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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

Geoff Klinger

291A: Tps:Ethical Issues in Medical Communication

This course is designed to provide students with a focused introduction to a growing area of interest in our discipline: health communication. We will examine the intersections of three main areas of study: ethics, communication, and medicine. We will explore both theoretical connections and practical applications to better understand the nature of the interconnections between these three related areas of study. We will focus, especially, on ethical flashpoints in the practice of medicine and investigate how communication helped, or hindered the resolution of the ethical tensions that arose from these situations.


David Worthington

291B: Tps:Communication and Difference Through Game-Play

In this class we will engage in understanding how we communicate ideas and identities through game play. Using two deep-immersion historical games, students will research and embody historical figures who are struggling with some of the "Great Moments" of history. Each game will take about 5 weeks to play, the rest of the time will be spent in historical set-up and debriefing. Students in the past have found this a particularly compelling way to learn about the past and to develop understanding and empathy for a variety of identity issues.


Seth Friedman

291C: Tps:Advertising and Consumer Culture

We like to tell ourselves that we purchase consumer goods and services because they fill a need. At some level, however, we also realize that our purchasing decisions are deeply linked to our identities. The consumption of goods and services plays a crucial role in the U.S. economy, but consumer culture is more than the sum of the things that we own. In fact, it now seems normal to be addressed as a potential consumer in virtually every waking moment of our lives. This course will aim to make us more aware of the ways that advertising operates in the U.S., the connections between advertising and the media industries, as well as how consumer culture impacts our everyday lives. We will address questions such as: What information, ideas, and values are communicated in advertising? What role does advertising play in a variety of media, such as broadcasting, film, print, and web platforms? How are brands created and why do we care about them? What do advertisers know about consumers? Do advertisers use tactics that encourage people to separate themselves into distinct groups or cohere into a diverse community? Is it now possible not to adopt the values of consumer culture? In short, this class will examine the intersections of advertising, consumer culture, and the media, with an eye toward understanding the history, goals, and strategies of the advertising industry.


Spring Semester information

Susan Anthony

291B: Tps:Theatre, Culture & 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.