Spring 2021 - CMNS 452 D100

Race and the Media (4)

Class Number: 2861

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 4:30 PM – 7:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    75 units including one of CMNS 202 (or 262), 220, 221, 223 (or 223W), and at least two CMNS upper division courses.



Examines the contemporary construction and maintenance of race and ethnicity, through movies, music, and the Internet. Provides grounding in scholarship on media, race, ethnicity, and identity. Explores the historical role of entertainment in racialization. Investigates contemporary issues and forms of media and race. Students who have taken CMNS 486 with subtitle "Race and the Media" cannot take this course for further credit.


Entertainment and the arts are key sites of production and conduits for the circulation of cultural signs and stories about race and ethnicity. These signs and stories form a system of meanings that structure how we see social identities and frame our actions. While film, music, television, news, art, the Internet, video games, and sports have been converging under the title of entertainment, they permeate the most intimate aspects of our everyday lives and our social institutions.

Through the critical consumption of a wide variety of media, this course will examine the construction and maintenance of race and ethnicity. It will provide grounding in scholarship on race, ethnicity, and identity; explore the historical role of entertainment in racialization; investigate contemporary issues and forms of media; and consider the role of “new” media. Media is a site of struggle over the meaning of race, and how it interacts with other forms of difference, such as gender, class, and sexuality. At stake in this ongoing negotiation is who we are as a society, and as individuals, and who we can become.


  • Seminar Participation (Individual) 25%
  • Seminar Leadership (Group) 15%
  • Paper/Creative Project Proposal 20%
  • Final Paper/Creative Project 40%


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.]



A set of readings will be made available via 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 spring 2021 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).