions of course concepts and themes projected on the silver screen.

Taught by Christopher House, associate professor in the department of communication studies, Communication and Culture affiliate faculty member, and MLK scholars program affiliate faculty at Ithaca College. His scholarship focuses on Digital media studies, Critical rhetoric & popular culture, and African American rhetoric.

3 credits