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Media and the Humanitarian Impulse: #thisclasswillsavetheworld

Semester and Year SP 2018
Course Number IDSEM-UG1941
Section 001
Instructor Lisa Daily
Days F
Time 11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   SOC



From the power of the ‘Like’ button and hashtag-activism to the media frenzy surrounding a celebrity visit to help out in disaster-struck Haiti and other exoticized locales, this class engages with humanitarianism through the lens of digital media culture, its antecedents, and interventions. Guiding questions include, but are not limited to: what motivates the humanitarian impulse—understood as an individual’s need to advocate, act, or raise awareness about a particular issue or crisis? How have humanitarian issues and crises historically been publicized through the media, whether at the level of the individual, non-profit organization, nation-state, or intergovernmental organization? How has digital culture impacted the more traditional relationship between ‘the media’ and humanitarianism? And, what effects—if any—do digital culture enacted as activism (or what some call ‘slacktivism’) have on existing humanitarian dilemmas? While this course emerges from critical theoretical and historical foundations within media studies, cultural studies, social movement theory, and international relations, it also relies upon participatory culture, meaning students should expect to engage with and critically reflect upon social media. Course materials will include film, regular social media engagement, media archival reading, and possible readings from Lilie Chouliaraki, Didier Fassin, Stephen Porter, Henry Jenkins, and Roopali Mukherjee and Sarah Banet-Weiser, among others.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)