Spring 2023 - CMNS 453 D100

Issues in the Information Society (4)

Blockchain & Digital Culture

Class Number: 1399

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    HCC 1520, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    75 units, including CMNS 253W, 353 or 354, with a minimum grade of C-. CMNS 362 is recommended.



Advanced seminar to discuss issues in the interplay between contemporary society and new computer/communication technologies, at the level of comprehensive theories of society, on one hand, and major public policy, on the other. This course can be repeated once for credit if second topic is different (up to a maximum of two times).


For the past two decades, we have accepted that a significant part of culture is digital. Our digital technologies have developed  into  seemingly  contradictory platforms  that  provide  opportunities  for  contestation  and  distraction,  or  political  mobilization  and commercialization.  Similar to advances in the Internet and social media, blockchain innovations are rapidly impacting money, decentralized finance, gaming, governance, art and music, among many other fields and industries.There  are  a  myriad  of  expanding  opportunities  and risks in blockchain that are learned from social  media  and  big  data and reacting to them. Newer waves of disruptive innovations like blockchain, Bitcoin, and Ethereum are rapidly impacting money, decentralized finance, gaming, governance, art and music, among many other fields and industries.

In  this  course,  we will explore how various stakeholders shape these sociotechnical spaces and imaginaries. We will learn how scholars are documenting and making sense of how blockchain technologies are impacting our digital culture.We will also explore how people, money, science, technologies, innovation culture, and power are shaping the space and social change.Throughout this course we will address the relationship between these concepts and others, including the information society, gender, race, perspectives of the global south, and cultural anxieties and hopes about technology. We will put these lessons into practice by designing a communication and blockchain project that connects to real-world applications.


  • Achieve a command of current research and theory in Communication approaches to the information society and digital culture
  • Achieve an understanding and command of blockchain concepts, technologies, and controversies
  • Analyze how power, identity, and politics shape the development of the information society and the role of disruptive technologies and digital culture.
  • Constructively engage with innovators and critics of the development and adoption of blockchain technologies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other projects and platforms.



This  course  consists  of  a  weekly  seminar.



A set of readings will be made available.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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