The Communication Major provides students with an understanding of theories, methods, and practices of communication, with an emphasis on the following areas: texts and representation, identities and relationships, and structures and institutions.

The Major consists of ten courses with a minimum of 30 credits. For more information on available courses, please contact the Communication Department:

          Ph: 504-865-5730
          Fax: 504-862-3040


COMM 2010: Public Opinion and the Media (3)

Professor Yilmaz: Polls are considered important for the democratic system. Governments are elected for a certain period of time, and public opinion polls are often seen as necessary tools for public officials to measure the public's pulse in the period between elections and to address their policy concerns. For generations of citizens who grew up with opinion polls, the notion of public opinion is seen as a naturally existing phenomenon. But what actually is public opinion? Is there such thing as public opinion in the first place? How is public opinion produced and used by the media and the political elite? Who influences public opinion and how? What is the media's role in shaping public opinion polls? The purpose of this course is to critically examine the ways in which public opinion is measured, constructed and used in politics.

COMM 2220:  New Media and Internet Studies (3)
Professor White: Histories and theories associated with the Internet and other forms of new media. The main course objectives are to learn how to analyze Internet settings and employ new media methods. We consider how new media technologies are identified as tools and the ways they are critiqued for producing gendered, racial, and sexual identities. Topics include: afrofuturism, cyberfeminism, science fiction, the web, social networking, fan fiction, hypertext, Internet authorship and surveillance.  

COMM 2230:  Interpersonal Communication (3)
Professor Daruna, Staff:  Introduction to theories and models of interpersonal communication which enhance understanding and development of interpersonal relationships.  A variety of relationship types are considered. Topics include: identity and the self in relationships, development and maintenance of relationships, verbal and nonverbal messages, listening and self-advocacy, conflict management and relationship disintegration.

COMM 2300:  Political Communication (3)
Professor Porto:  A survey of theories, empirical research, and critical analysis of contemporary political communication processes in the United States.  Topics may include: the role of the media in electoral campaigns, strategies of presidential communication, and the relationship between media and political institutions including Congress and the Courts.  News coverage of social movements and political protest will also be discussed.  The course covers a variety of political communication genres such as journalism, political advertising, talk shows and political websites.

COMM 2400:  Topics in International Film Movements and National Cinemas (3)
Staff:  This course focuses on specific film movements in international cinema with an emphasis on understanding stylistic and aesthetic innovations in their social-historical context.  Topics may include: European film movements, Asian cinemas and others.  May be repeated for credit if different topic with the permission of the Film Studies Director.

COMM 2500:  Film and Society (3)
Film Studies Faculty: Investigation of various social issues that emerge within films produced in the United States, Europe and the developing world.  Students consider societal forces such as class, race, gender, youth, family, prejudice, education and homelessness.  The cinematic depiction of these factors as well as the connection between cinematic language, syntax, structure and a film's ultimate meaning or message are explored.

COMM 2550:  Introduction to Television (3)
Professor Smith-Shomade, Staff:  This course is an introduction to the study of television as a unique audio-visual culture with its own history and styles.  Students will learn a new vocabulary for reading television texts and will practice methods of television analysis.  Examples from television programming from the 1950s to the present will be examined along with critical readings. 

COMM 2600:  Rhetorical Principles of Writing for News Media (3)
Staff:  Applies principles of classical and contemporary rhetorical theory to problems of writing for news media. Incorporates grammar review. Writing requirements include major news story, major feature story and numerous smaller assignments. Emphasis on writing for print media but stylistic techniques for broadcast media also covered.

COMM 2650:  Mass Communication Law (3)
Professor Porto, Staff:  Studies federal and state regulation of both print and electronic media in the United States to understand how legal mandates and constraints have defined the roles of media in society. Historical and contemporary analyses include: laws in areas such as libel, privacy, free press versus fair trial, access to government information, regulation of advertising and regulation of broadcasting.

