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CMST 3RR3 Race, Religion and Media (C01)

Academic Year: Winter 2019

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Faiza Hirji

Email: hirjif@mcmaster.ca

Office: Togo Salmon Hall 305

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 21480

Office Hours: Tuesday, 12:30-1:20 PM or by appointment



Course Objectives:

Students will acquire/enhance an understanding of theories related to race, religion and media, as well as relevant methodologies, and will be able to apply these in an analysis of different media forms. They will refine their ability to research and communicate such ideas through informal presentations and written assignments.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

All readings for this course can be found online or on reserve.


Method of Assessment:

Course Requirements:

Participation 10% ongoing

News Analysis 15% due in class January 29, 2019

Group Casting Assignment 15% papers due March 12, 2019*

Quiz 15% in class on February 12, 2019

Essay 25% due in class on April 2, 2019

Final Exam 20% during the scheduled exam period

Note: Omitting to submit any of the above assignments may result in automatic failure.

*presentation dates will vary but likely options are March 12, 19 or 22

 

Participation:

Students are expected to attend class regularly and on time, and to participate in a manner that reflects knowledge of the assigned readings. This may include contribution to discussion, answering questions and completing in-class exercises, such as written responses to questions and film clips, group work or mock debates. Disruptive behaviour (which includes texting in class, using your laptop for non-course-related purposes and chatting during lecture time) and tardiness will negatively affect the participation mark. Attendance in itself is not enough to secure full participation marks.

 

Please note: In this course, we discuss subject matter that may be sensitive or controversial. Students may hold strong opinions on some of the topics that will be discussed. Our classroom should be an inclusive and welcoming place. Please be thoughtful and respectful of others in your comments.

 

News Analysis: Find a news story that has been covered in the last year and consider how it might have been covered differently in terms of race and/or religion. Obviously this exercise is easier if race or religion is invoked in the original, but you may find a piece where you think these aspects were not mentioned and yet they should have been. You could also complete this exercise by comparing a story that received lots of media attention to one that did not, perhaps because of a racialized/religious aspect. The story can be print, broadcast, digital. Include the story or a link to the story at the end of your assignment, which should be 2-3 pages, typed and double-spaced, and should make reference to some of the concepts we have discussed in class.

 

Casting Assignment (group): Pick a movie or television series from the last five years and consider how you might recast it to make it more diverse in terms of race or religion. As you consider, you may find that other aspects of identity become important as well. Spend some time discussing this and come up with a final cast list. When you present to the class, explain the rationale for your choices—is anything lost or gained due to the changes you’ve made? If you think your changes are positive, why is it that they were not made in the original version? As a group, write a 500-word summary of shortcomings you saw in terms of diversity and how you tried to address these, and submit to the instructor. Include relevant concepts discussed so far in class. The summary will be due on March 12, and groups will sign up for presentation dates in class.

 

Quiz:

There will be a short quiz in class on February 12. This quiz will test students on examples and concepts learned to date. The quiz will include multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank and short answer questions.

 

Research Essay:

Potential topics will be provided for the final essay, but students may also choose their own after consulting with the instructor. In each case, the essay will engage with subject matter discussed throughout the course, including appropriate theoretical concepts. The essay should include appropriate background on the topic, relevant theoretical perspectives and evidence supported by academic sources. The essay should be a maximum of 10-12 pages, including bibliography, and formatted using APA or MLA. The essay is due in class on April 2, 2019, and should also be submitted through Avenue to Learn.The instructor retains the right to require submission of written assignments to Turn It In (on Avenue to Learn).

 

E-mailed assignments will not be accepted. Late assignments will be penalized one letter grade for each weekday after the deadline (e.g. an A grade becomes an A-, a B- becomes a C+, and so on). For your own protection, always keep a copy of any assignment you hand in.

 

NOTE: You must submit your own original work, completed independently. Work that has been submitted elsewhere, uses unattributed passages from the work of others, or that has been borrowed from another source, is considered plagiarism and the consequences may be severe. Please see McMaster’s policy on academic integrity.

 

Final Exam:

There is a final examination for this course during the scheduled examination period. The exam will cover all content from the semester. The format will be explained in greater detail in class but it will include different types of questions.

 


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Assignments are due in class AND on Avenue on the date noted. Emailed assignments will not be accepted. Late assignments will be penalized one letter grade for each weekday after the deadline (e.g. an A grade becomes an A-, a B- becomes a C+, and so on). For your own protection, always keep a copy of any assignment you hand in.

If you anticipate needing an extension for any reason, please speak to me as soon as possible so we can determine next steps. If you submit an MSAF for any assignment in the course, please ensure that you follow up with me immediately as the form of accommodation is determined case by case. 


