Communications Course Spotlight: Race and Gender in Popular Media

December 8, 2021
Student taking notes in a notebook with a John Cabot University pen.

Ciao Gladiators! Temashengu here to tell you a bit about one of our Communications courses, CMS 360: Race and Gender in Popular Media, taught by Professor Peter Sarram at John Cabot University. This course uses a contemporary theoretical approach to analyze how race and gender are social constructs and what role the media plays in upholding race and gender constructs as the norm, particularly in Cinema and Television. 

The course aims to deconstruct the compound age-old ideologies that operate, maintain, and resist interpretations constructed around race and gender.

 

A Brief Summary of Course Content:

Students will closely examine the role of visual media in either upholding or overturning race and gender as social constructs. Looking at talk shows, music videos, soap operas, television sitcoms, dramatic series, advertising, genre films, and experimental/avant-garde cinema to gain insight into the larger power structures that have formulated race and gender as binaries. The course grapples with the questions of privilege, cultural capital, economics, discrimination, hegemony, ideology, stereotypes, and representation to make sense of how race and gender have come to be defined in modern society.

 

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Questions Students Might Have:
  • Is there a prerequisite?

Yes, there is, COM 220: Media, Culture, and Society, whose prerequisite is COM 111: Introduction to Visual Communication.

  • Is this course interactive?

Yes, the class is run more like a seminar than a lecture. Students are expected to formulate their own opinions and reach their conclusions based on what is studied. Regular screenings take place in the class and discussions are part of the lesson plan.

  • What is the course breakdown?

You will start with theories learned in COM 111 and COM 220 for the first two weeks, then begin with the content for CMS 360. For a full week by week break-down please look at the Fall 2021 syllabus for reference: https://myjcu.johncabot.edu/syllabus/syllabus_print.aspx?IDS=15824 

  • Why does this course matter?

Communications is the gateway to understanding how society influences media and how media influences society. To understand how society reacts or does not to controversy, politics, world issues, news, race, and gender, etc. one must understand the construction of media, the uniquities it flashes over and over until they become truth, and the reverse effect of the socio-political, economic, cultural, and religious factors that trickle into media; either furthering narratives or setting new ones.

 

Are you interested in studying Communications in Rome, Italy?

Then look no further! We are looking forward to seeing you!

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