Fall 2019 - CMNS 800 G100

Contemporary Approaches in Communication Studies (5)

Class Number: 3444

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 10:30 AM – 2:20 PM
    HCC 3122, Vancouver



This course surveys current interdisciplinary perspectives in communication studies and theory. It is normally offered in the fall term, and expected in the first year of graduate study.



In the post-digital world, communication media have become ambient and ubiquitous, integrated into to the everyday ways we work, play, and live. In this course, we consider the myriad ways that contemporary critical communication studies scholars are putting the current configuration into perspective. From considerations of the mediatization of everyday life to cultural analyses of communicative and financial infrastructures to assessments of the surveillant and biopolitical operation of media, and the analysis of ‘fake news’, the lessons of communication studies have become central across the sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts. Covering topics such as digital capitalism; the ‘racial’ logics of technologies and algorithms; the incursion of game logics into everyday life; the formation of publics, counter-publics and populations; and digital art practices and on-line social movements, the objective of the seminar is to familiarize the student with a range of contemporary approaches to the ubiquitous culture of communication.

You are encouraged to speak to the professor early in the course to identify your interests and to work strategically toward your final term paper.


  • Seminar Participation (includes final paper presentation) 15%
  • Short Paper due October 18 (2000-2500 words) 25%
  • Seminar Presentation 10%
  • Final Paper (3500-4000 words for MAs; 5000-6000 words for PhDs) due December 30 50%


The School expects that the grades awarded in this course will bear some reasonable relation to established university-wide practices with respect to both levels and distribution of grades.  In addition, the School will follow Policy S10.01 with respect to Academic Integrity, and Policies S10.02, S10.03 and S10.04 as regards Student Discipline.  [Note: as of May 1, 2009 the previous T10 series of policies covering Intellectual Honesty (T10.02), and Academic Discipline (T10.03) have been replaced with the new S10 series of policies.]  



Chun, Wendy Hui Kyong, Anna Watkins Fisher, and Thomas Keenan (eds.), New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader (2nd edition). New York: Routledge, 2016.
ISBN: 9781138021105

Other readings available online through the library, or as pdfs on course canvas page.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html