Distinguish between social change media such as alternative, community, autonomous, and citizens’ media, culture jamming, hacktivism, and tactical media

The San Francisco Bay area is home to a wide variety of social change communications projects directed by grassroots citizen’s groups, social justice movements, human rights organizations, artists and reform-minded groups of journalists and producers. It is also one of the world’s epicenters of alternative and community-based media. This course will take advantage of these resources, examining this third media sector in the Bay area, as well as some exemplary international projects and efforts.
This Senior Seminar examines one of the fastest growing sectors of media practice, and of media research. The course reviews the historical reasons for the growth of social change media. We discuss the democratic deficit of the dominant commercial and public service media, the recognition of the importance of communications among social justice movements, and the growing accessibility of new and old information and communications technologies and networking.
Our STUDY examines the range of contemporary alternative media and social change communications. The focus is on four dimensions:
1. composition of producers of communications and media (who?)
2. PROGRAMMING content or stories (what?)
3. participatory PRACTICES , forms of expression and meaning-making (how).
4. sustainability and effectiveness of media MOBILIZATION as social change (how well does it work?)
Throughout the course, we compare the different approaches to social change within this sector, and in relationship to commercial, public service and the growing DIY sector. What social change issues are being ADDRESSED ? What is the role of communications? How effective is it, for whom and in what respect? What are the future prospects?
The course facilitates student engagement with these issues in a number of different ways. Through videos, web-based DOCUMENTS , class exercises, readings, field visits, and guest lectures, students will have an opportunity to learn about the people involved, their values, practices and messaging; and the significance of this sector for social change. Students will then produce a final research report.
PLEASE NOTE:
The syllabus will be tweaked during the course in line with student experience and interests, course objectives and learning goals. All changes will be discussed with students.
COURSE OBJECTIVES
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
• Identify key reasons for the development of alternative media and social change communications
• Analyse news content, identify news frames and explain limitations of news coverage
• Distinguish between social change media such as alternative, community, autonomous, and citizens’ media, culture jamming, hacktivism, and tactical media
• Discuss different approaches to the production and circulation of information, news and meaning
• Demonstrate a familiarity with theories of social change and communications
• Produce a substantial research project about one aspect of social change communications

NOTES :
• You must achieve at least a “C” in this course in ORDER for you to obtain four units credit in the Media Studies Major or Minor.
• There is a lot of new material and thinking in this class. It is thus extremely important that you show up prepared for class. Make sure to complete the required readings or assignments before you come to class. Attendance is mandatory and will be taken at the start of the class. Please inform me of any expected absences in advance of the class. Absence from more than two classes will result in an automatic loss of one letter grade.
• Whenever you have any concerns about the course material or your assignments, please ARRANGE to meet with me immediately via e-mail, or during office hours.

READINGS
Articles are AVAILABLE on Canvas or at web-sites indicated on the syllabus.

ASSIGNMENTS
Class PARTICIPATION ………………………………………………………………….10%
This course is demanding. There will be a NUMBER of in-class exercises and group discussion of assigned readings. Evaluation will be based on student’s attendance, and the quality of contribution to the class and class projects. Absence from more than two classes will result in an automatic loss of one letter grade.
Short assignments ……………………………………………………..………………………30%
Regular short written assignments in which students select six sets of texts to review, analyse and write about.
Field Research……………..…………………..……………………………………..10%
In groups, students will make a class presentation on an alternative media or social change project ………………………………………………….…March 24 or 26
Reports on one Social Change Events……………………….….…………………05%
Students will participate in and analyse a social change event (the Global Women’s Rights Forum or the Human Rights Film Festival). ……………………………………………………………………….Due: March 24; April 11
Media DOCUMENTATION Project …………………………………………………….05%
Students will assist in media support for the USF “Speak Out-Listen In” on February 24th in class.
Text Analyses ……………………………………………………………….………10%
Students will compare the coverage of a social change issue of their choice in a SAMPLE of alternative and dominant media. Using content and/or discourse analysis, students will present a written summary of their findings. ……………………………………………………………………………………………Due: May 5
Final Paper or Project ………………………………………………..…………….30%
Students will produce a substantial research REPORT on an alternative media or social change project, and report on their findings to the class. This project can be completed in written, video, audio or web format; however, all students must rigorously research and analyse their topic.
Proposal (5%) ……………………………………….…………….……………Due: March 10
Draft Outline (5%)…………………..……….…………………………………….Due: April 17
Final Project (20%)…………………………..……………..…..……………… Due: May 14

CLASS SCHEDULE
NOTE: This schedule is SUBJECT to review and revision with students.
Week 1
January 27 INTRODUCTION
Course Framework. Goals and Objectives. Expectations. Ground Rules. The Syllabus and Assignments.

