Fall 2020 - CMNS 221 D100

Media and Popular Cultures (3)

Class Number: 6851

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    CMNS 110 and 130.



Focuses on communication for social change; historical and contemporary perspectives in consumer culture; technology, media and popular culture; media and identity; and communication as public education.


This course is an introduction to and survey of the study of popular culture and communication, with a specific focus on the social and cultural dimensions of media and media environments. The course examines media-audience relations in regard to critical issues and controversies in media, society and popular culture. A broad range of themes will structure our investigation, including: communication and social change; citizenship, media and culture; the rise of industrial capitalism and the emergence of consumer cultures; controversies and practices of technology in media cultures; theories of mass culture and society; the nature and role of audiences in contemporary media culture; the dominance of visual/image culture in contemporary life; problems in relation to modernism, postmodernism and popular culture; globalization; media, identities and urban life; and communication as public education. In addition to course readings, we will also look closely at various films, examples of popular music, and other forms of audio/visual culture as part of our investigation.


  • Creative Assignment 20%
  • Research Paper Outline 10%
  • Research Paper 35%
  • Take-Home Final Exam 20%
  • Tutorial Participation 15%



Course readings, media, and other materials will be available on Canvas.


Course readings, media, and other materials will be available on Canvas.

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


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).