MCC-UE 1826 - Media Activism and Social Movements

The recent wave of protest movements—from the uprisings of the Arab Spring to events closer to home like Occupy Wall Street –have sparked a renewed interest in the role of the media in mobilizing and sustaining social movements with global resonance. This seminar offers students the opportunity to analyze the power and limits of the media in contemporary social movements in recent historical contexts. First, readings will examine the political-economic conditions that have led to the mobilization of social claims for global justice in the last decade. We will then consider a range of critical theoretical perspectives on whether and how media and information technologies have been instrumental in the articulation of such claims. This seminar draws on inter-disciplinary readings from media and cultural studies, anthropology, political science and sociology. As we examine how mediated activism shapes political change, we will also consider what is meant by “the political” in distinct economic and political cultural contexts. While we begin the class in the virtual world of online activism, much of our time will focus on mediated activism and global justice in practice across the global South.

Sample Syllabus