January 29 Defining Alternative Media and Social Change.
What is alternative media? What is social change communications? What is democracy?
Terms: alter, native, emergent publics, UNIVERSALITY , diagnosis, identification
READ:
Angus, “What is Democratic Debate,” 21-37.
Angus, “Always BEGINNING Again, 57-69.
Kidd, “The Value of Alternative Media,” 1-10.
Due: Assignment 1.

Week 2 Changing the World from Here
If alternative media and social change communications are the answer, what’s the problem? What dimensions of the dominant media need to be changed? What is the legacy of past efforts in doing this, and what can be done today? We review an analytical framework from Paolo Freire and discuss how this relates to USF.
February 3
We review the democratic deficit and U.S. media representation. What is the legacy in the U.S. of alternative media? Review of content and discourse analysis.
READ:
Croteau and Hoynes. “Social Inequality and Media Representation,” 187-22.
Wilson, Gutiérrez and Chao. “Alternative Media,” 243-269.

February 5
Paolo Freire integrated praxis with social justice movements, media analysis and collective communication. Diagnosis, collective discussion and identity formation.
READ:
Berta-Ávila. “The Process of Conscientization: Xicanas/Xicanos Experiences
in Claiming Authentic Voice,” 117-128.
Due: Short Assignment #2

Week 3 The Legacy of the San Francisco Bay
The San Francisco Bay area is known as a place where people are passionately involved in challenging the status quo, and creating new ways of viewing, representing and living the world. We discuss the importance of this legacy for contemporary media and social change, and the HISTORY of some of these initiatives.
February 10
San Francisco has been the SITE of many different schools and movements of art directed to social change. We review some of this legacy.
READ:
• Drescher.” Street Subversion: The Political Geography of Murals and Graffiti,” 231-245.
• Maiden. “Favianna Rodriguez, Artist and Activist,” 100-106;
• Peters. “The Beat Generation and San Francisco’s Culture of Dissent,” 199-215.
• Maiden: “Jose Manuel Martinez, Recording Artist, Writer & Educator,”114-120.

February 12
The current city-scape is being transformed; housing AVAILABILITY and costs have led to many artists and creative people leaving the City, as well as much of the Latino and African American population. We discuss the contribution of social change media to the diagnosis, explanation and mobilization around these intersecting issues.
READ:
• Public Press. “Creative Solutions to San Francisco’s Housing Crisis.” http://sfpublicpress.org/housingsolutions
Due: Third Short Assignment.

Week 4 Theory, PRACTICE and Praxis
This week we APPLY the skills of participatory media to planning for an on-campus event and situate this work within the field of social movements and communications.
Terms: media interventions,tactical media, hacktivism, media reform, détournement February 17
Applying participatory practices to a community-centered event at USF? We plan for reporting, recording stories and DOCUMENTING the USF Speak Out and LISTEN In: A Teach In On Building Community Power.

READ:
• Lievrouw, “The Roots of Alternative and Activist New Media, 28-71.
• Kidd, “Occupy and Social Movement Communication,” 1-21.
February 19
READ:
• Atton and Hamilton, “Theorizing Alternative Journalism,” 117-135.
• Howley, INTRODUCTION (to Media Interventions), 1-34.
• Castells: “Networking Minds, Creating Meaning, Contesting Power,” pp. 1-19.
Guest: Julia Light.
Due: Fourth SHORT Assignment.

Week 5 #Black Lives Matter
This week, we focus on the communications dimension of current movements against police treatment of young Black and Latin men, CONNECTING the dots with structural racism in the U.S. media, legal, and economic systems.
February 24 Speak Out and Listen In: A Teach In On Building Community Power.

