Summer 2024 - CMNS 311 D200

Topics in Communication and Social Justice (4)

Black TV Studies

Class Number: 2757

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Mon, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 13, 2024
    Tue, 12:00–12:00 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).


Topic for Summer 2024:  Black Television Studies

This is designed as an upper-level undergraduate course in television and social theory. This course presents a more focused theoretical analysis of a specific area of television studies, in this case, Black identities. Together through television watching and interactive discussion, we will explore the complex dialogue between Black television representations and the lived cultural, social, and historical experiences of people of the African diaspora. In addition to examining television by and/or about Black people in the early 21st and late 20th centuries, students will, also, study the history of cultural representations of Black people from throughout the 20th and late 19th centuries, investigate the role of imperialism and colonialism in the development and distribution of those representations, and analyze how those historical representations have informed contemporary media discourses about Black identities, cultures & communities. This is a distinctly interdisciplinary class, in which students are encouraged to reflect on the content and process of TV as a socially engaged practice. This course will emphasize the interdependent roles of Black individuals, groups, and communities as cultural producers, consumers, and
subjects of media representations and discourses.


  • Contributions to Tutorials 15%
  • Television Show Pitch (Group) 30%
  • Take-Home Mid-Term Exam 25%
  • Take-Home Final 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:


Students with credit for CMNS 387 (with this topic) may not take this course for further credit.



Course readings will be made available online via Canvas.


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.