COMM 2700:  Visual Communication (3)
Staff:  This course examines the history and theory of visual communication and its application in a variety of cultural contexts.  Topics include: the transition from print to visual media, the development of visual literacy and the role of emerging technology.  Students will complete applied projects using photography, video and electronic media, digital imaging and web-based visual technology.

COMM 2810 and 2820:  Special Topics in Communication (3)
Staff:  A detailed study of particular issues, problems and developments in the history, theory and/or criticism of Communication.  Topics may be drawn from any of the departmental areas of concentration. May be taken twice for credit on different topics.

COMM 2890:
  Service Learning (1)
Credit attached to courses with a 40-hour service learning component.

Core Courses

COMM 2900:  Communication Studies (3)
All Comm Faculty: Introduction to the theoretical underpinnings of Tulane's Communication Department. The course explores Communication through its tri-part focus on relationships and identities (individuals), texts (textual analysis), and industries and structures (contexts). The course introduces key concepts and key terms for continuing in the major. This course is a prerequisite for enrollment into the 3000-level core courses and required of all Communication majors.

COMM 3140:  Cross-Cultural Analysis (3)
Professors Daruna, Ambikaipaker and Raymundo:  A critical examination of communication in intercultural, interethnic and international contexts.  An overview of models and approaches designed to explain cultural differences in communication with emphasis on the dimensions of symbolization, acculturation, prejudice, stereotyping and ideology.  Conceptual frameworks are applied and tested within a range of cultural populations as defined by race, ethnicity, gender, physical disability, sexuality, socio-economic class and geographic location.

COMM 3150:  Film Analysis (4)
Professors Balides, Lopez, Ukadike, and Chang: Introduction to film analysis designed to help students develop a visual literacy with regard to film and a critical understanding of how films produce meanings.  Focus is on formal analysis of film including elements such as narrative, mise-en-scène, editing, camera movement, sound and critical and theoretical approaches such as neoformalism and psychoanalysis.  Classical Hollywood cinema and avant-garde and independent filmmaking traditions are studied in order to focus on the "politics of form."  A required film journal helps students develop analytical and critical skills.  Required course for the Film Studies major.

COMM 3160:  Technology Analysis (3)
Professors Choo, White, and Mayer:  The study of technology as material culture through its production, dissemination and uses.  Theorizes ways of approaching technology as symbolic tools, as material goods and as part of a cultural geography.  Contextualizes digitalization in terms of social, political and economic discourses.
Also includes research methods for analyzing technology.

COMM 3240:  Interaction Analysis (3)
Professor Daruna: The investigation, interpretation and critical assessment of human interaction.  Emphasis is given to interaction occurring in the relational contexts of couplehood and marriage, friendship and the organization.  Topics include: cultural and ideological elements, models of communication used to explain interaction and the analysis of everyday communication phenomena in each context.

COMM 3250:  Rhetorical Criticism (3)
Professor Yilmaz:  The description, analysis, interpretation and evaluation of persuasive uses of language.  Emphasis on classical, situational, generic, semiotic and feminist methods of criticism.  Judgments about the aesthetic, argumentative, logical, and ethical dimensions of rhetoric are examined through different mediated texts.

COMM 3260:  Media Analysis (3)
Professors Porto, Mayer, and Smith-Shomade:  The study of the structure of media industries and their contents based on humanistic and social science approaches.  Theorizes major trends in industry ownership and practices; the effects of political economy on textual symbols, discourses and genres; the function of media programming in reinforcing or altering perceptions of ideas, events, and people.  Familiarizes students with research methods for analyzing media.

COMM 3350:  New Media Analysis (3)
Professor White: Study of key issues in contemporary new media studies. Focuses on the multi-layered textual aspects of the Internet and computer and engages in close textual analysis. These 'texts' emerge as some combination of images, written passages, multimedia, produced selves, narratives about technologies, links, code, software, and operating systems.


