Summer 2024 - CMNS 311 D100

Topics in Communication and Social Justice (4)

Environment, Media & CMNS

Class Number: 1875

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Mon, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 12, 2024
    Mon, 5:00–5:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    17 CMNS units with a minimum grade of C- or 45 units with a minimum CGPA of 2.00.



Topics pertain to issues of inequality, resistance and activism with a focus on entanglements with media and communication. Explores how relations of power are shaped and contested through media and communication. Topics include: racial justice, environmental policies, globalization, social activism, and labour. This course can be repeated once for credit (up to a maximum of two times).


Summer 2024 Topic:  Environment, Media & Communication

What role do different forms of media and culture play in raising (or suppressing) public awareness about key environmental issues such as climate change, (un)sustainable resource use, or the pollution of social and natural spaces? How do different actors (e.g., scientists, corporations, governments, environmental groups, Indigenous communities) communicate about the environment in different ways? What factors shape environmental journalism? What is the relationship between communication and (lifestyle and/or political) behavioural change? What opinions do the public hold about environmental issues, and how are they influenced and represented? What communicative practices are most effective in motivating public engagement with environmental politics and policies? What role does communication play in environmental advocacy and activism? How can we tell better stories about the overlapping ecological crises we face and the solutions to address them? In this course, we will explore these questions by investigating some of the many ways in which we use different media to represent and communicate about the natural environment.


  • Tutorial facilitation, attendance & participation 20%
  • Lecture-based writing/discussion exercises 10%
  • Review essay 20%
  • Mid-term exam 20%
  • Take-home final essay/exam 30%


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). For further information see:


Note: Students with credit for CMNS 388 (with this topic), or for CMNS 349 may not take this course for further credit.



All readings will be available through the course website on Canvas or the SFU Library.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.