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.


Topics and Readings:

COURSE TOPICS & READINGS

**an updated list of readings will be provided in January**

 

January 8: Introductions, overview

January 11: Race Matters: The Difference that Race and Religion Still Make

Readings: Este, David, Sato, Christa, and Lorenzetti, Liza. (2018). “The colourblind society.” (pp. 1-18). In D. Este, L. Lorenzetti, and C. Sato (Eds.) Racism and Anti-Racism in Canada, Halifax and Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.

Hacking, Ian. (Winter 2005). Why race still matters. Daedalus, 134(1): 102-116.

 

January 15 & 18: Birth of a Nation: Media Myths We Still Believe

Reading: DiAngelo, Robin. (2012). What does it mean to be white? Developing white racial literacy. Counterpoints, 398: 105-132.

 

January 22 & 25: “All Lives Matter…”: News Coverage of Minorities

Readings: Jiwani, Yasmin. (2011). Hierarchies of worthiness: Women and victimhood in the Canadian media. Briarpatch,40(3): 15-19.

Ojo, Tokunbo. (2006). Ethnic print media in the multicultural nation of Canada. Journalism, 7(3): 343-361.

 

January 29, February 1: Been Around the World: Diasporic Media

Reading: Mahtani, Minelle. (2009). The racialized geographies of news consumption and production: Contaminated memories and racialized silences. GeoJournal, 74: 257-264.

Mehta, Binita. (2003). Emigrants twice displaced: Race, color, and identity in Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala. In E. Shohat and R. Stam (Eds.), Multiculturalism, Postcolonality, and Transnational Media (pp. 153-169). New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.

**News Analysis due January 29**

 

February 5 & 8: Blurred Lines: When TV & Film Make the News, Part I

Readings: Chao, Jenifer. (2015). Oppositional banality: Watching ordinary Muslims in ‘Little Mosque on the Prairie.’ NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies, 4(1): 27-45. https://necsus-ejms.org/oppositional-banality-watching-ordinary-muslims-in-little-mosque-on-the-prairie/

Huh, Jinny. (2014). Race in progress, no passing zone: Battlestar Galactica, colorblindness, and the maintenance of racial order. In S. E. Turner and S. Nilson (Eds.), The Colorblind Screen: Television in Post-Racial America(pp. 320-343). New York City: NYU Press.

 

February 12 & 15: #OscarsStillSoWhite? TV & Film Part II

Reading: Simcovitch, Maxim. (1972). The impact of Griffith’s Birth of a Nation on the Modern Ku Klux Klan.Journal of Popular Film, 1(1): 45-54.

Swaidan, Jacqueline E. (2013). Religious iconography in ‘Twilight’: Veneration and fandom. LUX, 3(1), Article 18.

**Quiz February 12**

 

February 19 & 22: Winter Break!

 

February 26, March 1: Missing Voices: Indigeneity in Mainstream Media

Guest lecture on February 26 by Dr. Amber Dean

Readings TBA

 

March 5: Diff’rent Strokes: Race and Religion in Children’s Media

Readings: Breaux, Richard M. (2010. After 75 years of magic: Disney answers its critics, rewrites African-American history, and cashes in on its racist past. Journal of African-American Studies, 14: 398-416.

Ryan, Erin L. (2010). Dora the Explorer: Empowering preschoolers, girls, and Latinas. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 54(1): 54-68.

**Note that we are not meeting on campus on March 8 but there will be work assigned for that date**

 

March 12 & 15: Fight the Power: Race and Religion in the Music Industry

Guest lecture on March 15 by Dr. Christina Baade

Readings TBA

**Casting assignment papers due on March 12, possible presentation date**

 

March 19 & 22: Casting Assignment Presentations

**Casting assignment presentations**

 

March 26 & 29: Laughing Through the Pain: Comedy Tackles Race and Religion

Reading: Hirji, Faiza. (2009). “Somebody going to get hurt real bad”: The race-based comedy of Russell Peters. Canadian Journal of Communication, 34(4): 567-586.

 

April 2 & 5: When the Personal is Always Political: Debates on Social Media

Readings: Chun, Elaine W. (2013). Ironic blackness as masculine cool: Asian American language and authenticity on YouTube. Applied Linguistics 34(5): 592-612.

Cobb Payton, Fay, and Kvasny, Lynette. (2012). Considering the political roles of Black talk radio and the Afrosphere in response to the Jena 6. Information Technology & People, 25(1): 81-102.

**Essay due on April 2**

 

April 9: Light…at the Beginning and End of the Tunnel

 

**Final exam will take place during the scheduled examination period**