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COMM 291

Inquiries into Communication

Designated topics in communication and theatre are explored. May be repeated with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Fall Semester information

Kevin Howley

291B: Tps: Histories of the American Press

American journalism is at a crossroads. Rising public mistrust of the profession, coupled with the advent of digital technologies and, most ominously, government persecution of journalists and their sources, represent a unique challenge to the Fourth Estate. This course places the contemporary crisis of journalism in historical context. Specifically, this course examines the role of journalism in recording as well as shaping US history. As such, the course tells the story of the democratization of American society. In addition to covering the standard history of US news media, the course explores the long but often neglected history of advocacy and activist journalism in US social, political, and cultural life. Furthermore, by calling critical attention to the untold stories of journalism practiced by racial, cultural, and political minorities, this course examines the relationship between "alternative" and "mainstream" journalism.

Meg Kissinger

291C: Tps: Muckrakers, Scandals and Scamps

At its best, journalism comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. It holds the power to set innocent prisoners free and bring presidents to their knees. But what happens when all that power goes to their heads? The class will explore journalism's greatest triumphs and most cringeworthy failures. We'll review work of the Muckrakers of the late 1800s to the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, Walter Reed, WikiLeaks and the NSA. And we'll examine what happens when reporters "break bad:" Janet Cook, Stephen Glass, Jason Blair, Brian Williams.

Expect weekly quizzes, a mid-term paper and a final paper.

Spring Semester information

Susan Anthony

291A: Tps:Theatre, Culture and Society

Theatre, Culture and Society explores representations of social identity, culture, and ideology in live performance and film with special emphasis on issues of race, gender, class, and sexual identity. The course also explores the role of the audience, historical performance, and strategies for recognizing, reinforcing, or subverting conventional depictions of power and ideology.

Geoff Klinger

291B: Tps:Technophobia: a Study in Technology, Communication, and Culture

The relationship between humans and technology/machines is a common trope embedded in many of our cultural narratives, yet it is a trope that is often "ad hoc" and fragmented. While the march of technology and its increasing encroachment in our everyday lives continues almost unabated, there are several public figures, writers, groups, and communities who have questioned our uncritical acceptance of technology, and have actively critiqued and resisted it trajectory and impact. This class is designed to bring several different variants of this trope and critique, and the related intersections of technology, communication, and culture, together into one course of study. It is important to note that this is not just a course of study that examines the human v. machine dichotomy. Indeed, as we will learn this semester, technology (techne logos) is more than just a simple machine, it is a way of thinking (i.e. the method of logic). Consequently, what is at stake in this struggle is nothing less than a battle to control the human body and mind.

Gigi Jennewein

291C: Tps:Spring Shakespeare Festival

This course trains DePauw students to direct local high school students in the mounting of fully staged 90-minute Shakespeare plays. Students spend the first three weeks in the classroom learning best practice techniques for teaching Shakespeare and working with youth. The remainder of the semester is spent in the schools shaping a production while also delivering the emotional and intellectual benefits that can be acquired by physically and vocally experiencing Shakespeare's language. This course culminates in a day-long festival at DePauw University's Moore Theatre (Green Center) comprised of performances of each participating school's play. DePauw's Shakespeare in the Schools program is inspired by and produced in association with Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA. The course requires a M/W/F 2:20-4:50 commitment due to the in-school rehearsal process. It is repeatable for credit. See instructor for details and SPAC.