Spring 2024 - CMNS 487 D100

Special Topics in Communication (4)

Migration and Media

Class Number: 4616

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Tue, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Depends on topic; published before enrollment.



Intensive analysis of a particular topic in communication and/or attention to the work of a particular writer or school of thought. This course can be repeated for credit up to a maximum of three times, if topic studied is different.


This course will introduce how migration, the mass movement of the human population, is deeply interwoven with capitalist uneven development and globalization. The first part of the course will present how unequal power structures, such as capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, racism, and patriarchy, have shaped the process and consequences of human migration in historical and contemporary contexts. Specifically, we will explore a wide range of migrant populations whose circumstances display huge disparity and inequality, including transatlantic enslaved people, European colonial settlers, rural-to-urban migrants, elite immigrants, transnational migrant workers, and asylum seekers and refugees. The second part of the course will be focused on the relationship between migration and media. Questions to be addressed include, how have mainstream media represented migrant populations in various geopolitical contexts? What is the role of media, culture, and digital technologies in designating migrants’ lives? To what extent have digital media facilitated activism and resistance among immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers at local, national, and transnational levels? By taking the course, students are expected to develop a critical understanding of migration, capitalist globalization, and media.


  • Attendance and Participation 20%
  • Presentation 25%
  • Proposal 10%
  • Final Research Paper 45%


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: www.sfu.ca/policies/Students/index.html.



Course readings will be 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: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

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