Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.

CMST 3RR3 Race, Religion and Media

Academic Year: Winter 2018

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Faiza Hirji


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 305

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 21480

Office Hours: Thursday, 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:

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

Method of Assessment:

Course Requirements:

Participation 10% ongoing

Journal Entry #1 5% due in class January 11, 2018

Journal Entry #2 5% due in class January 18, 2018

Journal Entry #3 10% due in class January 25, 2018

Journal Entry #4 10% due in class February 8, 2018

Journal Entry #5 5% due in class April 3, 2018

Quiz 10% in class on March 6, 2018

Essay 25% due in class on March 22, 2018

Final Exam 20% during the scheduled exam period

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


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 and using your laptop for non-course-related purposes) 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.


Journal Entries:

Students will submit short journal entries on the dates noted above. Each journal entry will respond to that week’s course content in some way: the instructor will outline a specific question or issue to be addressed in each journal entry. In some weeks, the journal entry is worth more because students will be asked to engage in a more complex exercise.


Journal entries will generally be a maximum of 2 pages double-spaced unless the instructor notes otherwise. Journal entries should be submitted both in hard copy and on Avenue to Learn. Each journal entry will be marked for degree of engagement with the subject matter, understanding of the complexities of issues raised, and relevance of examples cited. The writing style can be informal.



There will be a short quiz in class on March 10. 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 March 22, 2018, and should also be submitted through Avenue to Learn.

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 below for further information regarding 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:

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.

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

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 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 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:


(Schedule of Readings will be provided at the first class)


January 4: Introduction and overview


January 9 & 11: Race Matters: The Difference that Race and Religion Still Make

**Journal Entry #1 due January 11**


January 16 & 18: Birth of a Nation: Media Myths We Still Believe

**Journal Entry #2 due January 18**


January 23 & 25: “All Lives Matter…”: News Coverage of Minorities

**Journal Entry #3 due January 25**


January 30, February 1: Been Around the World: Diasporic Media


February 6 & 8: Blurred Lines: When TV & Film Make the News, Part I

**Journal Entry #4 due February 8**


February 13 & 15: #OscarsStillSoWhite? TV & Film Part II


February 20 & 22: Winter Break!


February 27, March 1: Missing Voices: Indigeneity in Mainstream Media

Guest lecture on March 1 by Dr. Amber Dean


March 6 & 8: Diff’rent Strokes: Race and Religion in Children’s Media



March 13 & 15: Fight the Power: Race and Religion in the Music Industry

Guest lecture on March 13 by Dr. Christina Baade


March 20 & 22: Laughing Through the Pain: Comedy Tackles Race and Religion

**Essay due on March 22**


March 27 & 29: When the Personal is Always Political: Debates on Social Media


April 3 & 5: Light…at the Beginning and End of the Tunnel

**Final Journal Entry Due**


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