Fall 2020 - CMNS 446 E100

Communication, Science and Technology (4)

Class Number: 7423

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 4:30 PM – 8:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    75 units, including CMNS 346; and one of CMNS 201W (201 or 260), CMNS 202 (or 262) or CMNS 261. Recommended: CMNS 253 (or 253W) and CMNS 362.



Explores the relationship between power, politics, and science; investigates stakeholders such as scientists, entrepreneurs, technologists, activists, policy-makers and their world-wide institutional contexts; compares global flows of science and technology through governmental, non-government, and transnational organizations; examines representations of science and technology in media systems and international development programs.


This course provides an introduction to the field of Science & Technology Studies, examining the intersection of technology, knowledge, power, and society, with particular attention to cases and theories relevant to the study of communication and media. By tackling the questions “What is a scientific revolution?”, “What is modern science and what is its relation to colonialism and capitalism?”, “Who in society benefits and who is harmed by the rapid development of modern science and technology?”, “What is the history and science of mapping and what does make maps a powerful tool?”, the course will put Science & Technology Studies in conversation with theories of globalization. Drawing upon the fields of anthropology, sociology, geography, and cultural studies, this course will investigate modern developments in international relations, institutional compositions, cultural constructions, and urban planning in order to explore the opportunities for justice within pre-existing and emergent global regimes and technological systems.


  • Achieve a command of foundational literature in Science & Technology Studies, especially as they relate to research in Communication.
  • Articulate differences and similarities between how STS and Communication scholars approach the study of media technologies, media institutions, technological practices, and technological cultures.
  • Constructively engage with critiques of scientific progress and the authority of technical experts.
  • Analyze how power, identity, and politics shapes the development of new scientific facts and technical artifacts.


  • Weekly posts 20%
  • Discussion leading 20%
  • Project Presentation 20%
  • Final Paper 40%



All readings will be made available on Canvas.


All readings will be made 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).