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Course Catalog and Previous Courses Offered

UCSD Course Catalog

Here is the link to the official UCSD Course Catalog which is updated regularly: http://www.ucsd.edu/catalog/courses/COMM.html

Here is the TritonLink for enrollment and registration information: https://students.ucsd.edu/

Previous courses offered

Expand the sections below to browse courses offered in previous quarters. If you need information on a course from an earlier quarter please contact Undergraduate Advising.

Winter 2021

JUNIOR SEMINARS

PREREQUISITES: Junior Standing and MUST HAVE COMPLETED COMM 10 and AT LEAST 1 of the COMM 100 courses

COMM 190: A00

Instructor: Andrew deWaard

Day & Time: Thursday 3:30 pm -6:20 pm

Title: Streaming Media

Description: What changes when we "stream" media, rather than broadcast, exhibit, or own it? Which companies shape and control the infrastructure of streaming media? What is a "platform" and what is the broader historical and financial context for this development? What is a “feed,” how is it prone to misinformation, and how does our engagement and experience with media change in a streaming environment? What opportunities and obstacles are there in streaming media for more diversity and equality? What is the effect of streaming media on creatives, laborers, and producers of content? This seminar will aim to answer these questions and more, exploring the streaming media transition from the perspective of power and political economy. Each week we will analyze a major media company with regards to a social issue: Netflix and labor, Disney and commodification, Comcast and data, Spotify and artist payment, Apple and supply chains, Google and identity, Facebook and content moderation, and Amazon and surveillance. The main assignment of the class is a research project on the streaming media company of your choosing.

COMM 190: B00

Instructor: Angelica Kalika

Day & Time: Wednesday 3:00 pm -5:50 pm

Title: Branding Natures

Description: This course explores the processes and politics of branding and consuming nature that are characteristic of globalization processes. It uses a sociocultural approach to analyze specific case studies where natural spaces, natural resources, landscapes and environments have been turned into commodities for global markets. We will explore how this is done in the wellness industry, tourism, gardening, conservation, urban development and climate change discourse and action.

COMM 190: C00

Instructor: Morana Alac

Day & Time: Monday 2:00pm - 4:50pm

Title: Communication and the sense of smell

Description: It is widely accepted that we employ our sense of smell to relate to our living world, and, most recently, scientists are claiming, with a greater conviction, that the human nose is almost as sensitive as the noses of many animals. Yet, we also say that we cannot talk about our olfactory experiences and that our sense of smell is particularly difficult to capture and talk about. In this class, we will discuss those ideas, asking whether we could challenge them and how. We will do so by attending to attunements between our bodies and ordinary acts of communication,  and by reflecting on how we—as scholars of communication— may discover and render them.

COMM 190: D00

Instructor: Erin Hill

Day & Time: Tuesday 11:00 am - 1:50pm

Title: The Self and the "Other" in Science Fiction

Description: In "A Cyborg Manifesto," Donna Haraway states that 20th-century technology has blurred crucial boundaries such that, "we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism," calling for a reconstruction of identity-based not on physical or social boundaries, but on "otherness, difference, and specificity." And yet, popular science fiction stories typically fixate on those boundaries, expressing fears of the unknown "other," whether in the form of a cyborg, an alien invader, or a derelict ship in a strange solar system. This course examines the notion of the self, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and other axes of identity through the lens of popular sci-fi and fantasy media, encompassing a range of topics from Afrofuturist dreams to dystopian gender nightmares, and from colonial terraform tropes to immigration allegories. While film, TV, and literary representations are of primary interest, the seminar will also consider the reception context, particularly the fan communities that have formed around science fiction franchises since the 1970s as sites of connection, resistance, and cultural production.

