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December 1, 2016

INFX 598 A/B – Digital Media & Community Development

INFX 598 A/B: Digital Media & Community Development

Winter 2017 | T/Th 3:30-5:30pm

Dr. Negin Dahya

The Information School


The focus of this course is to explore the role of digital and social media in the global exchange of information, with a focus on visual culture, digital and social media. The course explores the relationship between popular cultural tools and trends in relation to community development and mobilization, and related to online/offline social action (philanthropy, humanitarian aid, political movements, etc.). Lines of inquiry in this course will focus on how particular forms of digital media can inform, mobilize, challenge, or undermine social and political norms, expectations, and practices. What is the role of digital media in the distribution of information towards community development and social change? How do digital and online campaigns impact on-the-ground social movements? What are the strengths and limitations to using digital media to influence and mobilize people around a topic of interest?  How are digital tools and campaigns impacting public perception, engagement, and (in)action about contemporary and historical social issues?

Contemporary topics such as Black Lives Matter, #NODAPL, and the role of social media in the 2016 election will be topics of discussion. Media and cultural theories exploring practices of looking (visual cultural theory), the culture industry and the spectacle of society (cultural theory) will be included as readings alongside contemporary research studies in education, library and information science, childhood and youth studies, and media studies. Weekly seminar discussions will be structured around topics such as viral videos, ‘clicktivism,’ crowdfunding, online activism and user generated content, youth engagement, and serious videogames. Readings and multimedia viewings will focus on the role of technology in the spread of information and the perpetuation of power and political structures with a focus on issues of equity related to gender, race, class, sexuality, and ability. Students will have the opportunity to complete group projects covering a movement of their choice, tracking and tracing the online and offline history, developments, and impacts of political action related to their topic.