Upper Division Elective Courses

COMM 3200: Media Literacy/Media Education I (3, SL required)
Professor Smith-Shomade: The goal of this two-semester course is to introduce students to media literacy-what it is, media education, and basic media pedagogy.  In Comm 3200, students learn the many different definitions of media literacy; grapple with the ideological, political, and cultural underpinnings of media literacy and literacy in general; become familiar with key theorists, methodologies and methodological practices; and hopefully, embrace media literacy as a necessary part of the democratic process. In addition, students begin forging relationships with our partnered elementary school students. Ultimately, students will be able to define media literacy and construct multiple ways of understanding it using critical understandings, critical methods, and curriculum creation as a basis for their explanation.

COMM 3270:  Authors and Genres (3)
Professors Balides, Lopez, Ukadike, Smith-Shomade and Chang: Prerequisite: COMM 3150.  Questions of authorship and of genre are two key paradigms of film criticism. This course examines the aesthetic and theoretical bases for notions of authorship and genre in the cinema including romantic theories of art, auteur criticism, structuralism and post-structuralism. It also considers the historical development of the oeuvre of individual directors as "authors" (e.g. Hitchcock) and of particular film genres both in Hollywood cinema (e.g. film noir) and in non-mainstream and non-U.S. cinema. Genres and directors studied will change. May be repeated up to two times on different topics with approval of the Film Studies Director.

COMM 3280:  Media Histories (3)
Professors Mayer and Balides:  This course looks at media histories with a focus on the different kinds of stories that are told about media, its contents and contexts. The course explores historical trends, the nature of historiography (the study of history), and some fundamentals of historical research.

COMM 3300:  Comparative Political Communication (3)
Professor Porto:  Examination of the links between media and political systems based on a comparative approach. Offers a detailed comparison of political communication processes in different regions of the world and identifies how social, cultural and economic contexts are central to understanding the role of the media in political processes.

 COMM 3510:  Environmental Communication (3, SL option)
Staff:  This course provides an understanding and analysis of communication processes used in defining environmental issues and shaping environmental policies. Topics include: defining nature and environment, diverse audiences and environmental messages, developing strategies for risk communication, and creating effective environmental campaigns. Case studies of successful and unsuccessful environmental communication will be examined.

COMM 3550:  Third World Cinema (3)
Professor Ukadike:  This course surveys the cinematic practices of nations within Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The filmic practices, at once revolutionary and ideological, have not only produced some of the world's most striking filmic innovations, but are also now recognized as having initiated a new phase and expanded definitions of the art of cinema. The issues to be addressed include: the development of national cinemas, the impact of politics on film style, video and television culture, the commonalities and differences in modes of production, the relationship of film to the societies' values and cultures and the role of cinema as a mediation of history.

COMM 3600:  Documentary Cinema (3)
Professors Ukadike and Blue:  Prerequisite: COMM 1150. The films for this course are selected from a spectrum of documentary film practice from the 1920s to the present. Course will concentrate on specific topics as well as on a historical overview. Consideration placed on the developing and shifting conception of documentary film practice, social issues, political and propagandistic values, and documenting the "Other." Claims to veracity and objectivity will be treated within an analytical framework as well. Different approaches to production—particularly within the burgeoning ethnographic and women's film practices—will also be examined.

COMM 3610:  Alternative Journalism (3, SL option)
Professor Mayer:  This course balances the practical development of literary journalistic skills with academic inquiry into theories and histories of journalism as an alternative to mainstream news content, media and practices. It will also examine the changing meaning of the word "alternative" in relation to journalistic genres such as non-fiction stories, underground writings, ethnic presses and community media.

COMM 3650:  Feminist Documentation and New Media (3, SL option)
Staff:  A service-learning, praxis-oriented course in which students develop analytical and reflective skills by critiquing and creating feminist documentation in various media. Study of history and theory of feminist documentary filmmaking and new media will be complemented with learning production and post-production skills. Weekly volunteer work will be done with an organization serving women and girls in New Orleans.