February 26 Follow-up on Theory Discussion and Teach-In.
READ:
• Media Coverage. Ferguson Curriculum. http://sfusd.libguides.com/content.php?pid=647748&sid=5372947
• Newseum Front Pages from Around the World. http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/?tfp_display=archive-date&tfp_archive_id=112514&tfp_page=2.
• Colorlines. Following Ferguson: Did YOUR News Media Do A Good Job? http://colorlines.com/archives/2015/01/following_ferguson_did_your_news_media_do_a_good_job.html

Week 6 Women, Social Change and Cultural Work
One of the largest global social movements of the modern era has been the international women’s movement. In the US, one of the first strategic aims in the 1970s was to develop a media strategy, to challenge the dominant representation of women, and provide a different imaginary. We examine a theoretical framework about the LARGER goals and then review some current initiatives.
March 3
Due: Fifth SHORT Assignment.
READ:
• Sreberny.“Globalization, Communication, Democratization: Toward Gender Equality,” 245-266.
• Wysocki. “Femen and Slutwalk: Examining Representations of Sexual Performance in Public Protests, 1-13 and 94-104.
March 5
READ:
• Friedman. Weaving the Invisible Web: The Creation of Feminist Counterpublic (Cyber)Space, 1-39.
• Kee. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVhDFfjAHu4.
Due: Sixth Short Assignment, Friday March 6.
Week 7 Using the Media to Critique the STATUS Quo: Project Censored
One of the major aims of alternative media has been to critique dominant ideas and provide alternative perspectives and information. What does this look like today? How has the scope and scale of alternative news and information production changed?
March 10
READ:
• Atton. “Alternative Journalism, Ideology and PRACTICE ,” 1-10.
• Roth and Huff. “INTRODUCTION ,” 15-35.
Due: Final Project Proposal (Topic, Rationale, Method and Literature)
March 12
READ:
• Roth, Huff et al.” Media Democracy in Action: Inspiring We the People.” 171-192.
Guests: Project Censored Team

Week 8 Spring Break
No Class

Week 9
March 24
Countering the Dominant Narratives, Telling our Own Story
One of the most important genres that social movements have taken up is “story-telling.” How did this become such an important genre? We review the HISTORY , and examine some of the current projects.

READ:
• Ganz, “The Power of Story in Social Movements,” 1-12.
• Schmenner. “That’s the Thing about Storytelling,” 30-54.
• Beltrán. “No Papers, No Fear,” DREAM ACTIVISM , New Social Media and the Queering of Immigrant Rights,” 245-266.

Due: Review of Global Women’s Rights Forum.
March 26 Mapping the Bay: Student Field REPORTS
We CONTINUE our mapping of alternative media and social change communications in the Bay area. What’s inspiring about their work? What are the logics and strategies that define the communications repertories of local groups? What is their vision of social change? What alternative modes or genres do they incorporate? How do they assess success?
Group Reports

Week 10
March 31
Group Reports

April 2
Follow=up on research projects. How to use theory, developing research questions, and format final projects.

Week 11 Story-telling, Film and Human Rights
Documentary film has also become one of the mainstream media for countering the dominant narrative, telling a movement’s or social group’s story, expanding the public sphere, and mobilizing for social change. This week, we consider the use of documentary in international efforts of social change, as witnessing, DOCUMENTING , profiling and advocating for social change.
April 7
READ:
• McLagan. “The Architecture of Strategic Communication: A Profile of Witness,” 318-325. (Note: the McLagan and McKee article are in the same PDF ).
• The Witness Campaigns. http://www.witness.org/campaigns/all-campaigns/us-human-rights-network (Links to an external site.)
.
• Nisbet and Aufderheide: Documentary Film Towards a Research Agenda.
April 9
The Human Rights Film Festival at USF is one of a growing NUMBER which use the medium of film to highlight human rights issues, and raise public discussion. We will attend the festival as a class, and view “Student Shorts,” and “Big Men.”
Due: Seventh Short Assignment.
Week 12 Social Movements and Media Use: The Case STUDY of Immigration
One of the most important contemporary social movements in the U.S. is focused on immigration. This week we review the ways that Latino and other immigrant groups are making use of, and changing the media ecology.
April 14
We are visited by members of the National Radio Project and discuss their radio documentary about the death of migrants on the Mexico-US border.
READ:
• Schmenner. “That’s the Thing about Storytelling,” 30-54.
• Beltrán. “No Papers, No Fear,” DREAM ACTIVISM , New Social Media and the Queering of Immigrant Rights,” 245-266.
• Costanza-Chock. “A Day Without an Immigrant: Social Movements and the Media Ecology,” 21-46.
LISTEN :

