Elective: Censorship and Social Transformation

Course description Elective: Censorship and Social Transformation
Year: 2017-2018
Catalog number: 5182KEL11
Teacher(s):
  • Dr. K. Robbe
Language: English
Blackboard: Yes
EC: 10
Level: 300
Period: Semester 2, Block III, IV
  • No Elective choice
  • No Contractonderwijs
  • No Exchange
  • No Study Abroad
  • No Evening course
  • No A la Carte
  • No Honours Class

Admission requirements

This course is only available for second year students in the BA International Studies.
The number of participants is limited to 25.

Description

When thinking about the media and representation of conflict nowadays, one cannot get around questions of censorship. Mentioning censorship in describing relations between the media and the state and discussing the dynamics of international circulation has become indispensable – but what exactly do we mean by this term? In a historical perspective, we will probably think of the notorious examples of centralized ideological control in regimes that attempted projects of social engineering such as former soviet and apartheid states. Yet even after the dissolution of authoritarian regimes, censorship appears to survive and thrive within transforming societies. On the other hand, also in democracies mechanisms of censoring appear to be involved once the sustained power relations and status quo are contested. In order to understand the more intricate processes of censorship in a variety of regimes today, historical and comparative approaches are particularly helpful. Taking a closer look at societies from three different continents and focusing on the past and present of censorship, this course aims to tackle the nexus of censorship and social transformation in these ‘transitional’ contexts and beyond.
The course proceeds from a broad understanding of censorship as involving not merely legal regulations, but specific patterns of speaking, listening and viewing tied in with the dynamics of power relations. Discussing examples of literature, film, visual art and the mass/new media, we will examine the many faces of censorship – its manifest and structural dimensions, censorship imposed by the state and by market forces, the entanglement of political and moral reasoning, and the ambiguous relations between censors, authors and critics.
Along with providing a general conceptual background for the study of censorship, the course will concentrate on practices of cultural regulation in Russia (and other countries of the former Soviet Union) and South(ern) Africa. It will also include case studies from Latin America and China. Participants are encouraged to develop broader comparative perspectives relating the insights from the regions and countries in focus to practices of censorship in the regions they study. During the last sessions they will have an opportunity to present own research projects which will provide basis for the final essays.

Additionally, the students will work through:

  • W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Course objectives

The elective courses for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the interdisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

Academic skills that are trained include:
Oral presentation skills:

1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using up-to-date presentation techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience;
3. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.

Collaboration skills:

1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.

Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:

1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
3. to formulate on this basis a sound research question;
4. to design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.

Written presentation skills:

1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Seminars are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. This course includes supervised research.

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 10 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 280 hours, broken down by:

  • Attending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours
  • Time for studying the compulsory literature and completing weekly assignments (8 hours per week): 96
  • Preparation for presentations: 16 hours
  • Writing the final research essay (including reading / research): 134 hours

Assessment method

Assessment & Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
In-class participation 15%
Project presentation 15%
Short Essay 30%
Final research essay (5000 words) 50%

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note that the end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average.

Resit

Students who have been active participants in class and submitted the final paper on time, but scored an overall insufficient mark, are entitled to a resit. For the resit, students are given a chance to hand in a new version of the final paper.
In case of resubmission of the final essay (insufficient grade only) the final grade for the essay will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion. The deadline for resubmission is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the final essay.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2017 – 2018.

Exam review

How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used for tutorial groups. Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard for this course, but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Reading list

Readings will be made available via Blackboard.

  • W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis can be found here.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Dr. K. Robbe

When contacting the lecturer, please include your full name, student number and tutorial group number.

Remarks

The deadline for submission of the final essay is 15 June 2018.
Passing this course is an entry requirement for the thesis and thesis seminar.

Languages