"Race" has and continues to play an important role in American politics. In this course we will critically review the relevant Communication and Political Science literature with an eye towards understanding: (1) the role of the mass media (and communication more broadly) in the construction and dissemination of race as a sociopolitical concept; (2) how race affects political attitudes, opinions and behaviors; (3) the unique methodological problems researchers face in studying racial attitudes and opinions; and (4) shortcomings in the existing scholarship on race, media and politics and how these shortcomings might be addressed. While the second half of the class is weighted towards quantitative studies of the effects of race on political attitudes, opinions and behaviors, overall the class readings draw on a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches and levels of analysis. The majority of readings focus on mediated representations of African Americans, attitudes of and about African-Americans, and the influence of those attitudes and opinions on subsequent political opinions and behaviors. Nonetheless, the underlying theories, concepts and methods are in many cases relevant to issues of race, ethnicity, sociopolitical identity and difference more broadly, and students are encouraged to apply them as appropriate to other social and cultural groupings both in class discussion and in written assignments.
- Teacher: Seth Goldman