Notes for Spring 2021

At the end of the course descriptions below are indicators of whether a course is ONLINE, or ONLINE AND IN-PERSON. When you are in the registration system, all courses with an IN-PERSON option will have two sections, one for online students, and one for in-person students. Each of these sections has cap numbers, but we will adjust these based on enrollment patterns. If the section you want to join is full, please be sure to join the waitlist, AND send an email to Kim Krzywy at

Core Course: News as a Moral Battleground

This course is open to all students, but is required for Certificate students. For the spring 2021 semester, the course will be taught by new faculty member, Margaret Sullivan, Media Columnist for The Washington Post.

PJMS 371, PUBPOL 371, ETHICS 259, DOCST 371, RIGHTS 371

News as a Moral Battleground

Ethical inquiry into journalism traditions and their effects on public discourse. Issues include accuracy, transparency, conflicts of interest and fairness. Examines the role of the news media in holding the government accountable to the public for policies and actions. Sullivan (Spring) TBA (Fall). EI, R, W, SS. (Course originated in PJMS) ONLINE and IN-PERSON Please contact Kim at for a permission number.

Spring 2021

Journalism Practicum Course Cluster

The following courses are open to all undergraduates, but Certificate students must take at least one. Magazine Journalism will be offered next in the Fall of 2021.

PJMS 365S-01, PUBPOL 365S, VMS 305S, DOCST 367S

Video Journalism

Theories and concepts of television broadcasting; writing and editing for electronic media; issues of production. Students will produce a Web portfolio. Codes: ALP, SS. (Course originated in PJMS) ONLINE and IN-PERSON

Spring 2021

PJMS 367S-01, PUBPOL 367S-01

News Writing and Reporting

Seminar on reporting and writing news and feature stories. Students required to produce news stories based on original reporting and writing, including interviews, use of the Internet and electronic databases, public records, and written publications. Written assignments critiqued in class; final project Codes: R, W, SS. (Course originated in PJMS) ONLINE and IN-PERSON

Spring 2021

Capstone Course

This course is open only to Certificate students, for whom it is required. This course is taught only in the fall semester.

Elective Courses Spring 2021

These courses are open to all undergraduates. Certificate students must take at least 3. If you find a course you think could be included in this list, please contact Kim Krzywy at

PJMS 89S-01/02, PUBPOL 89S-01, POLSCI 89S-02

Info, Tech & Policy (New Course)

This is a first-year seminar course about the politics and policy surrounding information and technology. It will focus on how politicians, policymakers, economies, citizens and society watchers talk about, worry about and understand the internet and other technologies, such as phones, networks, etc., as well as uses, artificial intelligence, social media and more. The course will address information privacy and security, global information flows, technology in campaigns and elections, how technology has changed journalism and news, and how our identities are changed by our media use. Students will research, analyze and write about technology policy issues. (Originated in PJMS) (STS) (SS) ONLINE and IN-PERSON

Spring 2021


The Art of the Interview

An exploration of the role of the interview as a core feature of modern American journalism, with focus on its development as a tool of inquiry, a cultural form and news-making event. Students will study examples of media coverage and produce projects involving interviews. (R) (W) (Originated in PJMS) ONLINE

Spring 2021

PJMS 390S-10/11, PUBPOL 290S-10

Lying in Politics (New Course)

Lies are poisoning our political discourse and damaging our democracies. No longer hindered by the filters of the news media, politicians and political groups now exaggerate and use outright falsehoods with impunity. This course will delve into who is doing the lying, their techniques and justifications. It also will examine the techniques that journalists and tech platforms are using to deter the lying and the successes and failures they’ve had. Students will conduct case studies to see how the same falsehood is repeated by politicians and pundits and how those claims become “fact-resistant” even when debunked by the mainstream media. Students also will examine falsehoods in various countries to assess whether there are global patterns to this phenomenon. (Originated in PJMS) ONLINE and IN-PERSON

Spring 2021

PJMS 390S-20, PUBPOL 290S-20

Journalism as a Detective Story (New Course)

News reporting is often a search for clues, reliable sources and verifiable details. And the search itself can make for a dramatic detective story. In this course, you will write compelling news articles -- narrative stories in which you will serve as the narrator, if not protagonist, and your reporting process will drive the plot. Over the past two decades, blogs, documentaries and narrative podcasting have popularized and reinvented this style of "whodunit" reporting. But the use of first-person, experiential journalism and nonfiction writing is hardly new -- from Alexis de Tocqueville and Nellie Bly to Ta-Nehisi Coates and Sarah Koenig. (Originated in PJMS) (W) ONLINE

Spring 2021

PJMS 390S-30, PUBPOL 290S-30

Race and the Media (New Course)

NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans has written a book on all the ways modern media is hijacked and sidetracked by race issues, titled Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Define a Nation (based on an insult hurled at him by former Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly, who called Deggans "one of the biggest race baiters in the country”). In fact, Deggans has built his near-30-year career as a critic and journalist around exposing and deconstructing all the ways stereotyping and prejudice are embedded in pop culture – especially media. Deggans will lead students in examining how race, gender and culture issues are presented in modern media, with a close look at outlets which profit by playing on stereotypes and prejudice. It's the kind of class which leaves students unable to look at television and media in quite the same way, after they have seen the mechanisms of modern media revealed. (Originated in PJMS) ONLINE and IN-PERSON

Spring 2021

PJMS 390S-40, PUBPOL 290S-40

Business Journalism

Money is everywhere. It’s in sports, politics, fashion, entertainment, your daily life and, of course, in business. But how do you—to quote an overused phrase—follow the money? In this course you’ll dive into financial statements, discover how to evaluate public and private institutions and better understand stock and bond markets. We’ll dig into corporate scandals and financial crises, unravel how Wall Street enriches and defrauds, and figure out what makes some companies and CEOs successful and others losers. If you’re interested in journalism, this course will give you critical-thinking and writing skills useful in the fastest-growing part of the business. And if you’re just interested in business, you’ll gain a better understanding of corporate strategy, budgeting and investing, as well as how to be a smart consumer and financial steward. Business Journalism will be taught by Scott McCartney, who has decades of experience reporting for the Wall Street Journal. (Originated in PJMS) ONLINE and IN-PERSON

Spring 2021

PJMS 390S-50/51, PUBPOL 290S-50

Data Journalism Lab (New Course)

To fulfill the promise of their watchdog role, modern journalists must wield the power of data or risk being outpaced by those they seek to hold accountable. It’s an arms race – and losing means dire consequences for the Fourth Estate and the public it serves. Students in the Data Journalism Lab will learn to put skills into practice, conceiving and executing collaborative, data-driven, accountability-focused projects big and small published throughout the course of the semester. Heavily influenced by the news of the day, students will drive coverage using a team-based approach, choosing from a range of topics such as criminal justice, public health, racial inequality and the environment. They’ll use the latest tools to work with real data, documents and sources to reveal novel stories in the public interest. (Course originated in PJMS) ONLINE and IN-PERSON

Spring 2021

AMES 329S, RELIGION 379S, ICS 331S, VMS 342S

Islamic Media

How contemporary technologies reawaken the sense of the sacred in daily life, rather than destroy it. How technologies new and old circulate the Word in its multiple incarnations, but also cultivate modes of communal identification. How Islamic media transform the social and political landscape, as well as the way we see/ feel/ and perceive the world. How religion has been intensified, diversified, and inflected by the information age. How this media constitutes the very experience of religion. Film, video, digital media, satellite television, social media, print media, audiocassettes, radio, music. (CCI) (ALP) (CZ)

Spring 2021

VMS 356S, DOCST 288S

Editing for Film and Video

Theory and practice of film and video editing techniques. Exploration of traditional film cutting as well as digital non-linear editing. Exercises in narrative, documentary and experimental approaches to structuring moving image materials. (ALP)

Spring 2021

CULANTH 360, LIT 361, AMES 360, SOCIOL 360, ICS 369

Global Apple: Life and Death and the Digital Revolution

Examination of the Apple Corporation’s development from a Silicon Valley garage operation to a company with unprecedented global reach; the Cult of Steve Jobs, the Apple Launch and use the design and development of the Apple Store; labor and environmental struggles over Apple supply chain and production processes, from cobalt mining in Africa to Foxconn factories in China; migrant worker suicide and poetry as forms of protest in China; e-waste villages and digital rubbish; everyday uses of Apple technology and the ethics of consuming Apple products. (EI, STS, CZ, SS)

Spring 2021


The Documentary Experience: A Video Approach

A documentary approach to the study of local communities through video production projects assigned by the course instructor. Working closely with these groups, students explore issues or topics of concern to the community. Students complete an edited video as their final project. Not open to students who have taken this course as Film/Video/Digital 105S. (R) (ALP) (SS) ONLINE and IN PERSON/HYBRID

Spring 2021

DOCST 230S-01, ARTVIS, 232S-01, PUBPOL 389S-01, VMS 224S-01

Small Town USA: Local Collaborations

Theory and practice of documentary photography in a small-town context. Students working in collaboration with one nearby small town complete a documentary photographic study of one individual or group within that town. Includes analysis of the documentary tradition, particularly as it relates to locally situated work and to selected individual projects; building visual narrative, developing honest relationships with subjects, responsibility to subjects and their communities, and engaging with and portraying a community as an outsider. Photo elicitation and editing techniques. Consent of instructor required. Required participation in service learning. (CCI) (R) (ALP) Service Learning Course

