Honors | JSYK: Social Networks & Dissent (HON)
H204 | 29151 | Herbert Terry

MW 9:30-10:45 a.m.
HU 108

Media have always played an important role in social dissent, but
that role is taking new forms in the early 21st century when dissent
movements organize through Facebook, communicate with each other and
with the world through Twitter, and use proxy servers to attempt to
avoid suppression by governments.

In this class, we’ll (1) take a brief, general historical look at
how media have played a role in earlier social dissent movements –
the exact ones to be chosen, in part, based on the interests of
class members [we could do things like the civil rights movement in
the U.S., the global movement to eliminate apartheid in South
Africa, the Iranian Revolution, etc], (2) generally consider new
(some say “new new”) electronic media that have emerged, largely in
the early 21st century that largely depend on computer networks to
communicate and organize, (3) selectively examine how those media
have been used in recent dissent movements (again, specific ones to
be chosen based on class interests – but likely to include dissent
over the recent elections in Iraq, the organization of global
terrorism, perhaps the organization of political support for and
opposition to the policies of President Obama – we’ll just have to
see, and (4) look at how governments (and opposing groups) respond,
often through attempts at censorship, to these new uses of new media.

Students will have the chance to prepare a research paper analyzing
a topic of their choice arising from this class. There will be a
final examination and, most likely, a midterm. I’ve taught HON-H 204
classes in the past and know that the background, majors, etc. of
students in them can vary widely. No specific background or
experience in communications (or telecommunications) is required or
expected. A general interest in current affairs (since most of the
class will be about contemporary dissent and contemporary social
movements), interest in contemporary electronic media (e.g.,
Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and curiosity about a topic that’s not yet
attracted much systematic attention from scholars are all helpful.
We will use Paul Levinson’s recently published New New Media (Allyn
and Bacon, 2009, ISBN’s 10-0205673309 and 13-978-0205673308) as a
basic text, but we’re likely to find a great deal of our material
online from sources we’ll identify as part of the class. Please
contact me at the phone number or (better) e-mail username above if
you have any questions about the course.