New Media and Politics
This course seeks to trace the evolving relationship between new media and the political process from three perspectives: the voter, political campaigns and candidates, and the news media. The course begins with a broad overview of the main theories of political communication and U.S. political campaigns leading up to 1996, the year the internet debuted in a presidential campaign. It will then follow this evolution from the 1996 presidential campaign through the 2012 presidential campaign. In addition, the course will examine issues of new media and activism with emphasis on the so-called Twitter and Facebook revolutions, including the Occupy Wall Street movement. This course will focus on 1) how changes in technology force the re-examination of the relationship between media and the audience and 2) how this change in the media landscape may affect political campaigns in ways that previous studies never examined nor understood before the popularization of the Internet. New media include, but are not limited to, the Internet, email, texting, blogging, social media and Twitter. Assignments include 2 short papers, a mid-term, and a final paper. During the course of the semester, students will be required to follow how media, members of congress, 2012 presidential candidates use new technologies to inform and persuade. This will be the basis for at least one of the short papers, but also will serve in our class discussions. Finally, over the past two years, we have observed a rise in digital activism, so in addition to examining new media and the campaign process, we will also look at how new media have impacted large-scale movements for change throughout the world.