COMM 3800:  Cinema Reception and Cultural Memory (3, SL options)
Professor Balides:  This course investigates historical changes in film audiences, film exhibition and film reception from the silent to the contemporary period as well as the issue of cultural memory and cinema.  Issues focus on who the audience for cinema has been during different historical periods, changes that have taken place in the venues in which films have been shown, and cinema reception as cultural history. The course also theorizes questions of reception and memory in terms of psychoanalysis, oral history and the public sphere. This course includes an optional service learning component. COMM 3150 is recommended but not required.

COMM 3810 and 3820:  Special Topics in Communication (3)
Staff:  A detailed study of particular issues, problems, and developments in the history, theory, and criticism of Communication. Topics may be drawn from any area of Communication, for example, the concept of invention, the rhetoric of religion, non-verbal communication, media and culture, and similar themes. May be repeated for credit on different topics.

COMM 3880: Writing Intensive (1) 

COMM 3890:  Service Learning (1)
Staff:  Prerequisite: Departmental approval. Students complete a service activity in the community in conjunction with the content of a three-credit, co-requisite course.

COMM 4160:  Contemporary Chinese Cinema (3)
Professor Chang: This course offers a survey of Chinese-language films made from mid-1980s to early 2000s. Through critically analyzing films by internationally-acclaimed directors such as Chen Kaige, Zhang Yimou, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-wai, Tsai Ming-liang and Jia Zhangke, students study Chinese cinema not only as an art form but also as a powerful historical and socio-political discourse. All films have English subtitles, and readings are in English. No knowledge of Chinese language and society is required. 

COMM 4170:  U.S. Film History (3)
Professor Balides:  This course covers major formal, industrial and cultural issues in the history of cinema in the United States from 1895 to the present. Course topics include the formal distinctiveness of the early period, the emergence of continuity editing and the classical Hollywood style, post-classical cinema, monopolistic industry practices, exhibition venues, the studio system, synchronized sound, contemporary independent production, and the relationship between film and commodity culture.  Case studies on censorship, the representation of race and Black radical politics, and female spectatorship integrate formal, industrial and cultural analysis.  COMM 3150 is recommended.

COMM 4180:  African Cinema (3, SL option)
Professor Ukadike:  This course will provide a critical and interdisciplinary look at the development of African cinema from its inception in the 1960s to the present. In looking at these periods, the course moves from the sociopolitical upheavals of late colonialism to the recent phase of introspection and diversification. The relationship of cinematic practices to transformation in the social and economic sphere will be examined, as well as the creation of distinctively African film styles based on oral traditions. In pursuing these topics, consideration of the impact of technology, history and culture, ties to the cinema of other developing nations and co-productions will be given.

COMM 4190:  Introduction to Latin American Film (3)
Professor Lopez:  This course examines the development of cinema in Latin American from its arrival as an imported technology to the present. Films studied in relation to the sociopolitical environment and emphasis is placed on close analysis as well as contextual understanding of the material. Topics include the struggle to create national film industries, the "art film" and New Cinema movements, and recent trends in countries such as Mexico and Argentina. Same as SPAN 4190.

COMM 4200: Media Literacy/Media Education II (3, SL required)
Professor Smith-Shomade: This course allows students to apply the knowledge acquired in Comm 3200. Through pedagogical considerations in the classroom, assessing student outcomes, and effectively teaching, students are expected to learn from and reflect upon their experiences while retooling each teaching group's media literacy curriculum. This course fulfills Tier II service learning requirements (assuming second semester junior status).

COMM 4260:  Communication, Culture and the Body:
                      Healthy Bodies (3)

Professors Daruna and Choo:  An investigation of how human bodies communicate cultural identities and relations historically and across spaces. May repeat under a different topic (COMM 4261, 4262) for credit.

COMM 4261:  Communication, Culture and the Body:
                        Feminism, Sci-Fi, and Technology (3)

Professor White:  An investigation of how human bodies communicate cultural identities and relations historically and across spaces. May repeat under a different topic (COMM 4260, 4262) for credit.