INTERMEDIATE ELECTIVES

COMM 106T: CI: Television, Culture, and the Public

Instructor: Erin Hill

Subtitle: Comedy on TV

Description: This course will provide an in-depth look at American television history through the lens of comedy. From I Love Lucy and Your Show of Showsto Bojack Horseman and Insecure, comedy is arguably American television's defining genre, as well as one of its longest-standing and most collaborative. Whether they're traditional, 3-camera comedies, taped in front of live audiences, or single-camera sketch and hybrid shows shot on film, televised comedies take shape through complex production systems requiring diverse forms of creative collaboration. Comedic shows also play a significant role in American culture and politics, providing spaces for social discourse. Students will trace the development of different forms of televised comedy and their production practices and examine the genre as an expression of multiple factors, from economic and industrial structures to audience makeup and viewing contexts to larger sociocultural dynamics. In so doing, they will engage with larger questions about the nature of collaboration in TV production, the role of humor in public discourse, and what it means to be "funny" on TV.

COMM 111B. CCP: Global Borders: Communication and Conflict

Instructor: Elana Zilberg

Across the globe, geopolitical borders are charged sites of cross-cultural communication and conflict. While borders are commonly conceived as fixed physical demarcations, in this course we will examine borders as sites of exchange, as contested boundaries where diverse actors and practices converge and diverge, and as complex historical and socio-spatial formations that call into question presumed divisions between inside/outside, us/them, human/nonhuman, and technological/ecological.

COMM 113T A00: Intermediate Topics in Communication

Instructor: Erika Ramirez Mayoral

Title: Public hearings as Political Testimonio

Description: What is a political testimonio? What is the use of oral history in a political process? This course looks at the ways in which "the public" participates in local politics as historic everyday moments. The course will examine notions of "the public”, "citizenship", “the every day” and “testimonio” to further understand how marginalized voices engage in democratic processes. This course will also look at the ways in which political testimonios are recorded and historicized outside of "political meetings”. As a group, we will examine different moments in which testimonios and personal ethnographies become central to social justice struggles. Readings center Chicanx feminist theory and literature, indigenous scholarship, ethnographic work, oral history practices while our practice in testimonio work will center around virtual civic participation around “local” issues.

COMM 113T B00: Intermediate Topics in Communication

Instructor: Andrew deWaard

Title: Media Authorship (The Films of Spike Lee & Kathryn Bigelow)

Description: This course serves as an introduction to the concept of film authorship with a focus on Hollywood filmmaking in the last thirty years, as seen through two case studies: Spike Lee and Kathryn Bigelow. We begin with the tradition of “auteur theory” -- the idea that the director, not the screenwriter, is the true “artist” and “author” in filmmaking -- and will arrive at the broader contemporary conception of the filmmaker as a site of encounter for many elements: collaboration, identity, industry, intertext, reception, and context. Spike Lee is our first case study, and through the films Do the Right Thing, 4 Little Girls, When the Levees Broke, Inside Man, BlacKkKlansman, and Da 5 Bloods, we will analyze traditional authorial elements, such as a formal “signature,” as well as recurring themes and motifs. We will also consider how authorship intersects with issues of race, class, violence, and representation. Kathryn Bigelow will be our second case study, and Point Break, Blue Steel, The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Near Dark, and Detroit will allow us to consider issues of gender, genre, and authorial responsibility, in this case the depiction of war. The main assignment of the course is an argumentative essay about a filmmaker of your choosing.

 

ADVANCED ELECTIVES

COMM 146 A00: Advanced Topics in Cultural Production

Instructor: Grant Leuning

Title: Critical Production

Description: Zines, book-making and digital layout are used to experiment with production as a mode of critical thinking. With “making” as our method, this course explores the intersectional cultural politics of independent media, media theory, and democratic possibilities of D.I.Y., alongside practical production instruction.

