BA Communication sub majors
Students enrolled in the BA Communication degree have a choice of the following sub majors:
Aboriginal Studies (SMJ09052)
Bodies, Genders, Rights (SMJ09051)
Environmental Studies (SMJ09050)
Media Studies (SMJ10032)
Reading Australia (SMJ09049)
Screen Studies (SMJ10033)
Transnational Studies (SMJ09048)
The three subjects explore Australian Aboriginal culture and society, politics and history, and the legal dimensions of Indigenous rights. Drawing upon a range of disciplinary approaches (anthropology, politics, sociology and history) we will explore how these traditions have produced particular knowledge about Aboriginal people and how Aboriginal ways of knowing and being, including relationships to land and water, kinship networks and society have been interpreted as well as contested these intellectual traditions.
In the first subject students will consider Aboriginal cultural and social practices and reflect upon the mechanisms that exist to maintain and reproduce culture in a modern post-colonial nation state. In the second subject, students will be introduced to the kinds of demands Aboriginal people have made of the colonial state and how the state has sought to manage and rule Aboriginal people’s lives. In the third subject we will turn to examine the legal bases for the protection of Indigenous rights including land rights and native title.
The three subjects seek to be intellectually challenging, provide students with a depth of insight and knowledge to deal meaningfully with Aboriginal people, engage in advocacy and debates on Aboriginal issues and understand the wider international contexts in which these issues circulate. Students of the Aboriginal Studies sub-major will be equipped to make a significant contribution to the Aboriginal public policy domain and community.
What current students are saying about Aboriginal Studies
Leah Rauch, BA in Communication (Journalism)
Aboriginal Studies is a fascinating sub-major, run by dedicated lecturers. It creates a comfortable and open environment to discuss some of the most important issues facing Australia today. A great place to learn about all aspects of Aboriginal culture and issues, whether you know nothing or are passionate about the topic.
Janita Klein, BA in Communication (Social Inquiry)
I chose Aboriginal studies because I really wanted to learn more about Australian culture, history and Aboriginal politics. I want to move into Aboriginal Affairs and public policy-making, so for me Aboriginal studies was ideal. It has given me a solid understanding of and appreciation for Aboriginal culture, and has forced me to challenge the preconceived assumptions that continue to inform society. The course has a balance of culture, history and politics, with in-class discussion and activities designed to make links between these in a tangible and constructive way. If you want to make a difference, or are just interested in learning more about Aboriginal culture and history, this course is for you.
This sub-major draws on social, political and cultural theory to interrogate key features of the world around us – from the life worlds of individual bodies and embodied experience to the ways in which these worlds are in turn shaped by political and social power structures that effect relations between peoples and between those peoples and states at the international and global level. Bodies, Genders, Rights is a sub-major that offers foundational intellectual tools to help you reflect widely and deeply about the nature of power, relations between peoples, and between states and peoples across time and space.
The sub-major begins with a sustained examination of the ‘matter’ of the body – its literal fleshiness and its troubling tendency to be naturalised, despite being a key site of social, cultural, historical and political contestation. In 58223 Social Bodies, we think through what the body is and how it is that some bodies come to matter more than others. Thus, an engagement with the seemingly ‘micro’ matter of the body lays the groundwork for the following two subjects which focus in turn explicitly on the ‘macro’ issues of gender and human rights.
On offer in 58318 Gender, Culture, Power is the opportunity to undertake a rigorous analysis of the notions of sex, gender and sexuality in a range of cultural and social contexts. The processes and mechanisms that construct and institutionalise gender will be considered in a variety of contexts and how hierarchies of gender and sexuality are implicated in all aspects of social life will be explored. In particular we interrogate the ways in which current issues troubling relations between peoples and states such as globalisation, questions of ethnic and cultural difference, citizenship and environmental stress can be understood as ‘gendered’ and we question practices of social exclusion and inclusion – an underpinning theme of the sub-major as a whole – based on gender and the ways in which gender in turn structures relations not only between peoples but between nations and states.
58319 Rights and Territories builds on themes developed in Social Bodies and Gender, Culture and Power to examine the way in which ‘rights’ and particularly, human rights are now central to the ways in which relations between individuals, groups of peoples, nations and states are configured in the C21st. From this standpoint we examine key issues and debates concerning the history and contemporary politics of human rights in the context of state formation - sovereign territorialisation - and globalization and de-territorialization.
