Feit Interdisciplinary Seminars Fall 2018

Language, Identity, and Social Media
NRH
Thursday 2:30-5:25
Brooke Schreiber, English
Allison Hahn, Communication Studies

How do the language and images that we use online shape the way others see us - and the way we see ourselves? 

This Feit seminar will examine the intersections between language, identity, and social media in both online and face to face interactions. The class will first explore the role of language in online identity construction. We will ask how countries construct official language policies, how multilingual speakers select social media platforms, and how Global English is connecting diverse communities. Then, students will then examine case studies regarding personal social media use, corporate use of online identities, the emergence of online public spaces, and the use of different social media platforms around the world. These case studies will be supplemented by an introduction to online research skills and tools. Students will learn how to ethically collect social media data and will explore qualitative research programs designed for social media research. For the final course project, each student will produce a case study examining how language is used to create community within a particular forum or genre (such as Reddit, Facebook, or online advertising).  Evaluation will be based on leading and participating in class discussions, creation of the case study, and final presentation.

“New” Energy and Journalism
MTH
Tuesdays, 11:10-2:05
Christopher Hallowell Journalism
David Gruber, Dept. of Natural Sciences (Environmental Science)

Microscopic algae cells genetically engineered to create petrol; solar voltaics of photosynthesis-mimicking nanoparticles for power production; reactors that efficiently transform household trash into energy--these are just a few of the budding technologies in development that hold the potential to transform our lives and leave a secure legacy for future generations.  As fossil fuel extraction becomes more difficult, more expensive and more controversial, energy issues are increasingly central in massive corruption scandals, diplomatic power plays and political upheavals. Coal, oil, natural gas—these are the energy areas that the media typically focuses on, grounded in history, traditional economic viewpoints, and audience expectations. A question that this seminar will consider: is journalism adequately covering the future of energy or is it too reliant on old stories of old energy production.

This seminar will have a two-fold focus: the “clean-tech” energy platforms that are budding from fields such as biotechnology and nanotechnology, and the state of journalism whose reporting on the complexities of energy may be increasingly influenced, rightfully or wrongly, by specialized research groups not connected to any particular news entity. And more questions remain: how interested is the public in absorbing the complexities of new energy developments, and how can the media make such information accessible?

Led by a biologist and a journalist, this seminar delves into new energy development, public perception, special political interests and the compromised role that journalists have assumed in explaining this pivotal resource of the future. 

 

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