COMM 146 B00: Advanced Topics in Cultural Production

Instructor: Olga Lazitski-Torres

Title: Media Systems in the Post-Truth Era

Description: This seminar explores media practices of the age of “post-truth” that we live in today and their problematic relationship with truth: Is there such a thing as truth? How do I know it's really there and not just a projection of my consciousness? Is there a way to understand what’s “really” happening in the world without being influenced to think a certain way? We will begin the course by examining the concept of the “post-truth” era. We will look closely at the emergence of “post-truth” and the role of ideology and lies in different political regimes (such as neo-liberal Western regimes, authoritarian regimes of Russia and China, and Latin American populist regimes). We will explore the “post-truth” implications in both politics and media in different parts of the world. Using case studies from the U.S., Russia, China, and Latin America, we will analyze how journalism has been reimagined in a “post-truth” world and how journalists within different media systems are dealing with the challenges of the post-truth era.

Fall 2020

JUNIOR SEMINARS

PREREQUISITES: Junior Standing and MUST HAVE COMPLETED COMM 10 and AT LEAST 1 of the COMM 100 courses

COMM 190: A00

Instructor: Alex Fattal

Day & Time: Wednesdays @ 3:00pm - 5:50pm.

Title: COVID - 19 Photo - Diaries

Description: In this class you will document and reflect on your personal experience through the Covid-19 pandemic through photography and first-person storytelling. As you chronicle your lives and weave a narrative, you will watch a wide array of first-person films from which to draw inspiration. Throughout, we will analyze photography, and specifically photo and video diaries, as a medium of communication.

COMM 190: B00

Instructor: Soraya Abuelhiga

Day & Time: Mondays @ 8:00am -10:50am

Title: The Last Laugh: Arab American Comedy in Times of American Crises

Description: In this course, we will examine comedic works and representations by and about Arab Americans—and, conversely, American “comedic” representations of Arabs—to examine the roles of media and humor in Arab American identity formations. We will disentangle racial, political, historical, and sociocultural structures informing such mis/representations of Arab Americans. We will concentrate primarily on film and visual media, supplemented by related readings as well as news media coverage of the Gulf War, the Iraq War, and post-9/11 America, to understand how these crises have affected contemporary Arab American experiences as conveyed through humor.

COMM 190: C00

Instructor: Yelena Gluzman

Day & Time: Thursdays @ 12:30pm - 3:20pm.

Title: Doing Thinking: Neuroscience Through Performance

This class examines models that consider perception and action to be fundamentally different, alongside models that propose thinking and doing to be inseparable. We will read and view works relating to cognitive science, theater, and philosophy to explore course concepts of embodiment lived experience, coherence, and situated interaction. Students will draw on these texts and class discussions to conduct an original research project analyzing some aspects of their own experience of the remote classroom. This is a discussion-based seminar where synchronous attendance and participation is required. 

 

COMM 190: D00

Instructor: Ivana Guassi

Day & Time: Tuesdays @ 11:00am - 1:50pm.

Title: Language & Human Development

Description: This course explores how language, communicative practices, and culture mediate human development—how they reflect social structures and cultural values while contributing to their reproduction and change. We will survey theories of language and human development, examining topics such as language acquisition, multilingualism, language socialization, cognition, literacy, and cultural diversity in learning. The course will end by exploring communication in a digitally mediated world, questioning what contemporary digital technologies can reveal about human language, learning, and development.

 

COMM 110G A00: Language, Literacy, and Communication (LLC)

Instructor: Andrew Whitworth-Smith

Title: LLC: Communication in Organizations

Description: Organizations are analyzed as historically evolving discursive systems of activity mediated by talk, text, and artifacts. The class covers sense-making, coordinating, symbolizing, talking, negotiating, reading and writing, story-telling, joking, and visualizing in organizations. Exemplary case studies, employing several complementary frameworks, are used to analyze these communicative processes. Prerequisites: COMM 10.

 

COMM 113T A00: Intermediate Topics in Communication

Instructor: Brie Iatarola

Title: Reporting the Anthropocene, Space, and Scale in Environmental Writing, Film Representations of Climate Change

Description: Environmental writing as an evolving form of communication aims to inform people about the impacts of human activity on the environment’s health, vice versa. This course explores a range of environmental writing that grapples with the challenges of reporting the Anthropocene, focusing on human action as the primary force of environmental devastation and climate change. Students will analyze media representations of the Anthropocene and climate-change fiction (aka “cli-fi”), both of which spectacular natural disasters. Throughout the course, students will practice and employ multi-modal methods of communicating climate-change literacy for a diverse audience.

