Innovations in Media and Communications
Today, it is difficult to imagine a life free of the media. There are more than 4 billion mobile phones in the world, and a billion people are now able to access the Internet. Television is available to close to 100% of people living in the media-saturated societies of North America, western and Eastern Europe, and East Asia, with radio widely available almost everywhere else. Moreover, with YouTube, blogs, online gaming, citizen journalism, experimental film, and peer-to-peer file sharing, people are actively creating and sharing their own news and entertainment experiences like never before. Communication technologies are changing the way money circulates, how and where business is conducted, the ways in which labor is deployed, and how people communicate between home and work, national and diasporic contexts. The media are facilitating both globalization and cultural hybridity, at times securing social cohesion and at other moments facilitating social movements for change. Where do these technologies come from? Who controls them? Who profits from them? How are they used, and with what potential implications? What does the future hold? These are some of the questions the class will address. This course counts toward the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.