Spring 2021


Veterans Oral History Project

Explore methods of oral history, specifically focusing on interviewing U.S. military veterans who have served during times of conflict. Weekly readings concerning ethics of oral history work and the particulars of interviewing veterans. Learn techniques for conducting successful oral history interviews and master technical skills involving recording equipment. Conduct multiple interviews with veterans throughout semester. Discuss interviews and transcriptions with classmates. Assignments include written responses and a final presentation on conducted interviews. Includes a service-learning component involving work in the community. (CCI) (SS) Service learning.

Spring 2021


The South in Black and White

Present-day and historical documentary traditions in American South, with an emphasis on call and response between black and white cultures. The arts and humanities as embedded in particular histories and cultures found in the South, and as performed in music and theater; and portrayed in documentary films, civil rights photography, Southern literature, and historical and autobiographical writing. Includes historical texts, oral histories and testimonies of living persons, along with documentary films, photographs, and writings from people in Durham and elsewhere in the region. (CCI) (ALP) (CZ)

Spring 2021


Documenting Black Experiences

Interpretations of the black diaspora in documentary film from slavery to the present. Interdisciplinary study of black religions, cultures, histories, aesthetics, politics, and their representations, both globally and in the United States. Students will view and study a variety of films and approaches to film and study film's evolution through numerous lenses from early ethnographic film to recent works by indigenous filmmakers, and understand the politics of representation, from D.W. Griffith to Spike Lee; read relevant works in the genres represented; and hear from guest critics, scholars of African and African American history and culture, and filmmakers. (CCI) (ALP) (CZ) ONLINE Only

Spring 2021

DOCST 365S-01, VMS 365S

The Documentary Turn: Southern Culture

Traces the convergence of traditional 20th c. documentary narrative (oral history, photography, film, and ethnography) with emergent 21st c. technologies (digital platforms, crowd-sourced communications, viral information) that expand and test definitions of documentary practice. Course looks for unexpected outcomes and future possibilities at the intersections of analog and digital practice. Focus is on the cultures of the American South with an understanding of that region as mapped within a global imaginary. Requirements include experimental documentary project that combines storytelling (visual/literary), performance (theater/dance/music) or investigative research (oral/archival). (EI) (W) (ALP) (CZ)

Spring 2021

ENGLISH 290S-4-01

Flash Nonfiction

Experimenting with creative nonfiction style, tone, and structure, in this class we will explore the challenges and opportunities involved in making brevity the soul of wit. Over the course of the semester each student will gather material for, draft, workshop, revise, and polish a series of six flash nonfiction pieces of 600-800 words each, using a variety of assigned approaches. Along the way, in-class writing exercises and published examples of flash nonfiction will provide inspiration and ideas. No previous creative writing experience is required for this course.

Spring 2021

ENGLISH 390S-1-02, AAAS 390S-01, GSF 390S-01, LIT 390S-3-0

#CiteBlackWomen: Reading Zora Neale Hurston

This course examines the life and work of Zora Neale Hurston. Though best known as a novelist of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston was also a formally trained anthropologist, who wrote and experimented across a range of literary genres and cultural media, including: novels, short stories, plays, anthropological essays, political essays, autobiography, sound recordings and documentary film footage. Special note: This course can count towards the PJMS certificate only if the final project is journalistic in nature. Contact the DUS, Ken Rogerson, if you have questions. ONLINE

Spring 2021


How to Think in an Age of Political Polarization

Americans today live in a time of deep political polarization, cultural tribalism, and self-segregation. To many, it feels like we’re in the middle of a cultural civil war that is turning violent. What sort of habits of mind (e.g. intellectual humility and charity) and practices should we cultivate in response to this reality in order to sustain a healthy democracy? Special attention paid to the university, cancel culture, free speech, social media, and identity politics. Lively discussion is encouraged. (EI) (W) (CZ) IN-PERSON

Spring 2021

GSF 265S, SOCIOL 217S, ISS 265S, VMS 286S, COMPSCI 112S

Introduction to Digital Feminism

The aim of this course is to critically analyze digital culture from a feminist and gender studies perspective. Subjects such as the rise of the Silicon Valley, gaming culture, social media, algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, extraction of data applied to biotechnology, macroeconomic development of IT platforms and the impact of technology on ecology will be discussed starting from a current event or debate, to which we will give a historical, ethical, sociological, theoretical, literary or cinematographic perspective. ONLINE only (R) (STS) (SS)