What current students are saying about Bodies, Genders, Rights
Kim Alman, BA in Communication (Public Communication)
I chose the Bodies, Genders, Right sub-major as I was after something that wasn't based solely on the media, audiences and methods of communication. What this submajor provides is a challenging set of subjects that stimulate argument and discussion that genuinely get you thinking. What I really like about the submajor is that each week's topic relates to the next, so you are building on fresh ideas every week, rather than looking at different subjects in isolation. I would definitely recommend this submajor if you're looking for a challenging and different subject.'
Colleen Woods, BA in Communication (Social Inquiry)
I chose the Bodies, Genders, Rights sub-major because of my interest in both gender and disability studies. Social Bodies was an inspiring and challenging exploration of the ways in which the body, the social and the cultural engage in ongoing processes of formation. Social Bodies happily and unexpectedly formed a foundation for ideas about what I would like to work on in my honours year, intersections of bodily perception, disability and new media. Gender, Culture, Power has so far been a broad and engaging convergence of ideas about globalisation, economics and politics through the lenses of gender and the body.
Between them, Catherine, Kyungja and Virginia specialise in their teaching and research in both developing and applying social, cultural and political theory. Catherine’s theoretical interests are in the sociology and social and cultural geography of embodiment and emotions and her areas of research include homelessness, displacement and trauma. Kyungja’s academic interests are experientially grounded in and inspired by her involvement in women’s activism in Australia and elsewhere. Her areas of research include women’s movements, women’s policy, North Korean female defectors, sex workers, violence against women, in particular, migrant women’s issues. Virginia loves political theory and the uses this can be put to when trying to make sense of the world around us. Her research to date has been concerned to interrogate the ways in which liberal political theory has been central to colonial and postcolonial politics and culture.
We all want to live sustainably, or so it seems. In opinion surveys environmental concerns top the list of most important issues. Environmental perspectives have risen up the agenda across key fields of, policy research and social change, new media and reportage, creative writing and the ‘new humanities’, requiring these practitioners to develop critical knowledge of the sciences and technologies at stake. Whether we consider powerful leaders of nations and corporations, environmentalist and oppositional movements , or indigenous and other marginalised peoples, all have real issues at stake and demand voices in the debates.
The sub-major allows you the scope to explore these fields in some depth. It begins with an introduction to the politics and science of climate change, the burning issue of our age. You then investigate interactions between the life sciences and the social sciences , what drives ecological degradation and what is claimed to take us beyond it into a future of ‘post-nature’ driven by biotechnologies and global ecological risk management.In the final subject you lift the lid on environmental values, exploring different cultural expressions, changing meanings of nature, and our relationship to it. Ranging across the political, the economic , the cultural the the technological , the sub-major offers a solid grounding in this vital arena.
What current students are saying about Environmental Studies
Luke Bacon – BA in Communication (Media Arts and Production)
I picked the Environmental Studies sub-major because I wanted to learn about what is happening to the world around us, that we are part of. It has become a big point of focus for my creative work in Media Arts Production, where I feel I am able to contribute to an artistic conversation about the environment from an informed perspective. The exposure to readings and ideas from range of important positions has been fantastic, the subjects are more about ways of understanding society and the natural world than studying an isolated idea of 'environmental' policy.
Tiffany Laschuitt – BA in Communication (Social Inquiry)
I chose the Environmental Studies sub-major because I am concerned about environmental degradation and was keen to study the social, political and economic concepts surrounding environmental issues in contemporary society. The subjects have been enlightening to the history of how the environment has been used and valued in society, as well as informing me of proposed strategies to achieve ‘sustainable development’ into the future, such as the use of biotechnology in agriculture. As well as discussing the environmental impacts of new technologies, the subjects have also culminated in debate over the political and ethical concerns surrounding their development, which I have found to be of particular interest.
We're all mediated now
How does Facebook know you’re dieting? Have you found the love of your life on the internet? Is your phone spying on you? Have you Tweeted? Who heard you Tweet? What do you lose when you Google news? How duz txting chnge ur mind? Why do search engines teach you to spell? Globalize yourself. How do the media ‘use’ people? Is there life on the internet? What is Web 4.0? Are you a YouTube star? Who is the audience? How do new technologies shape your lives? How can you shape the media? How long can you go without your phone/email? Is Google reading your docs? Will cloud computing kill privacy? Can crowds make good journalism? Can your phone save your life? Does technology promote bullying? Does the internet make you smarter? Can democracy survive internet censorship? Is Farmville addictive?
