Introduction to Communications and Media Imperialism

Introduction to Communications and Media Imperialism Major essay

This is a two-part assignment that will culminate in an essay that combines course material with your own research into a specific media-related case study.

Introduction to Communications and Media Imperialism
Introduction to Communications and Media Imperialism

The first step is to produce an essay proposal or outline indicating your proposed project. Based on the feedback that you receive on this outline, you will then write the full essay. The purpose of the assignment is to help you more closely consider some of the concepts, ideas, and terminology discussed in class and the readings, and to develop their implications through research.

Late penalty: 3% per day (unless proper medical documentation is provided)

NOTE: Assignments that are more than two weeks late will receive 0.

Essay proposal/outline

Before beginning the essay, review the ‘Selecting Sources’ section of the SPARK site, and carefully read the ‘Research Strategies’ section (on the right side of the Moodle site).

The essay proposal/outline should be written in full sentences and paragraphs, and have the following three elements:

  1. Key questions: an outline of the key questions or debates that your paper will seek to address. This should not be a thesis statement. When you begin your research, you should have a set of issues or questions that you are interested in addressing rather than a finished argument. Your research will provide you with the material to help you answer those questions, and your thesis (ie. your argument) will thus only come after you complete your research. Length: approx. 200-250 words.
  2. Essay outline: an overview of the different sections or themes that you will discuss and how they fit together. (approx. 200-250 words).

NOTE: in the key questions and outline sections, you MUST refer specifically to the course readings, theories, and concepts on which you will draw in the essay

  1. An annotated bibliography of possible sources for the essay based on your research. You should have a minimum of 5 sources, none of them course readings. These must include at least one scholarly book (not a textbook), two scholarly journal articles, and one credible web-based source. Annotations for each source should be between 100 and 150 words, and should include a) a very brief outline of the content and b) a discussion of how the source will be used in the essay. Part b) is the most important element. Think carefully about what role the source will play in your essay, and how you will engage critically with it.

Introduction to Communications and Media Imperialism Final essay

Before beginning the final essay, carefully read the ‘Writing Strategies,’ ‘Revising Arguments,’ and ‘Essay Editing’ sections of the SPARK page (on the right side of the Moodle site).

The final essay will be 6-8 pages, double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, 1 inch margins (not including footnotes and bibliography). Essays must include at least three readings from the course (which may include one of the ‘recommended readings’), five outside academic sources (including one book), and any relevant non-academic sources (for example, media content of any kind, policy documents, websites, material produced by organizations, etc.). These must all be used in a substantive way. The essay will be based on the research conducted for the outline/proposal, but expanded further. In developing the essay, you MUST take into account the comments and suggestions on the proposal/outline. If your TA indicates that one or more of the sources there were inadequate, adequate replacements must be found.

The graded essay proposal/outline MUST be submitted along with the final essay; without it, the essay will be given a 0.

Plagiarism of any written assignment is punishable by a 0 on the assignment, a 0 on the course, or more severe penalties. Be sure to hand in both an electronic copy and a paper copy of your paper, and be sure to save your research notes and rough drafts.

Introduction to Communications and Media Imperialism Topics

  1. Copyright has become one of the key battlegrounds in the struggle over media, communication, and culture. Through a specific case study, explore how copyright works, what the key debates are, and how copyright shapes that specific media case. Do current copyright laws limit or enhance forms of expression? Are there alternative models that might work better?
  2. What roles can community media play in providing alternatives to dominant media sources? What challenges or limitations do community media face, including those resulting from commercial pressures and influences? Starting from these general questions, develop a case study of one specific community media source (newspaper, TV station or program, etc.).
  3. What is the concentration of media ownership? Why is it an issue in Canada? What are the impacts of a concentration of ownership on the democratic role of media and communication? Through a specific case study focused on a social or political issue, develop a response to these questions that consider the impact of media concentration, as well as possible policy or other solutions. The focus can be on legacy media (print, TV, radio), and/or digital media (social media, etc.).
  4. Historically, what role has the CBC and Public Service Broadcasting played in the Canadian broadcasting system? With the proliferation of communications technology, and what some claim to be ever expanding choice in media products, is there a future for the CBC and public broadcasting? Discuss with reference to the debates outlined in the course.
  5. How have media activists and organizations seeking to challenge the power of dominant media and ideologies? In what way do new forms of digital media enable these challenges, and what are the limitations faced by such projects? Develop a case study that examines a particular issue, organization, or activist group, and analyze how their media activism has served to challenge dominant practices. Possible areas include Indigenous media, anti-racist activism, feminist activism, anti-capitalist movements, environmental organizations, etc.
  6. What is “media imperialism” (also called “cultural imperialism”)? Focusing your research on a country or region other than Canada, discuss how media imperialism manifests itself in relation to that context. What are the ways in which that country or region has responded to this perceived threat, and to what extent have they been successful? Are there limits to the concept of ‘media imperialism’ in understanding the global media landscape?
  7. How has the rise of digital media expanded the scope of surveillance in contemporary societies, including the growing role of data and algorithms? What roles does surveillance play in shaping the contemporary media landscape? (examples may include everything from the political economy to the ways in which we use and/or subvert surveillance) Develop a case study that examines how surveillance works in a specific mediated context; this may include a particular platform or app, a specific company, or the way in which surveillance operates along lines of class, gender, race, sexuality, etc.
  8. What are the environmental impacts of media technologies? How do media themselves, in particular through advertising, potentially drive environmental problems and/or the ideologies that contribute to such problems? Are media also potentially a source of critical perspectives? Develop an analysis of the environmental impact of new media through the analysis of a specific case study. This may include a particular technology, place, or form of media production.
  9. With written permission from your T.A., you may write on a topic of your choice that is relevant to the themes, issues, and ideas covered in this course. Write up a brief (one paragraph) proposal that your TA will approve and sign; you MUST then attach that proposal to your submitted essay.

Introduction to Communications and Media Imperialism Grading criteria

  • Understanding of the course material; effective selection of relevant outside sources; ability to explain, assess, and use all the sources effectively.
  • Clarity of presentation (see ‘essay format’ above). Especially important is a clear argument, supported by evidence, that takes into consideration the debates in the area.
  • Effective use of any relevant course concepts, theories, or approaches.
  • Effectively taking into account any comments made on the essay proposal/outline.
  • The originality of thinking.

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