Fall 2023 - CMNS 800 G100

Contemporary Approaches in Communication Studies (5)

Class Number: 1049

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Fri, 1:30–5:20 p.m.



This course surveys current interdisciplinary perspectives in communication studies and theory. It is normally offered in the fall term, and expected in the first year of graduate study.


In the post-digital world, communication media have become ambient and ubiquitous, entrenching capitalist relations into the everyday ways we work, play, and live. In the digital space, politics, subjectivity, community, and aesthetics are framed by capitalist relations and entangled with one another in complex ways. In the face of compounding crises, digital platforms are commonly identified as both instantiations of the problems of global capital and and as potential elements in struggles of resistance and transformation.

In this course we consider some of the ways that critical communication studies scholars are putting the current configuration into perspective. From critical analyses of extractive communicative infrastructures and assessments of the biopolitical operation of media to the constitutive tension between the imagination of democratic communication and the instantiation of techniques of control that delimit flourishing, the objective of the seminar is to explore intersectional, critical approaches to the ubiquitous culture of communication.

I encourage you to speak to me early on in the course to discuss your interest and enable me to support you in working strategically towards your final term paper.


  • Weekly response papers (300-500 words) 8@2.5% 20%
  • Seminar participation (includes presentation of research-in-progress on November 24 or December 1) 20%
  • Seminar presentation 10%
  • Final paper (3500-4000 words for MAs; 5000-6000 words for PhDs) due December 14, 2023 50%



All assigned readings available as pdfs on course canvas page or through 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: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

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 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester 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.