Media and Culture: Culture Concentration

What even is a culture concentration?

Media and Culture is split into three concentrations: Strategic Communication, Production, and Culture, which we have been breaking down this week. Getting past your core classes, you are encouraged to take three (of the six required) classes in one concentration. Culture concentrations focus on media as a reflection of the cultures we live in, and a product of those same cultures. We examine communication across cultures in our globalized world, and question how both our media and cultures are different because of it.

Core Classes

If you’re new to the Media and Culture major, or are considering switching into MDC, welcome. These core classes will give you the best idea of what to expect from the Culture Concentration.

MDC 250: Intercultural Communication

Intercultural Communication was the first class I took as a Media and Culture major. I switched my major sophomore year and this class made me fall in love with the major. MDC 250 takes in-depth looks at the different ways our society breaks down into diverse cultural categories. Specifically, you will look at topics such as; age, race, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, and global region. And how these different factors and categorizations influence communication. I took this course online, asynchronously, with Dr. Anita Foeman and Dr. Bessie Lawson. Next semester it will be offered in person, as an 11:00am on Monday/Wednesday/Friday with Dr. Taryn Myers.

MDC 254: Media and Culture Theory

Media and Culture Theory is might be my favorite classes I have ever taken at WCU. You examine media as an ingrained part of our culture and understand it by looking at theories around representation, production, industry and audience. As Dr. Brown asked in her syllabus, “How is media both a reflection of and a producer of culture?…How do different audiences make meaning from media content?…and How is power reflected and reproduced through media?”

If any of these questions interest you, MDC 254 may be a good course to take, and culture may be the concentration for you! I took it last year as a virtual synchronous class with Dr. Stephanie Brown (who sadly no longer teaches at WCU) who structured it around Disney movies! This made exploring the theories much more fun and accessible. Unfortunately, I can’t promise Disney movies this semester, as the course will be offered in person with Dr. Adam Rainear on Monday/Wednesday or with Dr. Lisa Millhous on Tuesday/Thursday.

Culture Concentration

If you’ve gotten past your core classes already and are interested in pursuing the Culture Concentration, here are the classes that are offered in Fall 2022.

MDC 316: Mediated Communications: The Internet, Culture, and Theory

MDC 316 explores the ways digital technologies have shaped and evolved how we communicate. It examines the ways social media has impacted the ways we understand relationships and even our own identities. If you are interested in studying intercultural communication in the globalized world, consider Mediated Communications: the Internet, Culture, and Theory. This course will be offered Tuesdays and Thursdays with Dr. Michael Pearson.

MDC 360: African American Culture and Communication

According to Dr. Taryn Myers, the “purpose of this course is to explore how various dimensions of culture shape the communication practices of Black people. Students will also have the opportunity to analyze how Black people have, historically, used alternative forms of media and communication as a means of resistance such as anti-lynching plays, Hip Hop, Black Twitter, and Black podcasting. Students will also analyze the rhetoric of various social justice movements – anti-lynching movement, stop the violence movement, #BlackLivesMatter movement, #SayHerName movement, and Black Transgender Rights Movement. Students will be introduced to Afrocentricity, Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, Black feminist theories, and queer theories to address issues of identity and representation.” This course will be offered 11:00am and 12:00pm on Monday/Wednesday/Friday with Dr. Taryn Myers.

If any of these courses sound interesting to you, then talk to your advisor about pursuing the culture concentration and taking these classes next semester.