This course presents a historical and theoretical examination of the relationship between politics and the persuasive power of mass media. From the early 20th century onward, industries such as advertising and public relations – alongside developing media such as newspapers, radio and cinema – played a crucial role in arbitrating political, economic and cultural conflicts in society. As such, this course will address the way in which different groups with different interests – whether they be political elites, corporations, labour organizations or avant-garde artists – sought to influence and use ‘mass persuasion’ to transform the political and socio-cultural landscape, often in the form of propaganda or as creative resistance. The first half of the course will investigate the genesis and development of this relationship between politics in media in the United States up until the late 1950s, taking us from the Spanish-American War until the Cold War. The second half of the course will broaden to an international framework and consider how that vital American template was adopted, adapted or resisted in Britain, the Soviet Union, Fascist nations, Brazil and finally to the current era of ‘globalization’. Meets with HST 300.2.
Department: Political Science
Semesters: Fall, Spring