COMM 146 A00  Advanced Topics in Cultural Production

Topic: K Pop

Instructor: Patty Ahn

Description: This course is an upper-level seminar on the global cultures of K-Pop. During the ten-week quarter, we look at the different social, technological, and creative structures that make South Korea’s multi-billion dollar music industry such a complex phenomenon. As we situate K-Pop within a broader state campaign to remake South Korea’s image in the global economy, we consider what implications this might have for a country that has suffered decades of economic instability and political suppression. The class will be held entirely online for the Fall 2020 quarter and will combine recorded lectures, live discussion sessions held over Zoom, and web-based media exercises designed to immerse students in a fan culture that largely lived online well before the pandemic hit. Assignments will ask students to synthesize course materials in the form of critical web-based blog posts and multimodal essays written to address a general audience. Our overall aim for the quarter is to understand and accessibly communicate the broad spectrum of pleasures and problems that make K-Pop such a fascinating object of study.

 

COMM 146 B00  Advanced Topics in Cultural Production

Topic: The Art of the Podcast

Instructor: Amanda Peacher

Description: In this course, we’ll focus on long-form narrative audio podcasts as a storytelling form. We’ll listen to and critically analyze a variety of contemporary podcasts with an emphasis on nonfiction, journalistic productions. We’ll examine how podcasts use long-form journalism as a means to explore race, gender, income inequality, and other social issues. We’ll explore the ethics of reporting these narratives and discuss the unique challenges of the journalist/source relationship in long-form journalism. Students should be prepared for listening and writing-intensive course that emphasizes discussion.

Winter 2020

COMM 190 Section A00

Instructor: David Serlin

Day & Time: Wednesday 9:00am-11:50pm

Title: Design for Access

Description: What does it mean for a space or a technology or a community or even a person to be accessible? In this course, we will read and discuss different social, political, and philosophical ideas about the meaning and practice of access, or its lack thereof. These discussions will form the backdrop for creating projects through which we contemplate design for access. Some of the questions animating this course are: what is the relationship between access and democracy? What tacit presumptions do we hold about access that either perpetuate or else challenge forms of power and hierarchy? Is there such a thing as universal design? 

COMM 190 Section B00

Instructor: Andrew deWaard

Day & Time: Thursday 9:30am-12:20pm

Title: The Culture and Economy of Streaming Media

Description: What changes when we "stream" media, rather than traditional modes of engaging with media, such as broadcasting, exhibition, and physical media? What are the competing business models for streaming media and which companies own the infrastructure? What is a "platform" and what is the broader historical and financial context for this development? What is a “feed,” how is it prone to misinformation, and how does our engagement and experience with media change in a streaming environment? What opportunities and obstacles are there in streaming media for more diversity and equality? What is the effect of streaming media on creatives, laborers, and producers of content? With examples from film, television, music, news, and other forms of digital media, as well as a focus on the major corporations facilitating this environment (Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, etc.), this seminar will aim to answer these questions and more, analyzing the digital streaming media transition from the perspective of cultural studies and the political economy of media. 

COMM 190 Section C00 

Instructor: Morana Alac

Day & Time: Wednesday 2:00pm-4:50pm

Title: Communication and Olfaction

Description: It is widely accepted that we use our sense of smell to relate to our living world, and, most recently, scientist are claiming with a greater conviction that the human nose is almost as sensitive as the noses of many animals. Yet, we also say that cannot talk about our olfactory experiences, and that our sense of smell is particularly difficult to capture and talk about. In this class, we will discuss those ideas, asking whether and in what circumstances they may be true, if we can challenge them, and how. We will do so by attuning us to actual acts of communication (as well as olfactory sensing!), and by reflecting on how we - as scholars of communication - may discover and render them.

