Global and Comparative Perspectives on Public Diplomacy
This course provides an introduction to the conceptual and theoretical foundations for public diplomacy programs, new media public diplomacy initiatives, and how media outlets are used by international actors to influence global public opinion. The course covers issues and theories related to soft power, strategic communication, and media-based international relations. It reviews contemporary debates on U.S public diplomacy and the public diplomacy initiatives of other nation-states and non-state actors. The course is a comprehensive inquiry into assumptions that continue to justify and define the evolving range of policies related to public diplomacy and strategic communication.
Communication, Culture and International Conflict
The course examines the deeper sociocultural and communication drivers of conflict as seen in multiple regions of the world such as the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. The course examines the communication struggle for the hearts and minds of the population by key players in conflict environments, the evolution of insurgent networks, the sociocultural capabilities of security organizations in fighting the insurgency and winning the population's trust, the cultural beliefs, identities and interests of local populations, civilian governance and leadership in conflict zones, the role of international intervention and international organizations, the information, communication and media environment, the battle of narratives and narrative strategies, the challenge of strengthening national identity, intercultural relations, security and governance capabilities through aid and assistance, and sociocultural lessons for future conflicts.
Global Social Media, Identity, Representation, and Youth Culture
This interactive course will illuminate the ways that multimedia and social media platforms are used to negotiate identity, especially among youth. The course concerns itself with the ways in which youth harness and are subject to social media power by focusing on the interrelations among social media, economic practices, cultural identity constructions, representations, and contestations. Through examinations of social media and multimedia sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and global counterparts in countries like China and India, the course will employ critical approaches to explore the uses of social media in the professional, cultural, social, political, and personal life contexts of youth. Particular attention will be paid to the intersections of gender and sexuality, race, ethnicity, and religion, social class, age, physical ability, and related identities. Topically, we will explore the power of social media to catalyze one's work life especially in a global economy;enhance or impair education;promote and limit cross-border cultural flows and cross-cultural communication through circulation of commodities, texts, and artifacts;open up new avenues for public diplomacy as well as effective cross-cultural immersive experiences;and galvanize or stymie civic engagement and social justice activities as older generations seek to reassert control over the threat of dissolution of tradition, conformity, and community. At a practical level, students will be prepared to apply course knowledge and frameworks in professional contexts such as new public and cultural diplomacy, social entrepreneurship, arts management, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, cross-cultural training, and social justice activism in international and domestic contexts.