WINTER 2006: [Trans] National Identities, New Media/tions and the Place of the Public

WINTER 2006: [Trans] National Identities, New Media/tions and the Place of the Public

CMCT 6116 3.0 credits
Professor Rosemary J. Coombe (and Professor David Marshall – Communications Studies, Northeastern University)
Canada Research Chair in Law, Communication and Culture
TEL x30157 (York)
Office Hours: TBA and by appointment.
Class Meets: Wednesdays 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Room: Stedman 120E


The course will explore changing relationships between communications technologies and national identities with a particular emphasis on Canada (although the concepts we develop and the cultural challenges that Canada faces are shared in other multicultural states under conditions of neoliberalism, globalization, and the intensification of migrancy and cultural flows) We consider key concepts such as the nation, national territory, the mediation of personal and social identity, publics and public spheres, globalization, cosmopolitanism, transnationalism, and diaspora. The historical objectives of Canadian cultural policy will be addressed and Canada’s cultural self-understanding as a society made up of relationships between founding nations, committed to multiculturalism and negotiating relationships with First Nations peoples will be critically examined. The course considers the dominant tropes in the Canadian national imaginary as these are represented in diverse media as well as critical reconsiderations of these from postcolonial perspectives.

The course will consider the perceived importance of culture and communications in Canadian society under conditions where mass media communications assumed dominance. We will then consider the extent to which processes of globalisation and new information communications technologies are posing new challenges to the cultural industries and to national identity while transnational processes create new opportunities for alternative forms of nation-building, new publics, and new forms of global civil society. Do emerging social movements enabled by digital technologies strengthen or undermine “the nation” or demand that we conceptualise it differently?

An important part of the performance of the course thematics will be the evolving communication and interaction between the classes at York/Ryerson and Northeastern.  As the term progresses, the classes will creatively engage the core theoretical and analytical issues of the course, and create their own digitally mediated transnational identities, through use of weblogs.

Student Section

Course Number: CMCT6116
Field: Communication & Culture
School: York University and Northeastern University
Date Published: January 18, 2006