Spring 2021

ISS 222D, CMAC 222D, VMS 203D

Introduction to Digital Humanities

Digital approaches to humanistic research and its expression, across disciplines and fields. Text analysis, digital mapping, data visualization, databases, networks, online archives and exhibitions, immersive media, also situated within broader cultural debates on digitality and society. Questions of digital divide, digitization, cultural appropriation, copyright and fair use, digital ethics, universal access, collaborative authorship as they impact research and communication. (STS) (ALP) (CZ) ONLINE only

Spring 2021

ISS 240L-001, VMS 288L-001, AMI 325L-001

Fundamentals of Web-Based Multimedia Communications

Laboratory version of Information Science + Studies 240. Multimedia information systems, including presentation media, hypermedia, graphics, animation, sound, video, and integrated authoring techniques; underlying technologies that make them possible. Practice in the design innovation, programming, and assessment of web-based digital multimedia information systems. Intended for students in non-technical disciplines. (R) (ALP) Instructor consent required.

Spring 2021

ISS 366L-01, VMS 366L-01

Data Visualization

Combination of lectures, labs, and workshops on the theories and practices of data visualization, focused on creative applications of advanced tools and software, including introduction to data scraping, data cleaning, and elementary coding. Students will use innovative strategies to develop new databases with imperfect information, combining qualitative and quantitative data on the interface of the humanities and the social sciences. Individual and collaborative research projects will combine qualitative and quantitative analysis with weekly feedback and assessment (R), (STS)

Spring 2021

I&E 253, ENGLISH 253

Social Marketing: From Literary Celebrities to Instagram Influencers

This course explores ways in which studying the masters of previous “social” media technologies—the Shakespeares, Whitmans, and Eliots of the world—can help us understand how influencers on digital social media leverage the same platforms you use every day to market themselves, build their brands, and grow their audiences. (STS) (SS) ONLINE and IN-PERSON

Spring 2021

LIT 190S-05, VMS 190S-01

Philosophy of Media and Tech

Introduction to the fundamental questions, debates, and schools of thought that have decisively shaped the modern study of media technologies and forms, such as print, film, television, and computers. Will be exploring the central themes and preoccupations animating the fields of media theory and the philosophy of technology. The goal of the class is to encourage students to interrogate commonly held assumptions regarding the impact of media and technology on society and on philosophical thought itself through various theoretical frameworks. (STS) (W) (CZ) ONLINE

Spring 2021

  • Ernest Pujol Leon
LIT 320S-01, AAAS 247S, AMES 318S-01, ICS 320S, ISS 323S, LATAMER 320S, RIGHTS 323S-02, VMS 323S

Social Movements and Social Media

Examines uses and abuses of social media by social movements. Interested in a broader historical study of mediating technologies and oppositional public sphere, course considers the uses of cameras, phones, cassette players, radio, and social media platforms, but also books, bodies, art, fashion, and automobiles as oppositional technologies. Studies political and ethical uses of technologies in social unrest. Investigates impact of technologies on social movements and social transformations in contemporary history. Student driven case studies will highlight contemporary engagement with social media by networked social movements. (CCI) (EI) (STS) (ALP) (CZ)

Spring 2021


Stigma, Mental Illness and Ethnicity: From News Media and Pop Culture to Policy and Back

Stigma associated with mental illness, ethnicity and/or race affects individuals, families, communities and societies. This course offers cultural perspectives on how stigma associated with ethnicity, race and mental illness impacts and is impacted by media and pop culture. The course is designed for undergraduate students interested in understanding the complexity and social implications of stigma through analysis of media and pop culture. Assignments include short essays and podcast production. (EI) (STS) (SS)

Spring 2021

AMES 432S, ICS 333S, VMS 384S

Storyworlds: The Art, Technology and Pleasure of Narrative

Is "tell me a story" an universal imperative? Seminar examines storytelling practices across a broad span of histories and cultures, and the creation of storyworlds through multiple media, genres, and platforms. Topics include comparative oral traditions, Medieval story cycles, serial tales, textual poaching and fanfic, alternate reality gameworlds (ARG), social media, transmedia storytelling and transcultural fandoms. (CCI, ALP, CZ)

Spring 2021

VMS 397L, ISS 294L, ARTSVIS 242L

Interactive Graphics

Introduction to interactive graphics programming for artists. Explores object-oriented programming via the Processing programming environment as well as historical and theoretical appreciation of interactivity and computer graphics as artistic media. Combines discussions of key concepts from the readings with hands-on Processing projects and critiques. No previous programming experience or prerequisites required. (ALP, QS) ONLINE

Spring 2021