Fall 2021 - CMNS 286 D100

Selected Topics (3)

Media & Identity

Class Number: 6635

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    SSCC 9000, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    CMNS 110 and 130, with a minimum grade of C-.



Analysis of a particular topic in the general area of communication. This course can be repeated for credit up to a maximum of three times, if topic studied is different.


NOTE: As per the instructor, all prerequisite requirements can be waived for this course offering in the Fall 2021 term. Please email CMNS undergraduate advisor, Zed Chia, directly at cmns1@sfu.ca to be enrolled into this course.  

This course introduces the idea of "social position:" that all media are created and interpreted from and through specific perspectives and experiences of the world. Media and public discourse are shaped through various axes of social position that include gender, race, sexuality, ability and other markers of identity. This course explores elements that intersect to construct social position, how social position informs and shapes an individual’s perspective and relationship to larger collectives, and the role of social position in mediated representation.

When marginalized groups or identity-based groups form around political demands in specific historical moments, they adopt new representational strategies and tactics, and produce new material texts. What activates a group’s coherence? What social positions engendered these representations? Who are the thinkers and theories, and what are the methods, for understanding them? This course challenges historical and often problematic representations of minorities and marginalized populations in media, popular culture and public discourse by engaging with multiple theoretical and methodological traditions from Indigenous, Black, feminist, critical race, trans, queer, and disability studies. Through course readings, assignments, and class discussions, we will consider: 1) how we perceive, interpret, and understand representation, 2) construct self-representation, and 3) how our fluid experiences of self and contexts inform the process and outcomes of inquiry. 



Assignments and readings will be discussed at the first lecture. Please note that there is NO FINAL EXAM for this course.

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 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.