COMM 190 Section D00

Instructor: Boatema Boateng

Day & Time: Tuesday 2:00pm-4:50pm

Title: Knives and the Gendered Body: The Social and Cultural Meanings of Cosmetic and Other Surgeries

Description: This course examines notions of the ideal body that result in physical alteration. The course will examine social and cultural norms and practices around different kinds of voluntary and involuntary procedures, including cosmetic surgery. It will also examine examples of resistance to those norms and practices. The course will draw on theories of race, gender, sexuality and human rights. Each student will have the opportunity to use such theories to examine one practice or set of practices and consider why they occur, the issues they raise such as individual agency, and how they reveal the relation between discourses and practices of race, gender and sexuality.

COMM 190 Section E00

Instructor: Thomas Schmidt

Day & Time: Tuesday 9:30am-12:20pm

Title: Narrative Journalism and Society

Description: In this seminar we will analyze how journalists use storytelling to write about social and political issues. Broadly defined as narrative journalism, this journalistic approach appears in different journalistic genres (i.e. reportage, report, first-person narrative) and in different kinds of media (print, audio, video, digital). We will examine narrative journalism as a cultural practice and identify its institutional and organizational characteristics within the current U.S. media system. At the same time, we will study how narrative techniques shape and constrain the representation of social and political reality. To do so, we will look both at the historical evolution and the contemporary practice of narrative journalism, mostly focusing on print and digital journalism. By the end of this seminar students will be able to effectively evaluate journalistic practices and media representations of social reality. This is a reading- and writing-intensive course that emphasizes experiential learning in the classroom.

COMM 113T Section A00

Instructor: Fernando Dominguez Rubio

Day & Time: Tuesday/Thursday 3:30pm-4:50pm

Title: Art as Communication

Description: In this course we will explore how art and communication interact with each other. This will entail two tasks. First exploring art as communication. Second exploring communication as art. Studying art as communication will involve exploring how art has been historically deployed to communicate and propagate political, religious, or philosophical ideas. In communication as art, we will explore how different modes of communication, like advertising, propaganda or social media, have adopted art for its purposes.

COMM 113T Section D00

Instructor: Gary Fields

Day & Time: Tuesday/Thursday 12:30pm-1:50pm

Title: The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict:  Discourses and Debates

Description: The state of Israel, and the group of people living within and outside of Israel known as Palestinians, have been locked in what is arguably the most protracted conflict in the world today. This conflict reveals contrasting visions about who rightfully belongs to the land in question. Such differences about territorial belonging, in turn, have created divergent narratives about the origins of the conflict, along with vigorous debates regarding its perpetrators and victims. This course is a critical engagement with these debates, and how these competing discourses reflect different representations of the conflict. At the same time, this course seeks to provide students with a rigorous immersion into the nature of argument and issues of “objectivity” and “point of view.” It is intended to give voice to a range of perspectives on this conflict, many of which are too often silenced, while challenging students to understand the structure of the arguments at the core of one of the most impassioned and intractable issues of our time.

COMM 132: Advanced Topics in Communication, Politics, and Society

Instructor: Alexander Fattal

Day & Time: Tuesday/Thursday 5:00pm-6:20pm

Title: Media Spectacle and the Global War on Terror

Description: The Global War on Terror that began in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001 continues to be intensely mediated. This course analyzes the circulation of images as they roil across the globe in a series of episodic events and neo-colonial adventures. We look back to the Vietnam War and end of the Cold War to understand the political logic of spectacle as it is developing through a global dialogue of violence in the digital age.