COMM 4262:  Communication, Culture and the Body:
                        Dangerous Bodies (3)

Professors White and Raymundo:  An investigation of how human bodies communicate cultural identities and relations historically and across spaces. May repeat under a different topic (COMM 4260, 4261) for credit.

COMM 4300:  Global Media, Politics, and Culture:
                        Cultural Politics and Cinema (3)

Professor Ukadike:  This course examines the relationship between media, society, and political discourse as they manifest in the complexities of cultural production beyond U.S. borders. As such, it will be framed around issues pertaining to historical formation and broader political dynamics. This course presumes familiarity with methods of film or media analysis. May be repeated under a different topic (COMM 4301, 4302) for credit.

COMM 4301:  Global Media, Politics, and Culture:
                        Media and Democracy in Latin America (3)

Professor Porto:  This course examines the relationship between media, society, and political discourse as they manifest in the complexities of cultural production beyond US borders. As such, it will be framed around issues pertaining to historical formation and broader political dynamics. This course presumes familiarity with methods of film or media analysis. May repeat under a different topic (COMM 4300, 4302) for credit.

COMM 4302:  Global Media, Politics, and Culture:
                        The Politics of Immigration in Europe (3)

Professor Yilmaz:  This course examines how immigration has been conceptualized in different historical periods and the relationship between immigration debates and political discourse in particular historical contexts. The course will discuss how recent immigration is related to the emergence of the extreme right in Western Europe. Examples from academic research and media coverage will be used to analyze how immigrants have become a culturalized as a religious category rather than a labor/class group as they were in the past. May be repeated under a different topic (COMM 4300, 4301) for credit.

COMM 4350:  Gender and the Cinema (3)
Professors Balides and Lopez:  Explores the position of women in Hollywood and other cinemas by studying the evolution of women's cinema and of feminist film theories from the 1920s to the present. The history of feminist film analysis will be addressed, focusing on theoretical-sociological, psychoanalytic, semiological underpinning of feminist critiques of both commercial and independent avant-garde film practices.

COMM 4550:  Advanced Topics in Television Studies:
                        Feminist and Gender Studies (3)

Professors Smith-Shomade and White:  This course offers advanced study of television as a unique audio-visual culture with its own history and styles. This course presumes basic knowledge of television terms and methods of media analysis. May repeat under a different topic (COMM 4551, 4552, 4553) for credit.

COMM 4551:  Advanced Topics in Television Studies:
                        Post-Network Televisuality (3)

Professors Mayer and Smith-Shomade:  This course offers advanced study of television as a unique audio-visual culture with its own history and styles. This course presumes basic knowledge of television terms and methods of media analysis. May repeat under a different topic (COMM 4550, 4552, 4553) for credit.

COMM 4552:  Advanced Topics in Television Studies:
                        The Public Sphere (3)

Professor Porto:  This course offers advanced study of television as a unique audio-visual culture with its own history and styles. This course presumes basic knowledge of television terms and methods of media analysis.  May repeat under a different topic (COMM 4550, 4551, 4553) for credit.

COMM 4553:  Advanced Topics in Television Studies:
                        Brazilian Television and Culture (3)

Professor Porto:  This course offers advanced study of television as a unique audio-visual culture with its own history and styles. This course presumes basic knowledge of television terms and methods of media analysis.  May repeat under a different topic (COMM 4550, 4551, 4552) for credit.

COMM 4560 and 4570:  Communication Internship (3, 3)
Professor Blue:  This course challenges students to apply intelligently the principles, methods, and skills learned in academic settings to the practical experience of an internship with a nonprofit, social service organization. Topics include: learning about communication within a complicated political and cultural context, how context affects rhetorical strategies, adaptive Communication among diverse social groups, and how these experiences work to prepare the student for a career in a communication field. Prerequisites: permission of instructor, junior or senior standing, and 2.8 GPA.

