Summer 2023 - CMNS 445 D100

Media and Popular Culture in China (4)

Class Number: 1696

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Aug 4, 2023: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    75 units. Recommended: CMNS 201W (201 or 260), CMNS 202 (or 262), CMNS 230, CMNS 240, CMNS 310, CMNS 331 and CMNS 346.



An exploration of the media and popular culture scene in reform-era China. A wide range of media and popular culture forms and practices are analyzed in their concrete institutional settings and dynamic relationships with official ideologies, market imperatives, and the everyday struggles and cultural sensitivities of various social groups during a period of epochal transformation in China.


This course will contribute to students positioning their selves as critical producers and consumers of knowledge on China. Beginning with challenges to the privileging of technology in analyses of ‘media’ and critiques of the market definition of “popular culture” the course will engage both how popular China is commonly received, as well as engaging the power dynamics involved in the recognition and remaking of popular culture within China. A wide range of media and popular culture forms and practices will be analyzed in their concrete institutional settings and dynamic relationships with official ideologies, market imperatives, and the everyday struggles and cultural sensibilities of various Chinese social groups, during a period of epochal transformation in the country. Emphasis will be placed on the continuities and changes, both in the political economic structure and ideological orientations of Chinese media, and in popular culture processes and practices. The global dimension of China’s rapidly evolving media and popular culture scene will also be explored in relation to the country’s accelerated integration with the global market system, on the one hand, and the continuation of socialist practices, which have, in part, inspired a ‘rural turn’ in global communication studies, on the other.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Awareness of self as a producer of knowledge on popular culture and media from China.
  2. Familiarity with the institutions and dynamics of China’s media systems as they have contributed to China’s nation-building.
  3. Ability to discuss the role of commercialized media and cultural industries in the process of legitimation in post-Maoist market reforms.
  4. Ability to debate cultural politics, social conflicts, and resistance in concrete historical, political, cultural, and socio-economic contexts in reform-era China.


  • Seminar Participation 20%
  • Popular Media Contribution and Theoretical Justification (approx. 5 pages) Feb 17 20%
  • Class Presentation 20%
  • Final Research Paper (10-12 pages) Dec 9 40%



This link is my quick go to for how to cite.

All academic and non-academic sources MUST be cited. This means identifying where you got ideas and specific information from -basically if you had to look it up, give credit to the author you got the information from. This is not simply the honorable practice of giving recognition where recognition is due, but related to academic honesty and a lack of citations can lead to academic disciplinary actions. Students are encouraged to read the SFU policies on cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty ( and the SFU library tutorial on avoiding plagiarism (



Weekly readings will be made available on 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 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.