Woman reading Paris newspaper about 1910.Honors 391, Seminar: World Media and World Power


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Fall Semester 2008

Aug. 28--Reserve readings should be available tomorrow (Friday). Check Docutek, although I don't know if the library will put them on. Otherwise, you'll have to go to the library for them.

Sept. 3: This Wednesday we'll be talking about the media and war--a topic we're pretty involved with right now. How dangerous is it for media people during a war? Here's an idea, based on a recent Reuter's news service report. Don't forget to read the book chapter on library reserve, and provide a short written list of the sources (about five, not all internet) you consulted to prepare for the class. And think of topics you'd like to discuss for future classes.

Sept. 8--This week we'll be discussing the conflict between East and West--not the old "Cold War" between the former Soviet Union and the United States (although we could discuss what might become a NEW cold war), but the "war between a Western view of what society ought to be, and an Eastern view, based on Islamic philosophy. In other words, "Islam vs. the West: New Cold War?" Might be a title. I've put the book on Al Jezeera on reserve; a copy is also available in the library stacks.

Sept. 25--Tom Ambrosio will take over class next week, and likely do a much better job than I can. (But I bring candy from Paris, so it all evens out.) Here's what he said about next week's topic:

I think what we should do is going to be contingent on whether there is a debate on Friday. Have them watch the debate and do the following: (a)focus on the use of language (what type of language was used, what words repeated themselves, how did the candidates 'do') and (b)the contrast between the US's and foreign media's 'take' on the debate.

If the debate doesn't go, however, I'll ask him for an alternate topic, and let you know as soon as possible.

Note that this topic really doesn't lend itself to writing a paper. So if it goes this way, we'll skip the essay assignment for that week. But be sure to choose another topic to write on for the week after!

Oct. 9--Next week's topic: The media and economic crisis. We talked about how Minneapolis' largest newspaper, the Star-Tribune, is not paying creditors and may declare bankruptcy, but this is just one example of how the "legacy media" (newspapers and television) are struggling to adapt to digital technology offering new ways of presenting information. How are global media trying to compete, and what problems are they having?

Also this week, those of you who will not be producing essays on the topic of the week will be doing your first reflection paper, as described in the syllabus.

Oct. 15--I know I'm late on this, but I forgot to remind people we'll be meeting tonight in the honors lounge, lower level, Askanase Hall (just south of Minard).

Oct. 23--Next week's topic, "children and war," gives you the opportunity to look at children from several viewpoints: as victims of war, as soldiers in wars, and as targets of wartime propaganda. Below are a couple sources to get you started, including an article I wrote for a conference last summer. You should be able to find more on the net, and on databases.

Graça Machel, The Impact of War on Children. London: Hurst, 2001. (In the library.)

Ross F. Collins, "Justifying War: American children’s publications and the First World War." (pdf)

Illustrations of children in World War I.

Nov. 5--Next week we have a guest, Bernie Saini-Eidukat from the geology department, talking about the politics of oil. He has two readings for the class on library reserve. His message is below. We agreed we won't be writing an essay for next week, but please read the material to prepare for the class. After next week we have three more class periods (presuming we don't meet Nov. 26). We decided to do one more essay each (that is, half the class one week, half the other week), and a second reflection essay due the last week of class, Dec. 10. I am hoping Dr. Cox from the history department will be able to meet with us one of those weeks in December.

Hi Ross,
I've put the two books on reserve in the NDSU main library.

Maugeri Ch. 1 and earlier chapters of Yergin as desired.

1900 through WWI:
Yergin: pp. 129 - 183
Maugeri: (discussion is thin but Ch. 2)

post WWII:
Yergin pp. 393-430
Maugeri: Ch. 5

Nov. 20--Next week we won't meet due to the Thanksgiving holiday. That leaves us only two more weeks. Topic as decided by the class for the week after next, Dec. 3: Celebrities and politics. Topic for the last week of class, Dec. 10, will be the Balkan war and the media, with guest facilitator John Cox, head of the history department. I will post readings for this topic as soon as Dr. Cox lets me know. We will not have to write essays on this topic, but the last reflection essay will be due that night. Have a great Thanksgiving!

(Photo: Women reading Paris daily, circa 1910.)

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