Visit from Jasmin Lopez, Making CONTACT
Due: Eighth Short Assignment
April 16 Social Movements and Communications Theorizing

We again review the ways to use theory to frame research.
Due: Draft Outline of Final Project

Week 13 Transmedia Organizing
Social movements and alternative media groups have changed their PRACTICES as a result of digitalization. Although many CONTINUE to use face to face communications, they area also using the Internet like a web, bringing together social and cultural movements for change. This week we examine some of the emerging movements, including lessons from the wave of international movements such as the Arab Spring and Occupy.
April 21
READ:
• Castells: “Changing the World in the Network Society,” pp. 218-243.
• Rucht. “Protest movements and media usages,” 251-268
April 23
READ:
• Costanza Chock: “Transmedia MOBILIZATION in the Popular Association of the Oaxacan Peoples, Los Angeles,” 95-114.
• Wysocki. “Femen and Slutwalk: Examining Representations of Sexual Performance in Public Protests,”
Due: Review of Human Rights Film Festival
Due: Ninth SHORT assignment.
Week 14 Student Life Post-graduation
This week we discuss prospects for students to work in social change communications after graduation.
April 28

We review organizations in the bay area, the U.S. and internationally that use communications, and discuss their practices. We especially look at music and art venues, film festivals, community radio, citizens investigative journalism and the use of communications by advocacy organizations.
April 30
Work-day in which students UPDATE their two final projects.
Week 15 Work-in -Progress
Students discuss their final research projects with the class, provide feedback for their classmates and further hone their research projects.
May 5
Students REPORT on their text analyses.
Due: Text Analyses

May 7
Students informally present their findings from their final projects. Students discuss ongoing research, including good sources, integrating theory, writing and presentation

Week 16 Final Course Summary
We reflect on the knowledge and learning of the course, ADDRESS final concerns about research projects and celebrate our work.
May 12
May 14
Due: Final Project
Alternative Media and Social Change
Final Research Project
Length: approximately 7000 words
Guidelines:
This assignment asks you to produce a final research project on some aspect of alternative media and/or social change communications. The choice of topic is up to you; PLEASE select a question or argument that can sustain YOUR interest for at least a month, and which has some special resonance for you. The scope of the paper can be local, national or international, deal with one theoretical aspect, or perhaps examine one alternative medium, media project, or media approach, in more detail.

The final projects will be evaluated on:
• Good research questions
• quality of evidence
• quality of analysis,
• strength of organization,
• intellectual risk-taking and creativity,
• relationship to the course content, and
• quality of your sources, for eg. at least 5-10 different sources that derive primarily from interviews, books or journals, and not web-site aggregations such as wikipedia.

Format:
You can complete this assignment using a variety of formats:
• traditional text-only RESEARCH PAPER
• academic blog with multi-media hyper-links or e-pages
• short video documentary with BACKGROUND paper
• short audio documentary with background paper
• policy DOCUMENT

Whichever format you choose, it should include:
• research question (what’s the problem you’re exploring?)
• approach (how will you answer these questions?)
• theory (what theory of social change and which theorists will you use?)
• findings (what did you find out?
• Final questions (what still remains to ask/think about?

Proposal
PLEASE provide a 1-2 page proposal by March 10th, which outlines:
• YOUR topic (usually a major question or argument),
• why this is a significant topic (so what?)
• how you propose to answer or ADDRESS the question (research approach, kinds of sub-questions or probes)
• the theory you will draw on
• an initial listing of research sources

Annotated Bibliography
Please provide an Annotated Bibliography that includes:
• a full listing of bibliographic detail of all the sources you will use in your project
• a critical description of their value to knowledge-making
• how you will use them in your project (what section, what argument, what evidence)

You will also be expected to make a brief (five minute) presentation of your findings to the class on May 5th and 7th. This informal briefing OPPORTUNITY allows you to test out what you’re finding with your peers.

Important Due Dates
Proposal: (5%) ……………………………………………………………….March 10
Annotated Bibliography (5%) ………………………………………………….April 4
Class Presentation of Draft or Rough Cut …………………………………May 5 & 7
Final Project (20%) ……………………

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