COMM 146: Advanced Topics in Cultural Production

Instructor: Angela Booker

Day & Time: Tuesday/Thursday 12:30pm-1:50pm

Title: Storytelling

COMM 180: Advanced Studies in Communication Theory

Instructor: Stefan Tanaka

Day & Time: Tuesday/Thursday 12:30pm-1:50pm

Title: Cybernetics

Description: Cybernetics is a trans-disciplinary inquiry that emerged around the 1940s and 50s as a scientific study of control and communication in humans, animals, and machines. While it has not endured, many trace the information age to this moment. It's legacies include computer science, artificial intelligence, robotics, cognitive science, and complex systems. This course will examine the rise of cybernetics, especially beginning with the Macy Conferences, its hopes, legacies, and limitations.

FALL 2019

COMM 190 A00

Instructor: Christo Sims
Title: UC 2050
Description: In this seminar we take up the following speculative design challenge: what might the University of California look like in the year 2050? Through individual and group work, you will learn to critique and analyze relations between political economy, educational institutions, and cutting-edge proposals for how public universities can be reinvented in high-tech ways. Additionally, you will imagine and develop your own ideas about how public universities could be different than they are today. Throughout, we will ask questions about equity, learning, technological change, and the roles public universities do and can play in society. You will learn to interrogate current debates around technological innovation and institutional change, and you will develop skills for exploring and communicating currently unrealized futures. This is a hands-on course that involves a fair amount of project-based group work.

COMM 190 B00

Instructor: Matilde Azcarate Cordoba
Title: Branding Natures
Description: This course discusses the processes and politics of branding and consuming nature that are characteristic of globalization processes. It uses a sociocultural approach to analyze specific case studies where natural spaces and its resources, landscapes and the environment have been commoditized through tourism planning, conservation zoning, urban development and climate change discourses.

COMM 190 D00

Instructor: Caroline Jack
Title: Sponsored Content
Description: “Promoted” and “sponsored” posts are familiar sights to users of digital media. What does it mean for media content to be “sponsored,” and what can paid media content tell us about society and culture? Students in this course will learn to identify and analyze emergent forms of paid media content, including native advertising, content marketing, and influencer-industry collaborations. We will consider the social and cultural implications of paid content, putting today’s digital media in conversation with American historical traditions of media sponsorship. Further, we will draw out the connections between paid content and ongoing trends in American culture across areas including commerce, journalism, governance, and labor. Over the course of the semester, students will develop a case analysis through guided in-class and out-of-class research and reflection.

COMM 190 E00

Instructor: Erin Hill
Title: Aliens and Androids: The Self and the "Other" in Speculative Fiction
Description: In “A Cyborg Manifesto,” Donna Haraway states that 20thcentury technology has blurred crucial boundaries such that, “we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism,” calling for a reconstruction of identity based not on physical or social boundaries, but on “otherness, difference, and specificity.” And yet, popular science fiction stories typically fixate on those boundaries, expressing fears of the unknown “other,” whether in the form of a cyborg, an alien invader, or a derelict ship in a strange solar system. This course examines notions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and other axes of identity through the lens of popular sci-fi and fantasy media, encompassing a range of topics, from Afrofuturist dreams to dystopian gender nightmares, and from colonial terraform tropes to immigration allegories. While film, TV and short fiction representations are of primary interest, the seminar will also consider the reception context, particularly the fan communities that have formed around science fiction franchises since the 1970s as sites of connection, resistance, and cultural production.

COMM 190 F00

Instructor: Louise Hickman
Title: Automation and Disability
Description: This course will provide students with a historical overview of the automation of technology for people with disabilities. This research seminar will draw on case studies ranging from Bell Laboratories in the 1950s to contemporary marketing campaigns lead by large tech companies, including Microsoft and Facebook, to situate new meanings of access post-Americans with Disabilities Act.

COMM 113T A00: Intermediate Topics in Communication

Instructor: Stefan Tanaka
Title: Ghosts in Japan: from Oral to Digital Storytelling
Description: This course examines the transformation of storytelling from oral to
digital forms using stories of ghosts throughout Japanese history. This course will use the broad category of ghost stories to examine (1) how people throughout Japanese history have negotiated the uncertainties of their physical and conceptual world, and (2) the different forms of knowledge transmission: oral, textual, and digital.