Sociology | Media and Society
S339 | 12851 | VonderHaar

I invite you to sit down in front of your television set…and keep
your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off.  I can
assure you that you will observe a vast wasteland.

—Newton Minow, 1961

This class is designed to increase your knowledge and understanding
of the media’s impact on society.  Not only will you learn more
about the media’s role in American society, but you will also have
the opportunity to join a public forum where you can express your
opinion about it.

During the semester we will consider how the media shape and are
shaped by American culture.  This course is specifically designed to
help students improve their critical thinking skills.  Every class
will, therefore, involve both the analysis of media and a discussion
of students’ opinions.  The first part of the semester will be
devoted to understanding how media influence our perceptions of the
world that surrounds us.  The last part will be devoted to
advertising and entertainment media, with a focus on the way that
ads, television programs, and films distort our perceptions of race,
gender, and social class