Spring 2020 - CMNS 848 G100

Communication and Global Social Justice (5)

Class Number: 4763

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    HCC 3122, Vancouver



Examines communicative responses to transforming global communications systems and shifting structures of global economic and cultural power. Considers how communicators and producers of knowledge and culture interact with and produce these systems and structures and the implications of these processes for social justice. Note: Priority will be given to students enrolled in Global Communication Double MA Degree program. Students with credit for CMNS 858 (Special Topics: CMNS & Global Social Justice) in Spring 2014 & Spring 2015 may not take this course for further credit.


How do we narrate a nation and what it stands for? In his opening sentence to A fair country: Telling the truth about Canada (2008), Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul’s writes “A dancer who describes himself as a singer will do neither well, [and] to insist on describing ourselves as something we are not is to embrace existential illiteracy.” Saul tackles the complicated relationship between the Crown and the Aboriginal peoples of Canada and critiques the state and its institutions--specifically how they have failed to make social justice the cornerstone of social policy and governance. Even though Canada’s narration revolves around expressions of peace, order and good governance, Saul points to the dissonance between narrative and practice.

In this course we will pay close attention to the role of narrative and communication in struggles for equality, spanning the local to the global. We will begin by exploring our role as advocates and our own notions of social justice. You will have the opportunity to select and champion a cause by learning to develop an argument in an op-ed. You will learn how to deliver a persuasive speech to create momentum for change. In your final project you will develop an intervention strategy to tackle a social justice issue of your choosing. In the process you will learn about right-wing critiques of social justice alongside interventionist postcolonial, multicultural, feminist, and queer theories.


  • Seminar Attendance and Participation (Individual) 20%
  • Social Justice Quilt: Understanding our Community (Class, in tutorial) 10%
  • Social Justice Paper: Understanding Myself as an Advocate (Individual) 15%
  • Social Justice Op Ed: Understanding the Power of Opinion (Individual) 15%
  • Social Justice Speech: Understanding why Voice Matters (Individual) 15%
  • Social Justice Project: Understanding the Power of Intervention (Group) 15%
  • Social Justice Presentation: Understanding the Power of a Pitch (Group) 10%



Chapters from the following books will be available as e-texts on Canvas:

Cahill, D., Cooper, M., Konings, M., & Primrose, D. (Eds.). (2018). The SAGE handbook of  neoliberalism. Sage.

Calder, G. (Ed.) (2018). Handbook on Global Social Justice. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Couldry, N. (2010). Why voice matters: Culture and politics after neoliberalism. Sage.

Jansen, S., Pooley, J., & Taub-Pervizpour, L. (Eds.). (2011). Media and social justice. Springer.

Padovani, C., & Calabrese, A. (Eds.). (2014). Communication rights and social justice: Historical   accounts of transnational mobilizations. Springer.

Additional articles will be available on Canvas.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

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