Take a new look behind the news
How do you spot spin in the news? Where does news come from? Who gets the most air time? Who owns the news? Where do you fit in? Is there a limit to what you can blog? Can anybody be a journalist? Are newspapers dying? Can you make a stranger visit the doctor? How can new media save the planet? How does news shape your thinking? Why do words change the world? Dissect the media. Find out what makes news. Can you resist the media?
The power of research
Why are so many people studying the media? What’s in it for you? How do you link theory to practice? What makes a good research question? How do you analyse the media?
Find out how in the Media Studies sub major:
What current students are saying about Media Studies
Clare Mirarchi, BA in Communication (Writing and Cultural Studies)
The media is all around me. I use media everyday and in our society, it seems unavoidable. I thought why not study the media and find out how it actually works and why it consumes our lifestyles.
Ryan Stoker, BA in Communication (Information and Media)
I chose to do Media Studies as I was interested in how the media fits within society. What I find most enjoyable is the ability to go out and conduct our own research within the media industry. It allows me to challenge what I've learnt in the classroom and apply those skills out in the field.
Teaching team: Catriona Bonfiglioli
The Media Studies Sub Major is supported by a dynamic range of guest lecturers and tutors with interests in many media fields including: the internet, photography, health news, financial journalism, theatre, multicultural media communities, semiotics, multimodal discourse analysis, ethnography, ethical practice, travel journalism, reflective practice, poetry and blogging.
Reading Australia is an exploration through time and place, literature and writing, film and images of what this thing we call ‘Australia’ is. It will require you to rethink what you call ‘ an Australian’, reconsider where the boundaries of Australia arise and produce the possibilities for new Australias to exist. In all our subjects we will be asking you to ‘read’ Australia in new ways. Read it as a particular result of contingently recorded histories and arbitrarily mythologised places. Question Australia as a place that has produced workable myths like the ‘outback’ and ‘the beach’ and think again why Crocodile Dundee and Mad Max never could live in Glebe and why ‘multicultural Australia’ doesn’t quite capture the global and inter- nation flows that have helped produce Australia.
Australian Studies involves the study of the many modes of knowledge production, electronic, filmic, textual but also the many interdisciplinary forms that let us look at pasts and places and categories like literature and film in new and exciting ways. To take up this sub major is to take up a willingness to have your answers questioned – you should discover that at least one Australia you will learn of is a place you have never been. We will be asking you to produce work in a variety of forms from essays to archives, from fiction to images. And we ask you to consider the critical and creative ways in which something as persuasive and pervasive as Australia makes and remakes itself through the circulations of particular knowledges.
The first subject focuses on key movements and directors in cinema history, and key theories and debates that have defined film studies as a discipline. The second subject explores the ways in which various media (focusing on film, but also on television, video, and new media) inform and/or challenge our understanding of the past and its relationship to the present. Finally, the third subject focuses on a diverse range of contemporary films that are innovative and experimental in their structure and which are explored in conjunction with contemporary debates in film studies on the relationship between aesthetics, politics, affect, and experience. Each of the subjects are very international in their focus and students engage critically and creatively with visual texts from, among other countries: France, Spain, Italy, Germany, China, Taiwan, Iran, Lebanon, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark , and the USA.
The sub major will appeal to students who have an interest in film (and other visual media), and who are keen to develop the vocabulary and skills to think and write about the history and theory of these media in an informed, critical, and scholarly way.
This sub major focuses on the global arena. How can we understand contemporary global politics? How did our current world system come to be this way? How are ideas and news about the world circulated and consumed? The three subjects in this sub-major combine politics and international relations, cultural history, media studies and other disciplines to investigate how people, nations, governments, empires, and the media have created and recreated the global world we live in.
The first subject introduces you to the global politics of power, through a variety of lenses, from ‘above’ and from ‘below’. You then analyse the networks of colonial expansion and the resistance to it, with particular attention to gendered, intimate and everyday relationships. These are related directly to the ‘post-colonial’ world, where power is no longer centred on imperial heartlands. In the third subject you explore the phenomenon of transnational media as it builds on new technologies and adapts the old, both as media empire and as citizen media, or social media.
What current students are saying about Transnational Studies
Gillian O’Young, BA in Communication (Public Communication)
Having never been fully engaged with politics prior to enrolling in Transnational Studies, these subjects and the way they are delivered by both lecturers and tutors, has aroused in me a sense of rapidly growing awareness of contemporary politics. My fascination is growing, and I would thoroughly recommend this sub-major to any student.