COMM 297SS: Communication for Sustainable Social Change
Professor Jan Servaes
The purpose of this course is to explore the theories and practices of communication as applied to sustainable social change. Students will participate in an intense study of society and culture in formulating communication and media strategies, and explore ways that ensures target audiences are reached to more effectively enhance knowledge transfer and social change. This is particularly so, although not limited to, in developing countries, where access to information supporting health, agriculture, HIV/AIDS, literacy and other initiatives, can be vital. Students will analyze how these phenomena are influenced by factors including new technologies, changing contexts of communities, public opinion, political, economic, environmental, societal and cultural imperatives, leading to policy decisions.
The course is also based on the belief that robust and informed journalism contributes to cultural, economic, political and social development in all societies and by promoting wider public understanding of different cultures, serves the interest of international cooperation and peace. This course will focus on the variety of ways in which participatory communication has been and is being used to foster participatory democracy. Students will prepare a case study of a specific project addressing communication for sustainable social change, and will write one article suitable for publication for the Amherst.wire or The Collegian.
COMM 397LL Health Communication
Professor Cindy Suopis
This course addresses health issues from interpersonal, mass media and critical communication perspectives. Communication theories will be applied to a variety of health issues including the physician-patient relationship, the design of health media campaigns, the pharmaceutical industry, and the influence of health promotion on human behavior. Intercultural and organizational health communication will also be discussed.
COMM 397M: New Media Technologies and Social Change
Professor Martha Fuentes-Bautista
This course addresses the main debates and perspectives on the economic and social transformation associated with the spread of digital media technologies, from various forms of collaborative and social media, to mobile phones and wireless broadband delivery systems. Its main purpose is to understand the interaction between social structure, media and social change in a comparative perspective. This class will also explore recent developments in cultural production brought about by digital media, assessing the potentials and limitations they pose for social change. We will examine topics such as: emerging peer to peer networks and new forms of social and cultural production; mobile communications for social mobilization and political protest; and broadband delivery systems, social inequalities and the digital divide. The course will provide participants with tools to critically assess and engage these debates, identifying their implications for social research and public policy.
Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:
- Understand main theoretical approaches to the study of the relation between information and communication technologies (ICT) and social change;
- Identify structural transformations and trends associated to changes in cultural production, as enabled by peer-to-peer and social media technologies; and
- Apply concepts learned in class in the assessment of ICT interventions for social change.