Fall 2021 - CMNS 446 D100

Communication, Science and Technology (4)

Class Number: 6136

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    HCC 2540, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    75 units, including CMNS 346 with a minimum grade of C-; and one of CMNS 201W (201 or 260), CMNS 202 (or 262) or CMNS 261, with a minimum grade of C-. Recommended: CMNS 253 (or 253W) and CMNS 362.



Explores the relationship between power, politics, and science; investigates stakeholders such as scientists, entrepreneurs, technologists, activists, policy-makers and their world-wide institutional contexts; compares global flows of science and technology through governmental, non-government, and transnational organizations; examines representations of science and technology in media systems and international development programs.


Communication, Science, and Technology:
Blockchain Spaces of Convergence

This course explores the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) from a Communication perspective. We examine blockchain and Bitcoin as a space of convergence and explore how people, money, science, technologies, innovation culture, and power are shaping the space and social change. 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. In this course we will ask big questions about the role of communication, science, and technology in society. What problems are we trying to solve with science and technology, and what problems are we inadvertently exacerbating along with these developments? How do social and scientific controversies shape the development and diffusion of science and technology? Who in society benefits and who is harmed by rapid development of modern science and technology? At the heart of this course is the relationship between communication, science, and technology. 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. These converging concepts detail both the promises and challenges of new technologies.


  • Achieve a command of foundational literature in Communication approaches, engagements, and collaborations with STS
  • Achieve an understanding and command of blockchain concepts, technologies, and controversies
  • Constructively engage with innovators and critics of the development and adoption of blockchain technologies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other projects and platforms.
  • Articulate differences and similarities between how STS and Communication scholars approach the study of communication technologies, digital media cultures, and blockchain.
  • Analyze how power, identity, and politics shape the development of new scientific facts, digital media, and communication technology.


  • Weekly posts 20%
  • Discussion leading 20%
  • Project Presentation 20%
  • Final Paper 40%



A set of readings will be made available. 

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 fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.