COMM 4610:  National Cinemas in Latin America (3)
Staff:  A detailed historical, thematic, and stylistic analysis of individual national cinemas in Latin America (Cuban, Brazilian or Mexican cinema for example). Emphasis will be placed on understanding the development of national cinema industries and movements in the context of other social, economic, political, and aesthetic forces. May be repeated for credit if the national cinema studied is different. COMM 4190 is highly recommended, although not a prerequisite. Same as SPAN 4610.

COMM 4750:  New Media Theory (3)
Professor White, Staff:  This course explores the conceptual frameworks and theories that are essential to an understanding of modern media, a succession of new media that includes photography, film and digital media.  Theories of semiotics, ideology, psychoanalysis, narrative, modernism, and postmodernism that have formed the bases for analyzing forms of reproduction from the mechanical to the digital are the focus. Interrelationships are considered between different media and the process of remediation. Digital media in the context of social/cultural/political formations is examined as well. Same as ENLS 4750.

COMM 4770:  Theories of Consumption and Production (3)
Professor Mayer:  Prerequisite: COMM 3260 or instructor approval. This course analyzes theoretical constructions of media audiences and media producers historically and in contemporary contexts. Liberal, Marxist and feminist paradigms will be explored along with a variety of research methods used in audience and producer studies.

COMM 4810, 4820:  Special Topics in Communication (3)
Staff:  A detailed study of particular issues, problems and developments in the history, theory and criticism of Communication. Topics may be drawn from any of the departmental areas of concentration. May be taken twice for credit on different topics.

COMM 4823:  Cinema, History, Archive (3)
Professor Balides. This course investigates the connection between cinema and the archive in historical, textual, institutional, and theoretical terms. Specific course topics include tropes of archive (detection, utopia, the labyrinth, and entropy); the media/ted archive (photographs, television, cinema, and new media as archival documents represented in films); the history of cinema archives; and theories of the archive.

COMM 4850:  Cinema, Technology, Modernity (3)
Professor Balides:  Focus on cinema as a cultural practice during the early and late periods, especially as it has shaped perception and experience. Films are assessed for the way they reenact the logic of key technologies and for the way they represent technologies. Cinema is also viewed as a technology of vision in its own right. In particular, 19th century optical  toys, the railroad, photography, the computer and cinema are assessed in relation to shifting conceptions of space and time, modes of experience, the terms of everyday life, and the status of mass culture and reproduction in the modern and postmodern periods.

COMM 4860:  Film Theory (4)
Professor Balides:  Prerequisite: COMM 3150. An advanced course focusing on contemporary French, British and U.S. film theory. Topics include realism and phenomenology, Russian Formalism, neoformalism, structuralism, narratology, Marxism and ideology, psychoanalysis, cinema semiotics, feminism and poststructuralism. Debates covered assess film as a text, the relationship between film and the spectator, and the implications of cinema as a historical phenomenon, including the status of digital cinema. Early, classical Hollywood, contemporary, and avant-garde films screened. A required film journal helps develop analytical skills. Required for the Film Studies major or minor.

COMM 4880: Writing Intensive (1 credit) 

COMM 4890: Service Learning (1-3 credits) 

COMM 4910 and 4920:  Independent Studies (1-3 credits)
Staff:  Open to qualified juniors and seniors only.

COMM H4990 and H5990:  Honors Thesis (3-4 credits)
Staff:  For especially qualified juniors and seniors with approval of the department and the Honors Committee.

COMM 6210 and 6220:  Seminar in Communication Studies (3, C)
Staff:  Prerequisite:  Instructor approval. An intensive study of a specific issue or set of issues in rhetoric and public address, interpersonal or cross-cultural communication, or macroissues of communication or of an individual theorist. May be taken twice for credit on different topics.

(SL): Service Learning




Communication Dept., Tulane U., 219 Newcomb Hall, 1229 Broadway, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5730